Kindergartners' Skills at School Entry

Kindergartners' Skills at School Entry

Children who live in single-parent households or whose households are below the federal poverty line, whose mothers have less than a high school education, and/or for whom the primary language spoken at home is not English may be at a disadvantage in terms of cognitive ability even before they start kindergarten, a report commissioned by Sesame Workshop finds. Based on data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 and written by Mathematica Policy Research, the report, Kindergartners' Skills at School Entry (8 pages, PDF), found that the more children were exposed to such risk factors, the lower they tended to score on reading, math, working memory, and cognitive flexibility assessments. The report also found that the disparities between children with zero and four risk factors were larger than the progress the average child makes between the fall and spring of his/her first year in school. The report suggests that efforts to better support the development of children before they enter kindergarten could help reduce such gaps, which often persist and even widen over the course of their schooling.

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