By Sarah Alexander and Gillian Croad
This paper grew from our initial interest in reading the evidence that supported what the Minister and Ministry of Education were saying about the Competent Children research.
The research received much political and professional acclaim in New Zealand for its demonstration of the positive effects of early childhood education on children’s competencies and educational achievement.
Our paper is concerned not so much with the quality of the research because every piece of research has strengths and limitations, but with the political importance it attained in the absence of much critical review, discussion and understanding of the full research reports.
The assessment reported here suggests that the findings have been over-generalised beyond that warranted by the data. The use of the research to legitimate public policy and spending should be questioned.
Given the political significance Competent Children has attained there would appear to be a strong case for comprehensive critical analysis of this research by policy people, Ministry of Education officials, and early childhood researchers and professional leaders.
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Also you might be interested in a short article published in the Teachers' Work Journal
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