Pedagogy versus School Readiness: The Impact of a Randomized Reading Instruction Intervention and Community-Based Playgroup Intervention on Early Grade Reading Outcomes in Tonga

47 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2017

See all articles by Kevin Alan David Macdonald

Kevin Alan David Macdonald

World Bank

Sally Ann Brinkman

University of Adelaide

Wendy Jarvie

University of New South Wales (UNSW); The University of Sydney

Myrna Machuca-Sierra

World Bank

Kristen Andrew Mcdonall

World Bank

Siosiana Tapueluelu

World Bank

Binh Thanh Vu

World Bank

Date Written: January 18, 2017

Abstract

Identifying cost-effective interventions to improve early literacy is vital to developing countries, given the importance of early literacy for an individual's future education outcomes and subsequent human capital formation. This paper presents the impact on early grade reading outcomes of two low-cost randomized interventions in Tonga: a reading instruction intervention and a community play-based activity intervention. The first intervention aims to improve early grade reading outcomes specifically; estimated impacts are approximately 0.3 standard deviation, although in some reading domains impacts are substantial, ranging from 0.6 to 0.7 standard deviation. The second intervention aims to improve school readiness and subsequently early grade reading outcomes, by providing communities with support to establish a community play-based activity. Using an instrumental variables approach, the play-based activity demonstrates positive impacts of around 0.2 standard deviation in many but not all reading domains. For the domains where a statistically significant impact is measured, the community play-based activity intervention is as at least as cost effective as the reading instruction intervention. The play-based activity intervention is shown to improve test scores by 0.21 to 0.47 standard deviation per US$100, depending on the reading test domain. The reading instruction intervention improves test scores by 0.08 to 0.34 standard deviation per US$100. These findings contribute further evidence on the effectiveness of reading instruction interventions, and possibly the first estimates of the impact of play group-type interventions on primary school reading outcomes.

Keywords: Economic Growth, Educational Sciences, Economic Theory & Research, Industrial Economics

Suggested Citation

Macdonald, Kevin Alan David and Brinkman, Sally Ann and Jarvie, Wendy and Machuca-Sierra, Myrna and Mcdonall, Kristen Andrew and Tapueluelu, Siosiana and Thanh Vu, Binh, Pedagogy versus School Readiness: The Impact of a Randomized Reading Instruction Intervention and Community-Based Playgroup Intervention on Early Grade Reading Outcomes in Tonga (January 18, 2017). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7944, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2901756

Kevin Alan David Macdonald (Contact Author)

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Sally Ann Brinkman

University of Adelaide ( email )

No 233 North Terrace, School of Commerce
Adelaide, South Australia 5005
Australia

Wendy Jarvie

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

Kensington
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

The University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Myrna Machuca-Sierra

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Kristen Andrew Mcdonall

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Siosiana Tapueluelu

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Binh Thanh Vu

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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