The Long Reach of
Early Math Skills
Greg J. Duncan
School of Education
University of California, Irvine
How important are K-5 math
skills for completed schooling?
How important are school-entry math
skills for school achieveme...
Skills and Behaviors
Achievement Engagement Problem Behaviors
Description: Concrete math
and reading skills
Ability to con...
Skill and behavior gaps between high- and low-income
kindergarteners
+106
+53
-27 -30
-100
Kindergarten gap 5th grade gap
...
Skill and behavior gaps between high- and low-income
kindergarteners and fifth graders
+106
+53
-27 -30
+121
+59
-42 -31
-...
How important are school-entry
math skills for school
achievement?
How important are K-5 math skills
for completed schooli...
Effects of school-entry skills and
behaviors on later achievement
Mental health
Reading
Math
Engagement
Anti-social
0
0 10...
Effects of school-entry skills and
behaviors on later achievement
Mental health
Reading
MathEngagementAnti-social
0
0 10 2...
Kindergarten teaching – hours/wk
All teachers
Teachers in low-
income schools
Reading 4.9 5.0
Math 3.1 3.1
Kindergarten student mastery vs.
time spent teaching
Mastery by Fall K
Basic Counting
& Shapes
95%
Patterns &
Measurement
...
Kindergarten student mastery vs.
time spent teaching
Mastery by Fall K
Mean Days/Month
spent teaching
Basic Counting
& Sha...
Instruction time and math achievement
-.041
+.065
0
Basic math Advanced math
Mathlearninginkindergarten
All students Low-i...
Instruction time and math achievement
-.041
+.065
-.029
+.056
0
Basic math Advanced math
Mathlearninginkindergarten
All st...
How important are school-entry
math skills for school
achievement?
How important are K-5 math skills
for completed schooli...
Effects of K-5 skills and behaviors on
completed schooling
0
0 10 20 30
Effects of K-5 skills and behaviors on
completed schooling
Anxiety Reading
Anti-social
Attention
Math
0
0 10 20 30
How important are school-entry
math skills for school
achievement?
How important are K-5 math skills
for completed schooli...
Effects of adolescent skills and behaviors
on earnings
0
0 10 20
Effects of adolescent skills and behaviors
on earnings
Anxiety Reading
Anti-social
Attention Math
0
0 10 20
Why math?
(preliminary)
• Structural story:
• teachers and schools provide extra
opportunities for early math achievers?
•...
Why math (con’t)?
• Motivational story:
• Math feedback is very concrete?
• Kids who don’t master math don’t
think they ar...
Summary
• Early math is surprisingly important
• Kindergartent teachers spend much
less time on math than reading
• Early ...
Greg J. Duncan
gduncan@uci.edu
School of Education
University of California, Irvine
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The Long Reach of Early Math Skills - Professor Greg Duncan

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Professor Greg Duncan (School of Education, University of California, Irvine)'s presentation on the long-term effects of early math proficiency on student success in secondary and post-secondary education.

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The Long Reach of Early Math Skills - Professor Greg Duncan

  1. 1. The Long Reach of Early Math Skills Greg J. Duncan School of Education University of California, Irvine
  2. 2. How important are K-5 math skills for completed schooling? How important are school-entry math skills for school achievement? How important are adolescent math skills for labor market success?
  3. 3. Skills and Behaviors Achievement Engagement Problem Behaviors Description: Concrete math and reading skills Ability to control impulses and focus on tasks i) Ability to get along with others ii) Sound mental health Example test areas or question wording: Knowing letters and numbers; beginning word sounds, word problems Can’t sit still; can’t concentrate; score from a computer test of impulse control i) Cheats or tells lies, bullies, is disobedient at school ii) Is sad, moody
  4. 4. Skill and behavior gaps between high- and low-income kindergarteners +106 +53 -27 -30 -100 Kindergarten gap 5th grade gap Math achievement Mental health problems Anti-social behavior School engagement Source: Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten cohort.
  5. 5. Skill and behavior gaps between high- and low-income kindergarteners and fifth graders +106 +53 -27 -30 +121 +59 -42 -31 -100 Kindergarten gap 5th grade gap Math achievement Mental health problems Anti-social behavior School engagement Source: Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten cohort.
  6. 6. How important are school-entry math skills for school achievement? How important are K-5 math skills for completed schooling? How important are adolescent math skills for labor market success?
  7. 7. Effects of school-entry skills and behaviors on later achievement Mental health Reading Math Engagement Anti-social 0 0 10 20 30 40
  8. 8. Effects of school-entry skills and behaviors on later achievement Mental health Reading MathEngagementAnti-social 0 0 10 20 30 40
  9. 9. Kindergarten teaching – hours/wk All teachers Teachers in low- income schools Reading 4.9 5.0 Math 3.1 3.1
  10. 10. Kindergarten student mastery vs. time spent teaching Mastery by Fall K Basic Counting & Shapes 95% Patterns & Measurement 62% Place value & Currency 25% Addition & Subtraction 7% 11,517 students 2,176 teachers
  11. 11. Kindergarten student mastery vs. time spent teaching Mastery by Fall K Mean Days/Month spent teaching Basic Counting & Shapes 95% 12.70 Patterns & Measurement 62% 7.68 Place value & Currency 25% 8.61 Addition & Subtraction 7% 4.38 11,517 students 2,176 teachers
  12. 12. Instruction time and math achievement -.041 +.065 0 Basic math Advanced math Mathlearninginkindergarten All students Low-income students only Source: Claessens and Engel (under review) Basic math instruction time Advanced math instruction time
  13. 13. Instruction time and math achievement -.041 +.065 -.029 +.056 0 Basic math Advanced math Mathlearninginkindergarten All students Low-income students only Source: Claessens and Engel (under review) Basic math instruction time Advanced math instruction time
  14. 14. How important are school-entry math skills for school achievement? How important are K-5 math skills for completed schooling? How important are adolescent math skills for labor market success?
  15. 15. Effects of K-5 skills and behaviors on completed schooling 0 0 10 20 30
  16. 16. Effects of K-5 skills and behaviors on completed schooling Anxiety Reading Anti-social Attention Math 0 0 10 20 30
  17. 17. How important are school-entry math skills for school achievement? How important are K-5 math skills for completed schooling? How important are adolescent math skills for labor market success?
  18. 18. Effects of adolescent skills and behaviors on earnings 0 0 10 20
  19. 19. Effects of adolescent skills and behaviors on earnings Anxiety Reading Anti-social Attention Math 0 0 10 20
  20. 20. Why math? (preliminary) • Structural story: • teachers and schools provide extra opportunities for early math achievers? • moderate math skills keeps kids out of special education?
  21. 21. Why math (con’t)? • Motivational story: • Math feedback is very concrete? • Kids who don’t master math don’t think they are good at math or good at school?
  22. 22. Summary • Early math is surprisingly important • Kindergartent teachers spend much less time on math than reading • Early math instruction is geared toward skills kids already know • Math is also highly predictive of completed schooling and earnings
  23. 23. Greg J. Duncan gduncan@uci.edu School of Education University of California, Irvine
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