Preschool Quality and Child Development

75 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2019 Last revised: 25 Jul 2022

See all articles by Alison Andrew

Alison Andrew

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Orazio Attanasio

Dept of Economics Yale University; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); University College London - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Raquel Bernal

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

Lina Cardona-Sosa

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Sonya Krutikova

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Marta Rubio-Codina

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Date Written: August 2019

Abstract

Global access to preschool has increased dramatically, yet preschool quality is often poor and evidence on how to improve it is scarce. We worked with the government of Colombia to implement a largescale randomized controlled trial evaluating two interventions targeting the quality of public preschools in Colombia. The first, which was designed by the government and rolled out nationwide, provided preschools with significant extra funding, mainly earmarked for hiring teaching assistants (TAs). The second additionally offered professional development training for existing teachers, delivered using a novel low-cost video-conferencing approach. We find that, despite increasing per-child expenditure by around a third, the first intervention did not improve child development and led to a reduction in the time that teachers spent in the classroom, including on learning activities. In contrast, the second intervention led to significant improvements in children’s cognitive development, especially those from more disadvantaged backgrounds, at little extra cost. The addition of the professional development training offset the adverse effects of TA provision on the time teachers spent on learning activities in the classroom and improved the quality of teaching. When we interpret our results through the lens of a model of teacher behavior, two insights arise. First, income effects and a perception that TA time was a good substitute for their own may have led teachers to endogenously scale back their efforts in the classroom in response to the provision of new resources. Second, the training prompted teachers to increase their perception of the usefulness of learning activities for child development and their perception that they had a comparative advantage in these learning activities relative to the TAs.

Suggested Citation

Andrew, Alison and Attanasio, Orazio and Bernal, Raquel and Cardona-Sosa, Lina and Krutikova, Sonya and Rubio-Codina, Marta, Preschool Quality and Child Development (August 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26191, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3446497

Alison Andrew (Contact Author)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Orazio Attanasio

Dept of Economics Yale University ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
+44 20 7679 5880 (Phone)
+44 20 7916 2775 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Raquel Bernal

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1a No. 18A-10
Santafe de Bogota, AA4976
Colombia

Lina Cardona-Sosa

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Sonya Krutikova

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Marta Rubio-Codina

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
8
Abstract Views
616
PlumX Metrics