Evaluating and Developing the Early Education Pilot for Two Year Olds Gail Peachey and Frances Miller DCSF Research Conference 2009 Evaluating and Developing the Early Education Pilot for Two Year Olds Gail Peachey and Suzanne Lunn DCSF Research Conference 2009
Propensity score matching was used to make sure that the pilot and comparison samples are as similar as possible at baseline.
Achieved by modelling the difference between the two samples on a wide range of variables using logistic regression and recording the likelihood of each person being in the pilot group.
The treatment group individuals are then matched to the comparison group individuals so that the final matched samples have similar propensity score profiles i.e. they are equally likely to be in the treatment group.
The types of variables in the analysis included:
cognitive social behaviour e.g. size of English vocabulary, level of parental concern about how the child is learning and growing up
Other variables e.g. use of childcare, receipt of income support, degree of TV watching, lone parenthood
The final report drawing together the key findings from the study published in July 2009 concluded:
The pilot successfully targeted children experiencing different types of disadvantage.
However, the study found that around half of the control group were experiencing childcare by the end of the pilot clearly raising questions about deadweight. How many of the children in the treatment group would have experienced childcare without the pilot?
To reach the key target, the most economically disadvantaged children who, as a group were less likely to be able to access good quality childcare, local authorities would need to receive clearer guidance on targeting.
To have a positive impact on language ability and parent-child relationships children would have to attend higher quality settings – Ofsted rated as ‘Good’
Quality of settings
The quality of provision in target areas needs to be improved – the majority of provision in the pilot was ‘adequate’ (77%); only one fifth was ‘good’ (21%)
Parents’ experiences and perceptions of impact
Overall positive: staff approachable and friendly, high satisfaction with feedback on child’s progress, positive effect on child’s development
Positive impact on parenting skills, physical health and mental wellbeing