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Does Prekindergarten Improve School Preparation and Performance?

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  • Katherine A. Magnuson
  • Christopher J. Ruhm
  • Jane Waldfogel

Abstract

Prekindergarten programs are expanding rapidly, but to date, evidence on their effects is quite limited. Using rich data from Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, we estimate the effects of prekindergarten on children's school readiness. We find that prekindergarten increases reading and mathematics skills at school entry, but also increases behavioral problems and reduces self-control. Furthermore, the effects of prekindergarten on skills largely dissipate by the spring of first grade, although the behavioral effects do not. Finally, effects differ depending on children's family background and subsequent schooling, with the largest and most lasting academic gains for disadvantaged children and those attending schools with low levels of academic instruction.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10452.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Publication status: published as Magnuson, Katherine A. & Ruhm, Christopher & Waldfogel, Jane, 2007. "Does prekindergarten improve school preparation and performance?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 33-51, February.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10452

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  1. Jane Waldfogel, 2002. "Child care, women's employment, and child outcomes," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 527-548.
  2. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Currie, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Does Head Start make a Difference?," Papers 95-10, RAND - Reprint Series.
  4. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 2000. "School Quality and the Longer-Term Effects of Head Start," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 755-774.
  5. Eliana Garces & Duncan Thomas & Janet Currie, 2002. "Longer-Term Effects of Head Start," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 999-1012, September.
  6. Alan Krueger, 2000. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," Working Papers 826, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 1985. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(4), pages 370-79, October.
  8. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 447-464, May.
  9. Jennifer Hill & Jane Waldfogel & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2002. "Differential effects of high-quality child care," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(4), pages 601-627.
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