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The ‘Young Lives’ Longitudinal Study

Fri, March 13, 9:40 to 11:10am, Washington Hilton, Floor: Concourse Level, Lincoln West


This paper presents an overview of the Young Lives longitudinal study . It focuses on findings on the effects of home background, school enrolment and school quality on learning outcomes . Young Lives has followed 12,000 children from two age cohorts in Ethiopia, India, Peru and the state of Andhra Pradesh in India since 2001. Longitudinal, dual cohort and comparative, the design of Young Lives is unique in the panoply of surveys of children.

Young Lives employs longitudinal designs of two types. The first involves repeated measures of aspects of the same children’s development measured in their homes and gathered alongside key household and community-level development indicators. Because children are assessed in their homes, the impact of school attendance on the learning progress of all children can be explored, irrespective of school enrolment. By studying two age cohorts, longitudinally and simultaneously, cohort and time-period effects can be separated and extensive sub group analysis conducted within cohorts, across cohorts and across countries. The second longitudinal design focuses on children in-school and involves repeated measures of learning achievement during a single school year, enabling us to explore the influence of a range of in-school and out-of-school factors that explain learning progress.

Dual cohort, longitudinal surveys generate ‘big data’ that permit analyses of education access, school quality and learning outcomes unavailable to those who work with cross-sectional data sets.