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An effectiveness-based evaluation of five state pre-kindergarten programs

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  • Vivian C. Wong

    (Northwestern University)

  • Thomas D. Cook

    (Northwestern University)

  • W. Steven Barnett

    (Rutgers University)

  • Kwanghee Jung

    (Rutgers University)

Abstract

Since 1980, the number of state pre-kindergarten (pre-K) programs has more than doubled, with 38 states enrolling more than one million children in 2006 alone. This study evaluates how five state pre-K programs affected children's receptive vocabulary, math, and print awareness skills. Taking advantage of states' strict enrollment policies determined by a child's date of birth, a regression-discontinuity design was used to estimate effects in Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia. For receptive vocabulary, only New Jersey and Oklahoma yielded significant standardized impacts, though two of the three other coefficients were in a direction indicating positive effects. For math, all the coefficients were positive but only Michigan and New Jersey yielded reliable results. The largest impacts were for print awareness, where all five coefficients were positive and four were reliable in Michigan, New Jersey, South Carolina, and West Virginia. The five states were not randomly selected and, on average, have higher quality program standards than non-studied states, precluding formal extrapolation to the nation at large. However, our sample of states differed in many other ways, permitting the conclusion that state pre-K programs can have positive effects on children's cognitive skills, though the magnitude of these effects varies by state and outcome. © 2008 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Vivian C. Wong & Thomas D. Cook & W. Steven Barnett & Kwanghee Jung, 2008. "An effectiveness-based evaluation of five state pre-kindergarten programs," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(1), pages 122-154.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:27:y:2008:i:1:p:122-154 DOI: 10.1002/pam.20310
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William T. Gormley Jr., 2007. "Early childhood care and education: Lessons and puzzles," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 633-671.
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    5. Douglas J. Besharov & Caeli A. Higney, 2007. "Head start: Mend it, don't expand it (yet)," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 678-681.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cascio, Elizabeth U., 2017. "Does Universal Preschool Hit the Target? Program Access and Preschool Impacts," IZA Discussion Papers 10596, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Miller, Luke C. & Galdo, Eva, 2016. "The effects of universal state pre-kindergarten on the child care sector: The case of Florida's voluntary pre-kindergarten programAuthor-Name: Bassok, Daphna," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 87-98.
    3. Jose Rosero & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2011. "Trade-offs between Different Early Childhood Interventions: Evidence from Ecuador," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-102/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Kai Hong & Kacie Dragan & Sherry Glied, 2017. "Seeing and Hearing: The Impacts of New York City’s Universal Prekindergarten Program on the Health of Low-Income Children," NBER Working Papers 23297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Greg J. Duncan & Aaron J. Sojourner, 2013. "Can Intensive Early Childhood Intervention Programs Eliminate Income-Based Cognitive and Achievement Gaps?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(4), pages 945-968.
    6. Neidell, Matthew & Waldfogel, Jane, 2009. "Program participation of immigrant children: Evidence from the local availability of Head Start," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 704-715, December.
    7. Herbst, Chris M., 2013. "The impact of non-parental child care on child development: Evidence from the summer participation “dip”," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 86-105.
    8. Magnuson, Katherine & Shager, Hilary, 2010. "Early education: Progress and promise for children from low-income families," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1186-1198, September.
    9. Virginia Knechtel & Thomas Coen & Pia Caronongan & Nickie Fung & Lisbeth Goble, "undated". "Pre-Kindergarten Impacts Over Time: An Analysis of KIPP Charter Schools," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 252c4c955f4c48d699d7acc89, Mathematica Policy Research.
    10. Chloe Gibbs & Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2011. "Does Head Start Do Any Lasting Good?," NBER Working Papers 17452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jane Waldfogel, 2015. "The role of preschool in reducing inequality," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 219-219, December.
    12. Esping-Andersen, Gosta & Garfinkel, Irwin & Han, Wen-Jui & Magnuson, Katherine & Wagner, Sander & Waldfogel, Jane, 2012. "Child care and school performance in Denmark and the United States," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 576-589.
    13. Timothy J. Bartik, 2013. "Effects of the Pre-K Program of Kalamazoo County Ready 4s on Kindergarten Entry Test Scores: Estimates Based on Data from the Fall of 2011 and the Fall of 2012," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 13-198, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    14. Greg J. Duncan & Jens Ludwig & Katherine A. Magnuson, 2010. "Child Development," NBER Chapters,in: Targeting Investments in Children: Fighting Poverty When Resources are Limited, pages 27-58 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. repec:eee:cysrev:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:620-630 is not listed on IDEAS

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