Evaluation and determinants of preschool effectiveness in Chile

Víctor Giménez, Caludio Thieme, Diego Prior, Emili Tortosa-Ausina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Early intervention in quality education is a way to equalize opportunities, a premise assumed by several
countries. As a result, interest has grown in preschool education, which is now an important area of public policy.
However, the performance of preschool education centers has received relatively scarce research attention.
Consistent with the above, the aim of this study is to examine the problem and evaluate the performance of
preschool education centers that serve children from lower socioeconomic families in Chile. To this end, a
centralized DEA Assurance Region model is proposed and compared with two other models. In addition, a second
stage analysis is carried out using decision trees to identify variables that determine the composition of homogeneous
preschool groups according to their effectiveness. The results show an average efficiency index of
70.54% with important heterogeneities between regions of the country, and significantly less than the 84.47%
obtained through a traditional benefit-of-the-doubt model. The centralized (unique) weights obtained were 45%
for learning, and 32% for user satisfaction and job satisfaction. A second stage analysis reveals the importance of
three structural factors that mark the effectiveness of kindergartens: (i) size of the kindergarten; (ii) family income;
and (iii) urban or rural location of the kindergarten. These results are relevant to public policy since they
propose a valid and useful methodology for decision makers, quantify the levels of effectiveness, and emphasize
the importance of focusing efforts on the centers that, due to their structural conditions, are more prone to lower
levels of effectiveness. Similarly, they validate and align with the changes at this level of education in Chile in
recent years.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocio-Economic Planning Sciences
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

Keywords

  • Assurance region
  • Centralized data envelopment analysis
  • Composite indicators
  • Effectiveness
  • Preschool

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