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Early Bird Catches the Worm: The Causal Impact of Pre-school Participation and Teacher Qualifications on Year 3 National NAPLAN Cognitive Tests

Author

Listed:
  • Diana Warren

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • John P. Haisken-DeNew

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

Abstract

Using data from the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children (LSAC), this is the first analysis for Australia to evaluate the impact of attendance at pre-school programs on matched Year 3 nation-wide NAPLAN test outcomes in the domains of Numeracy, Reading, Spelling, Writing and Grammar. We additionally disaggregate the impact of specific teacher qualifications on children’s cognitive outcomes. While one year of learning in Year 3 is represented by about 50 NAPLAN points, we find average pre-school domain effects as much as 10-15 points, mainly driven by the upper quantiles of the NAPLAN distribution. To address causality issues, we use Kernel matching, whereby the ATTs and ATUs are of the magnitude 10 to 20 NAPLAN points, which are reduced only modestly to about 15 points with additional controls for observed ability. NAPLAN score impacts on Numeracy, Reading and Spelling domains are the strongest and significant with the highest increases in NAPLAN scores being attained by children whose pre-school teachers had Diploma or Degree level (high) qualifications, identifying for the first time the crucial nature of teacher qualifications in driving nationally representative long-run pre-school treatment outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Diana Warren & John P. Haisken-DeNew, 2013. "Early Bird Catches the Worm: The Causal Impact of Pre-school Participation and Teacher Qualifications on Year 3 National NAPLAN Cognitive Tests," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n34, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2013n34
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    File URL: http://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2013n34.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kamhöfer, Daniel, 2014. "The Effect of Early Childhood Language Training Programs on the Contemporary Formation of Grammar Skills," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100374, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Janeli Kotzé, 2015. "The readiness of the South African education system for a pre-Grade R year," Working Papers 15/2015, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    3. Nikhil Jha, 2014. "Late Start with Extra Schooling: The Effect of School Entry-Age Increase and the Introduction of Preparatory Year," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2014n10, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ATT; causal impact; pre-school; NAPLAN; specialised qualification;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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