School of Education News

Amy Claessens: Candidate Talk for the Gulbrandsen Chair in Early Childhood Education

September 27, 2017

Amy Claessens, a candidate for the Gulbrandsen Chair in Early Childhood Education, will be delivering a presentation titled, “Mathematics in early childhood: A look inside kindergarten classrooms.”

The candidate talk will run from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in room 259 of the Educational Sciences building.

Research demonstrates the important of mathematics knowledge in early childhood for later school success in both reading and mathematics; yet, mathematics is underemphasized in early childhood, specifically in early childhood classrooms. In this talk, Claessens will discuss her work that examines the relationship between young children’s school-entry math knowledge, mathematics content coverage, and end-of-kindergarten math achievement using both of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Kindergarten (ECLS-K) data sets.

The vast majority of children entered kindergarten with basic knowledge of numbers and able to recognize simple geometric shapes. However, teachers reported emphasizing this content over more advanced topics such as simple addition and subtraction. Yet, the ECLS-K provides little information on why kindergarten teachers cover the mathematics content they do or how the content is delivered. To provide this insight, Claessens will share results from an ongoing field study in New York City that involves observations of the full-day of kindergarten instruction in 24 schools.

She will show evidence comparing the enacted vs. intended curriculum as well as a description of how children spend their time in kindergarten classrooms in this large urban district.

Claessens is a Research Associate and Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

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