Volume 83, Issue 3 p. 864-876

Is Something Better Than Nothing? An Evaluation of Early Childhood Programs in Cambodia

Nirmala Rao

Nirmala Rao

The University of Hong Kong

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Jin Sun

Jin Sun

The University of Hong Kong

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Veronica Pearson

Veronica Pearson

The University of Hong Kong

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Emma Pearson

Emma Pearson

Universiti Brunei Darussalam

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Hongyun Liu

Hongyun Liu

Beijing Normal University

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Mark A. Constas

Mark A. Constas

Cornell University

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Patrice L. Engle

Patrice L. Engle

Cal Poly State University

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First published: 17 April 2012
Citations: 52
concerning this article should be addressed to Nirmala Rao, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong. Electronic mail may be sent to [email protected].

This research was supported by a grant from UNICEF Cambodia to Nirmala Rao. Special thanks are due to Ila Varma, Sophea Nhonh, and the research team from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Royal Government of Cambodia and to Raymond Lam for advice on statistical analyses. Portions of this research were presented at the 2008 meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD), Wurzburg, Germany, and the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society, New York, NY.

Abstract

This study evaluated the relative effectiveness of home-based, community-based, and state-run early childhood programs across Cambodia. A total of 880 five-year-olds (55% girls) from 6 rural provinces in Cambodia attending State Preschools, Community Preschools, Home-Based Programs, or no programs were assessed twice using the Cambodian Developmental Assessment Test. Controlling for baseline differences, children who participated in any early childhood programs performed significantly better in posttest than those of children who did not participate in any programs. Children in State Preschools scored significantly higher than those in either Community Preschools or Home-Based Programs; scores did not differ as a function of attending Community Preschools or Home-Based Programs. The results indicate that some preschool experience is better than none at all.