The Misalignment of Kindergarten Mathematics Content

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Amy Claessens, Harris School, University of Chicago

Amy Claessens is an Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include child development, early childhood experiences, and early mathematics development. Studies using data from the late 1990s indicate that most of the mathematics content that kindergarteners were exposed to covered topics they had already mastered. We replicate and extend upon prior research using two nationally representative cohorts of kindergarteners. We find that teachers still report spending most of their time on content students already know, although we also observe an increase in time spent on more advanced content between the 1998-99 and 2010-11 school years. We find that time on advanced content is positively associated with student learning, while time on basic content has a negative effect.