The Relationship between Publicly Funded Preschool and Fourth-Grade Math Test Scores: A State-Level Analysis
Rosinsky, Kristina L.
In recognition of the potential long-term benefits of early education programs, significant public investments have been made in preschool programs such as Head Start, state-funded pre-kindergarten, and special education preschool. However, there is an active debate over the effectiveness of these public, large-scale programs. This study contributes to the literature on this topic by using state-year panel data to examine the relationship between the percentage of four-year-olds enrolled in publicly funded preschool and average fourth-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress math test scores five years later. My findings suggest that the relationship between preschool enrollment and test scores varies by type of publicly funded preschool. More specifically, I find that enrollment in the two types of preschool that typically serve disadvantaged students (Head Start and state-funded pre-kindergarten) is negatively associated or has no relationship with test scores. On the other hand, enrollment in special education preschool (which is available to all children regardless of income) has a positive relationship with test scores and this relationship is stronger for low-income students than for all students. The limitations of this study prevent far-reaching policy conclusions but underscore the need for improved data capacity so that future studies can better assess the effectiveness of large-scale, publicly funded preschool programs.
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The Relationship Between State-funded Preschool Programs and National Standardized Test Scores in Math and Reading in Fourth Grade Dieterle, Kevin Patrick (Georgetown University, 2012)While K-12 education is available universally across the United States, educational offerings for children prior to kindergarten entry are far more fragmented. States offer a wide variety of program structures: while some ...
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