While studies have shown that disadvantaged children benefit from high-quality preschool programs, they would benefit even more if they had additional tutoring and mentoring during their elementary and high school years, according to research at the University of Chicago.
Researchers have previously noted that many of the advantages children receive from preschool experiences begin to wane as they continue through school. A study by James Heckman, a Nobel-Prize winning economist at the University of Chicago and an expert on early childhood education, now shows for the first time that systematic interventions throughout childhood and adolescence could sustain the early gains and build on them.
"Childhood is a multistage process where early investments feed into later investments. Skill begets skill; learning begets learning," wrote Heckman in the paper, "Investing in our Young People." Heckman, the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, co-wrote the paper with Flavio Cunha, a graduate student in economics at the University of Chicago. The study is being released in Washington, D.C. November 15 as part of a larger report by America's Promise Alliance's titled Every Child, Every Promise: Turning Failure into Action.
The scholars studied data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Youth to estimate a model that would describe how different inputs contribute to the accumulation of abilities. They used the model to predict the outcomes of children born to disadvantaged mothers when the children received a variety of extra learning assistance. In particular, they simulated the potential outcome of continued high-quality interventions beyond preschool.
Because programs for young people now focus on one period in a child's life, such as preschool, or high-school, little research has been done studying a group of students receiving continued interventions systematically.
Heckman and Cunha's computer simulation showed that the sustained investments in disadvantaged children would have dramatic results. The attention would improve the children's school performance as well as their social skills. The children who perform better in school, would likely complete more education and not become involved in crime or dependent upon welfare. With no early childhood investments, only 41 percent of the students would finish high school and more than 22 percent would be convicted of crime or on probation. Just 4.5 percent would enroll in college. The study also showed:
- With early childhood intervention, high school graduation rates would increase to 65 percent and college enrollment to 12 percent. Participation in crime would decrease.
- With skill-building investments in high school, graduation rates also would be 65 percent, while convictions and probation for crime would fall dramatically.
- Combining early childhood intervention with high school intervention would increase high-school graduation rates to 84 percent and college participation rates to 27 percent.- Disadvantaged children who received balanced additional attention throughout childhood would fare even better. More than 90 percent of those students would graduate from high school and 37 percent would attend college, while conviction and probation rates would fall to 2.6 percent. The additional investments throughout childhood could include extra enrichment and tutoring in school as well as opportunities provided by parents and institutions other than schools.
Other research has shown dramatic economic advantages for society when more students complete high school and attend college. The costs to society decrease becaise fewer people would be involved in crime. Among African Americns, 30 percent of men who did not graduate from high school are in prison, studies have shown. Crime costs Americans more than $600 billion per year.
Heckman and Cunha's work shows that the benefits of increased investments in young people come from improving both cognitive and noncognitive skills. Although preschool can have an impact on improving cognitive skills, interventions later on can improve noncognitive skills such as perseverance and self-control, they wrote.
Paying attention to the skills gap is vital to the future economic success of the country, Heckman said. College attendance rates have stalled, and the percentage of students completing a conventional four-year high school program is decreasing. "Currently 17 percent of all new high school credentials or GEDs are issued to people who earn about as much as high school dropouts.
"The growth in the quality of the workforce, which was a mainstay of economic growth until recently, has diminished," Heckman said. This trend must change or America's economy will be undermined, he said.
William Harms | EurekAlert!
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology