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The Effects of Texas's Targeted Pre-Kindergarten Program on Academic Performance

  • Rodney J. Andrews
  • Paul Jargowsky
  • Kristin Kuhne
Registered author(s):

    There has been a resurgence in research that investigates the efficacy of early investments as a means of reducing gaps in academic performance. However, the strongest evidence for these effects comes from experimental evaluations of small, highly enriched programs. We add to this literature by assessing the extent to which a large-scale public program, Texas's targeted pre-Kindergarten (pre-K), affects scores on math and reading achievement tests, the likelihood of being retained in grade, and the probability that a student receives special education services. We find that having participated in Texas's targeted pre-K program is associated with increased scores on the math and reading sections of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), reductions in the likelihood of being retained in grade, and reductions in the probability of receiving special education services. We also find that participating pre-K increases mathematics scores for students who take the Spanish version of the TAAS tests. These results show that even modest, public pre-K program implemented at scale can have important effects on students educational achievement

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18598.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18598
    Note: LS
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    1. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1996. "Does Head Start Help Hispanic Children?," NBER Working Papers 5805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. James J. Heckman & Seong Hyeok Moon & Rodrigo Pinto & Peter A. Savelyev & Adam Yavitz, 2009. "The Rate of Return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program," Working Papers 200936, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    3. James J. Heckman & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children," NBER Working Papers 13016, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. David Deming, 2009. "Early Childhood Intervention and Life-Cycle Skill Development: Evidence from Head Start," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 111-34, July.
    5. Fitzpatrick Maria D, 2008. "Starting School at Four: The Effect of Universal Pre-Kindergarten on Children's Academic Achievement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-40, November.
    6. Currie, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Does Head Start make a Difference?," Papers 95-10, RAND - Reprint Series.
    7. Eliana Garces & Duncan Thomas & Janet Currie, 2000. "Longer Term Effects of Head Start," Working Papers 00-20, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
    8. Anderson, Michael L., 2008. "Multiple Inference and Gender Differences in the Effects of Early Intervention: A Reevaluation of the Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(484), pages 1481-1495.
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