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The Effectiveness of an Early-Grade Literacy Intervention on the Cognitive Achievement of Brazilian Students

Carnoy, M., & Costa, L
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Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis

Beginning in 2007, the Literacy Program at the Right Age (Pacto pela Alfabetização na Idade Certa [PAIC]) in Brazil’s Ceará state required municipal schools to implement a tiered, whole-school early-grade literacy intervention. This intervention was complemented by other policies to help municipalities improve student achievement. The present study identifies PAIC’s impact using a tri- ple-difference analysis (Difference-in-Difference-in-Difference [DDD] approach) that relies on comparisons of the test-score changes in Ceará and bordering states and for grades and schools treated and not treated by the literacy program since 2007. The results show that PAIC had a positive effect on student achievement in both Portuguese and mathematics, but that it did not help reduce the gap between students who had or had not participated in early childhood education.


Carnoy, M., & Costa, L. (2014). The effectiveness of an early grades literacy intervention on the cognitive achievement of Brazilian students. In documento presentado en la 9. a Conferencia IZA/Banco Mundial sobre Empleo y Desarrollo (Vol. 25).