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New research shows that Kindergartens make a big difference!

  1. #1
    ptoche is offline Registered User
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    New research shows that Kindergartens make a big difference!

    came as a shock to me to learn that which kindergarten you go to makes a difference (I couldn't even name the one I went to), but here's the evidence (soon to be published in a very top econ journal):

    http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/kappan.pdf

  2. #2
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Its not exactly new, this was actually published last year and makes for very interesting reading.

    "The cognitive benefits of the programs disappeared as students moved through elementary school, yet the economic benefits persisted into adulthood."

    It has started debates all over the world and the ongoing implications are continuing to be discussed.

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    HappyV is offline Registered User
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    There's research going back a lot further than that. Research into early years education is what prompted the Early Years curriculum in the UK, as well as the push for earlier introduction of foreign languages and earlier intervention for special needs education which has happened over the last two decades.

    I have yet to read this particular study.

  4. #4
    charade is offline Registered User
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    Yikes, considering that people in HK seem obsessed with their kids being in the "best" school, this study will just encourage the craziness further.

    I'm a little skeptical. The whole thing seems predicated on test scores. So then they ask: "Do policies and practices
    that improve early childhood test scores also lead to better outcomes in adulthood?" My problem is when they come to the part about 'kg classroom quality'. How do they define 'classroom quality'? While they admit that many factors can influence classroom quality - better teachers, better peers, better classroom chemistry - these are not quantifiable and so they go back to test scores: "f your classmates are doing well on tests, then it must mean that you’re in an effective classroom environment." So, you have better test scores because you are in an effective classroom and you are in an effective classroom because you have better test scores... seems weird to me. There could be better test scores because the teachers prime the students for tests. We would then be saying that focussing students on test scores is what matters to adult earnings rather than 'classroom quality', which even at the end of the article, they seem unable to define.

  5. #5
    HappyV is offline Registered User
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    Outside the crazy world of HK, I think you would find that this kind of thinking is what drove the idea that goals were needed to help focus what kinds of skills/knowledge young children should be learning. In many countries, curriculum at this age is goal-oriented, but more focused on record keeping of where the child is 'up to' rather than test scores, per se.

    Mind you, I used to tutor some children at an exclusive HK kindergarten - and they had the followng tests to 'graduate' - written and spoken Chinese (Cantonese), written and spoken English, spoken Mandarin, maths and music. For four/five year olds. Crazy.

  6. #6
    2010-NewDad is offline Registered User
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    I read just read that report. To me, it shows the effect of kindergarten is tiny. By jumping from the 25th to 75th percentile it will raise a childs career earnings by a present value of US$10,000. That is a tiny sum when you consider how much money you earn in a career.

    Even such a big jump in percentile ranking only equates to the difference between earning US$50,000 and US$51,750 per annum. Given the wider influences on life this shows to me that kindergarten is not that important.... of course as parents we will strive to find the best for our children but even if we fail, it is unlikely to have a significant bearing over the course of our childs life.

    For the non-quantifiable stuff the report mentions (social skills instilled by strong classroom management) - I would think the parents have a much bigger influence (over the course of the childhood) than a single teacher for a year of teaching kindergarten.

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