An Analysis of the effectiveness of quality indicators in early childhood education on subsequent science competency on a cross-country and Turkish case basis

Kaya, Elif
The main aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of early childhood education on children’s subsequent science competency in PISA assessment. In doing so, the influence of country-level and student-level factors on children’s later competency on the PISA science literacy were also examined. Country-level indicators were determined following variables from past records: public and private expenditure in pre-primary education, pupil-teacher ratio, enrolment rate in pre-primary, duration in pre-primary, starting age to pre-primary education, individual countries adult literacy rate, and income per capita. As for student-level indicators, these are: attending pre-primary education, level of mother’s education, mother’s occupation, and student’s gender. By using PISA science scores for both country-level and student-level analysis, the indicator which serves as the most significant predictor in explaining later science competency was examined. According to this study’s findings, public expenditure, pupil-teacher ratio, income, adult literacy rate and starting age to pre-primary education were effective factors influencing children’s subsequent science performance on the PISA assessment. Furthermore, adult literacy rate was the only variable which had significant influence on later science performance for three country groups. Moreover, student-level analysis revealed that children perform better in the PISA science literacy as their number of years of attendance in pre-primary education and level of their mother’s education increase. Additionally, mother’s occupation and student’s gender also have potential influence on later science competency. The findings also have important implications for improving the provision of Turkish early childhood education in each of these indicators. Moreover, there is an urgent need to keep up with the international trend in pre-primary education.