Early learning is best—study
Early intervention in public education improves student performance at later levels of schooling, a World Bank paper using data from the Philippines shows.
Futoshi Yamauchi and Yanyan Liu—in “Impacts of an Early Stage Education Intervention on Students’ Learning Achievement: Evidence from the Philippines”—measured the effects of the Department of Education’s Third Elementary Education Project (TEEP).
The TEEP—implemented from 2000 to 2006 with financial help from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the World Bank—introduced a package of investments, including school building construction and renovation, textbooks, teacher training, school-based management, and other facilities and equipment support.
“Interestingly, investments in textbooks for the earlier grades have large positive effects on student performance in the higher grades,” the authors said.
They found evidence that distributing textbooks to fourth graders resulted in increased test scores more than when textbooks were distributed to fifth and sixth graders.
The findings also showed that public investment in elementary education would likely have a positive longer term impact on student performance at later stages such as high school and college, the authors said.
“This argument justifies large public investments to improve school quality at the early stage of public education, because the cumulative benefits are gradually realized at later stages in the education system and labor market,” the paper said.
“If the marginal effect is constant across all grades, our estimates indicate that the six-year exposure [2000-2006] increases the score by about 12-15 points,” they said.
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