Changing trajectories of learning and development: experimental evidence from the Quality Preschool for Ghana interventions

by Sharon Wolf and Morgan Peele

24 Mar 2020
Journal of the British Academy
32 (pp. 71-102)

Abstract: We examined how exposure to two intervention programmes designed to improve the quality of pre-primary education in Ghana—the Quality Preschool for Ghana project—impacted children’s rate of growth in academic (literacy and numeracy) and non-academic skills (social–emotional and executive function) across two school years. This cluster-randomised trial included 240 schools (N = 3,345 children, Mage = 5.2 at baseline) randomly assigned to one of three conditions: teacher training (TT), teacher training plus parental-awareness meetings (TTPA), and control. We found some evidence that the interventions altered children’s rate of growth in academic and non-academic skills for the full sample, and one unexpected finding: TTPA had negative impacts on growth in numeracy skills. When examined by grade level and gender, TT improved trajectories of younger children, and the negative effects of TTPA on numeracy were driven by boys. Implications are discussed in the context of global early childhood education policy, and teacher professional development and parental engagement programmes.

Keywords: Early childhood education, cluster-randomised trial, learning, Ghana, sub-Saharan Africa, early childhood development.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 8,
supplementary issue 2 (Early Childhood Development in the Global South).

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