Kindergarten Impacts of the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program

Kindergarten Impacts of the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program

A state-funded pre-K program designed to reduce educational disparities among low-income, English-language learners, and other at-risk three- and four- year-olds in Pennsylvania helped them acquire school-readiness skills, an evaluation conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with support from the William Penn Foundation, finds. The report, Kindergarten Impacts of the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program (41 pages, PDF), found that kindergarteners who had participated in the program demonstrated significantly higher levels of language and math skills — equivalent to an increase of approximately four to five months of learning — compared with those who had no early childhood education exposure. The evaluation found no significant differences on other literacy, executive function, and social skills measures, and the report's authors note that there was no difference among children who enrolled in such programs at age 3 and those who enrolled at age 4; that there was little differentiation in curriculum and instruction based on age group; and that the lack of measurable improvement in skills other than language and math suggest areas for potential professional development and quality improvement activities.

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