Report: Counting on Early Math Skills

Posted on April 10, 2017

Counting on Early Math Skills
Preliminary Kindergarten Impacts of the Making Pre-K Count and High 5s Programs

Early math ability is one of the best predictors of children’s math and reading skills into late elementary school. Children with stronger math proficiency in elementary school, in turn, are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. However, early math skills have not historically been a major focus of instruction in preschool and kindergarten classrooms.

The Making Pre-K Count and High 5s studies test two math programs to examine whether it is possible to improve children’s early math abilities, and whether improvements in this “linchpin” outcome lead to impacts on children’s other short- and longer-term outcomes. The current analysis examines the cumulative effects of both programs on children’s math, language, and executive function skills in kindergarten. The Making Pre-K Count program entailed a comprehensive redesign of both the content and teaching of math in the prekindergarten (pre-K) classroom, and the High 5s program provided a second year of math enrichment for a subgroup of children who received Making Pre-K Count in preschool. High 5s was designed to build on children’s pre-K experience using small-group math clubs — in which a trained facilitator works with three to four children on fun math activities three times a week outside the classroom — to supplement regular kindergarten instruction.

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