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The Young Lives Longitudinal Study

Angela W Little

NORRAG Panel on International Benchmarking and measuring the quality

CIESMarch 13th 2015, 9.30 -11.00




Interdisciplinary study which aims to:- improve understanding of the causes & consequences of childhood poverty - provide evidence to improve policies & practice

Combines data collection (quantitative & qualitative), analysis/research and policy influence

Following 12,000 children in 4 countries (Ethiopia, India-Andhra Pradesh, Peru, Vietnam) over 15 years

Two age cohorts in each country:- 2,000 children born in 2000-01- 1,000 children born in 1994-95

Pro-poor sample: 20 sites in each country selected to reflect country diversity, rural-urban, livelihoods, ethnicity etc; roughly equal numbers of boys and girls



Advantages of Prospective Longitudinal Studies

Repeated measures of same individuals over time aid understanding of causation, prognosis, stability, change and development

Prospective longitudinal studies follow samples into the future, events can be tracked as they occur and are not subject to recall bias or errors in historical administrative records

Long term effects of family, school, community and child characteristics on childrens development can be explored

Because childrens development is measured in their homes, one can track the development of in school and out of school children and the impact of school enrolment and attendance



Young Lives follows two age cohorts longitudinally simultaneously, separate cohort from age effects

Short term longitudinal studies can be embedded within longer term study - explore the influence of a range of in-school and out-of-school factors that explain learning progress within a school year.

Young Lives ALSO enjoys the benefits of dual cohort, cross sectional, cross country and mixed methods designs and analysis.





Younger cohort (2,000)

Round 1 (2002)

Round 2 (2006)

Round 3 (2009)

1 year old

5 years old

8 years old

Round 4 (2013)

12 years old

8 years old

12 years old

15 years old

19 years old

Round 5 (2016)

15 years old

22 years old


Older cohort (1,000)


Survey data includes:

Household food and non-food consumption and expenditure

Economic changes and recent life history

Parental background

Livelihoods and assets

Social capital

Socio-economic status

Child activities

Child health



Caregiver perceptions

Cognitive development & vocabulary scores

All survey data are archived with ESDS and publicly available




Classroom pedagogy

Class characteristics

Teachers knowledge and pedagogy

Teachers characteristics and behaviours

School structure and organisation (private/public, medium of instruction)

School availability and characteristics

School policies and practices



School Quality Counts: evidence from developing countriesSpecial issue of the Oxford Review of Education, Vol 40 no 1 (eds. Angela W Little and Caine Rolleston)

Prediction: Socioeconomic status age 1, opportunities to learn maths and maths achievement Primary 4 (i.e. 10 years later) Peru

SES age 1 and Maths test Primary 4

Opportunities to learn:

No. of hrs of math classes per year

Curriculum coverage (no of exercises attempted by students)

Quality of teachers feedback

Level of cognitive demand of learning tasks (last 3 measured through analysis of note and workbook exercises)

Association number of exercises attempted and achievement. SES at age 1 predicted not only achievement but also number of exercises attempted

Highly unequal education system; poor children have fewer opportunities to learn in school

Policy impact: Ministry of Education Pedagogical Support program for slower learners from 2013

3000 G5 students: subsample of YL younger cohort and class peers, tested at beginning and end of school year

Examined effects of home background, teacher, peer and school factors on learning progress. school factor and class peer backgrounds, in the policy context of minimum standards.

Disadvantaged pupils receive reasonably equitable access to fundamental school quality i.e. minimum standards e.g. av. Electricity, separate classrooms, principal training. BUT are less likely to be in schools which offer the largest number of teaching hours (in Maths, Vietnamese and in total), are learning in classrooms more likely to need repairs and less likely to have computers and books other than textbooks; and are more likely to have teachers with lower levels of pedagogical content knowledge

Policy implication: following success of minimum standards policy attention should turn to boosting wider opportunities to learn. Dialogue with Vice Minister Education: Input to World Bank Vietnam Development Report

Short term longitudinal study embedded within longer term Equalising opportunity? School quality and home disadvantage in Vietnam

Methodological imperatives uncover new insightsChanging schools in Andhra Pradesh, India

Following children to schools; dispersion

OC 2002 by age of 7-8 5% had moved school at least once; YC 2009 16%

Flux in system. (ASER also finds transitions within calendar year grade to grade)

Challenges education planning techniques assumptions of cohorts moving through school together with dropout and repetition being main sources of cohort loss.

Longitudinal study evidence and policy change in UK

14 examples of longitudinal study evidence having impact on policy change

Effective Pre-school, primary and secondary education project (EPPSE), 3000 children 1997-2004. Long term language, educational and social development influenced by home environment and education. Policy change all children from age 3 received free part-time early childhood education; and from age 2 for most deprived 40 percent.

Working mothers and child development . Effects of mothers employment on senior high school achievement, maths and reading scores and socio-emotional development (aggressive or withdrawn). Minimal or no effect on scores . Any slightly negative effects weakened as child grew older. Policy change more flexibility for maternity and paternity leave around time of childs birth


Special issue of Oxford Review of Education Vol 40, (eds Angela W Little and Caine Rolleston) School Quality Counts: evidence from developing countries




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