UV9919V4 – Early childhood education as a tool to offset the detrimental long-term effects of early exposure to poverty

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course is offered in collaboration with the the research group “Text Comprehension: Development, Instruction and Multiple Texts” (TextDIM).

Responsible: Joshua Lawrence and Veslemøy Rydland

Key Lecturers: C. Cybele Raver, New York University, USA and Tyler W. Watts, New York University, USA

Across both the United States and European Union, children comprise the age group at highest risk of experiencing income poverty; correspondingly, their likelihood of doing well in school is placed in significant jeopardy over time. Large disparities in early academic achievement between young children at the top and bottom quintiles of the income distribution are clear as early as school entry (by age 6). This course briefly reviews a set of neurodevelopmental mechanisms that may explain the links by which poverty-related hardship exerts deleterious effects on young children's socioemotional and academic school readiness. We will focus on theory and evidence pointing to the development of children's executive function and their self-regulation as two of those key candidate mediating mechanisms. Our review of that evidence will highlight issues of measurement (for predictors such as family material hardship, mediators such as children's executive function, and outcomes such as children's school readiness) and opportunities for intervention in early childhood educational settings. This will position students to understand the broader context of early childhood as a key time for public investment and to gain expertise in the accumulating body of research suggesting that early childhood education (ECE) programs may offset the detrimental long-term effects of early exposure to poverty.   

The literature list includes readings meant to highlight thematic, measurement and analytical methods. This course will be of interest to anyone interested in ECE programs and also those interested in state-of-the-art research methods in long and short term program evaluation.

Learning outcome

  • Learn about a set of neurodevelopmental mechanisms (including self-regulation and executive functioning)
  • Learn about relevant of measurement issues
  • Learn about how researchers have tested the durability and persistence of impacts generated from ECE programs (as estimated with RCTs), including methodological details.
  • Understand the policy implications for public investment in early childhood programs


PhD candidates at the Faculty of Educational Sciences will be given priority, but it is also possible for others to apply for the course. Applicants must have at least a Master's degree.

Candidates admitted to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Educational Sciences should apply through Studentweb 

Other applicants may apply using this application form

Registration deadline: April 28, 2019.


This is an intensive course over two days, comprising a total of 12 hours.

Dates: May 27-28, 2019

Place: University of Oslo, Blindern, Lucy Smiths hus, Hannah Ryggen room, 10th floor

Work format: Open lectures and seminars

You will find the timetable and literature on the semester webpage for this course.


Open lectures:

Cybele Raver: Setting the stage for preschool intervention: Children’s early learning in the context of poverty and inequality

Tyler Watts: A Story Without an Ending: Early Childhood Education Programs and the Ongoing Search for Long-Run Effects


1 credit point for participation without paper (80% attendance is required).

3 credit points for course participation (80% attendance is required) and an approved paper (5-7 pages, Times New Roman 12, line spacing 1,5). 

Candidates who want their papers considered for presentation in the course should submit their papers within May 16, 2019.

Papers are to be submitted electronically in Canvas.

The deadline for paper submission after the course is TBA

Language of examination


Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Facts about this course






Spring 2019


Spring 2019

Teaching language