Effect Of Pre Kindergarten On Academic Achievement Education Essay

Published:

The academic worthiness of pre-kindergarten, when considering the financial cost has been a subject of debate. Supporters of pre-kindergarten point to the positive academic impact the program can have for minority and lower socio-economic status children. Research has confirmed that providing high-quality early childhood education services to economically disadvantaged students will have significant benefit in preparing them for kindergarten (Gormley & Phillips, 2005). Opponents of pre-kindergarten can point to research that states pre-kindergarten has only short term and limited positive effect. By the spring of first grade the positive effects on academic skills have largely dissipated (Magnuson, Ruhm, & Waldfogel, 2007).

The cost of pre-kindergarten requires a substantial financial investment by school districts. In the United States billions of dollars are spent on pre-kindergarten programs. (Barnett, 2008) School districts in New York can receive State funds to supplement the cost of pre-kindergarten programs.  However the majority of pre-kindergarten age children in New York are not in pre-kindergarten programs. The additional financial outlay and skepticism of the benefit of pre-kindergarten preclude districts from having pre-kindergarten programs. (National Institute for Early Education Research, 2012)

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

Professional

Essay Writers

Lady Using Tablet

Get your grade
or your money back

using our Essay Writing Service!

Essay Writing Service

This study will be a longitudinal examination of the academic benefit of pre-kindergarten education. The data for this study will come from the Westbury school district that has had a full day pre-kindergarten program since the 2008-2009 school year. and a half-day pre-kindergarten program from the 2005-2006 school year to 2008. Given the collective lower socio-economic status (SES) of the families of the district, 86% of the students receive free or reduce lunch; if pre-kindergarten age students of the district did not attend the free district pre-kindergarten program they most likely did not begin formal education until kindergarten. It is certain that they did not attend the Westbury pre-kindergarten program.

Three assessments will be used as the dependent variable in the study: Running Records in reading for grades kindergarten and first, i-Ready in reading amd mathematics for grades two and three, ; and Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)for reading and mathematics for grades four and five.

This longitudinal study will investigate the following research questions:

Does pre-kindergarten enrollment increase school readiness at kindergarten entry?

If so, do the academic effects persist until first to sixth grade?

For each hypothesis an ANOVA will measure the mean of students who attended pre-kindergarten in the Westbury to students who did not attend pre-kindergarten in the Westbury school district. ANOVAs will be used to determine what impact, if any, the following variables have on the results:

Ethnicity

Socio-economic status

Limited English proficiency.

The researcher hopes this study will produce information to help micro and macro decisions about the efficacy of providing pre-kindergarten education, and resource allocation within the target district. and the findings will also provide inferential information that can be related to other districts and the larger population. Determining the impact of pre-kindergarten on future school achievement will help educational administrators, politicians and communities make informed decisions about regarding pre-kindergarten programs.

Introduction

Federal support for pre-kindergarten programs increased considerably in1994 with the enactment of Public Law 103-227 more commonly known as Goals 2000: Educate America Act. The law stated in part, "SCHOOL READINESS-(A) By the year 2000, all children in America will start school ready to learn." The first objective of the law is that "all children will have access to high-quality and developmentally appropriate preschool programs that help prepare children for school" (103d Congress, 1994). In 2002 Public Law 107-110, more commonly known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was enacted which states in part that preschool aged children should have access to "early childhood and family programs that emphasize school readiness". (107th Congress, 2002).

Since that time, cuts in education spending and changing priorities within the Department of Education and state education agencies have resulted in reduced support for pre-kindergarten programs. Some research studies, primarily focused on students enrolled in Head Start programs, also reported equivocal long-term academic benefits for pre-kindergarten programs (e.g. Colarusso, 1980). Other studies found prekindergarten programs to be beneficial (e.g., Gormley & Phillips, 2002).

The present study will be a longitudinal examination of the academic benefit of pre-kindergarten education. In the 2004-2005 school year the Westbury school district, began using a student information system called Infinite Campus. Since the implementation of Infinite Campus there is reliable data on which students did and did not attend the district's pre-kindergarten program. From 2004 to 2007 the Pre-kindergarten program was a half a day program. In September of 2008 the program became a full day program. To be eligible for enrollment in the pre-kindergarten program, a child must be 4 years of age on September 1 of that school year. The maximum number of students allowed in the district's pre-kindergarten program, full or half day, is 306.  Approximately 100 to 150 students are turned away each year.  Over the years a lottery system or a first come first serve model has been used for students to gain enter into the district's pre-kindergarten program.

  

The Purpose of the Study

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

Comprehensive

Writing Services

Lady Using Tablet

Plagiarism-free
Always on Time

Marked to Standard

Order Now

The purpose of this study is to determine whether there is a significant difference in academic achievement of students who did and did not attend a pre-kindergarten program. There are two research questions that will be addressed in the study:

Does pre-kindergarten enrollment increase school readiness at kindergarten entry?

If so, do the academic effects persist from first to sixth grade?

The findings of this study will add to the research supporting or rejecting the beliefs that pre-kindergarten has long term benefit on academic achievement. Determining the effects of pre­kindergarten on future success will aid decision makers when deciding to expand, reduce or pre-kindergarten programs.

The Significance/Importance of the Study

The achievement gap among economically disadvantaged and other groups is evidenced by student performance on New York state assessments. A review of the data shows that the economic disadvantaged group is lagging behind in student achievement. (New York State Education Department, 2011) One reason is that many of the students entering kindergarten are coming in with a deficit. One of the interventions that can be provided is a quality pre-kindergarten program. (New York Department of Education, 2011) This study will assist in determining the impact of pre-kindergarten programs on student achievement.

Relevant Research/Scholarship

In 2007 Katherine A. Magnuson an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Christopher J. Ruhm a Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the University of Virginia; and Jane Waldfogel Professor of Social Work and Public Affairs at Columbia University did a study entitled "Does prekindergarten improve school preparation and performance?" Their study appeared in the journal 'Science Direct' (Magnuson, Ruhm, & Waldfogel, 2007).

The purposes of the study was to measure the effects of early education on school readiness and behavior at kindergarten entry; if the effects persist over time or quickly dissipate; if the results differ for children SES families'; and examine the effect of different types of early education programs.

The participants in the study were 10,224 children attending kindergarten in the fall of 1998 nationwide. All participants were administrated the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K fall) of 1998 (kindergarten) and spring of 2000 (for most children, first grade). The author's used historical data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The data for reading and math skills came from fall of 1998 (kindergarten) academic and behavior scores on the ECLS-K were compared scores in spring of 2000 (for most children, first grade) for the same categories. Teacher reports measured students externalizing behavior and self-control. Externalizing problem behavior measured on a five-item scale which included student fighting, arguing, anger, acting impulsively, or disturbing ongoing activities. Self-control referred to four items; respect for the property of others, control of temper, accepts peer ideas for group activities, and proper response to peer pressure. Parental responses were used to classify children as having attended pre-kindergarten program, other types of center-based care, Head Start, or other non-parental care. One of the limitations that the authors point out is that they could not "determine how parents distinguish between types of programs and [some degree of] misclassification" most likely did occur.

Pre-kindergarten is associated with higher reading and mathematics skills and positive externalizing behavior at school entry but also higher negative levels of self-control behavior problems. The p-value was significant at the 0.01 level for reading (1.82), math (1.66), externalizing (1.88) and self-control (-1.17). By the spring of first grade, the positive effects on externalizing are still strong; however effects on academic skills have largely dissipated; and negative self-control persist. The p-value for was significant at the 0.01for externalizing (1.88) and for poor self-control (-1.31); the p-value was not significant at the 0.05 level for reading (0.27) or math (0.28).

Larger and longer lasting associations with academic gains are found for disadvantaged children. By the spring of first grade children on welfare had p-values significant at the 0.05 and 0.01 for math and externalizing respectively above 0.05 for both reading and self-control - reading (1.88), math (2.00), self-control (-1.37) and externalizing (4.15).

The greatest enhancements were found for students of lower incomes levels in public school prekindergarten. However universal approach to prekindergarten has "the political advantages of widespread public support and concerns about equity of access across racial and economic lines (Wolfe & Scrivener, 2003)" (Gormley & Phillips, 2005)

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

This Essay is

a Student's Work

Lady Using Tablet

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Examples of our work

In March of 2002 Shirley P. Andrews from Valdosta State University and John R. Slate from University of Texas at El Paso co-authored a study entitled, "Public and private prekindergarten programs: A comparison of student readiness". Their study appeared in Educational Research Quarterly.

The participants in the study were children in the state of Georgia who met the following criteria:

Enrolled in Kindergarten in the state of Georgia during the 1997 - 1998 school year

Attended prekindergarten, public or private, during the 1996 - 1997 school year.

The dependent variable in the study was Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS).

695 students met the criteria needed for inclusion in the quantitative sample. Of the 695 participants, 471 attended lottery-funded public school prekindergarten programs and 224 attended lottery-funded private prekindergarten programs during the 1996-1997 school. In relation to geographic location, 511 participants attended lottery-funded prekindergarten programs in urban areas, and 184 participants attended lottery-funded prekindergarten programs in rural areas. Of the participants who attended prekindergarten programs in urban areas, 300 attended lottery-funded public school prekindergarten programs and 211 attended lottery-funded private prekindergarten programs. One-hundred­ seventy-one participants attended lottery-funded public school prekindergarten programs in rural areas and only 13 participants attended lottery-funded private prekindergarten programs in rural locations (Andrews & Slate, 2002).

With the ITBS as the dependent variable and Pre-kindergarten program type, geographic location, gender and ethnicity were used as independent variables; the research method used was multivariate Analysis of Variance. A statistical significant difference was only found for the ethnicity independent variable. Caucasian students scored statistical significantly higher than Blacks students. Authors point out however the effect size was small and the difference may be due to different SES of the two ethnic groups. The authors did not have access to the SES of the participants. The table below does illustrate nationwide that Black and Hispanic families' median income trails White families. The study found no statistical significant difference for the other three independent variables of prekindergarten type, geographic location or gender.

Table Median Income by Ethnicity

(United States Census, 2012)

The implications for study are that students are equally well served in public and private pre-kindergarten education settings. Public school education is often more expensive than private school pre-kindergarten due to the cost of the teaching staff. The study is also in alignment with the research of Magnuson et al. suggesting that a wiser academic and economic choice for government pre-kindergarten funds would be to target them to lower SES families. (Magnuson, Ruhm, & Waldfogel, 2007) (Andrews & Slate, 2002) Universal pre-kindergarten funds are now allotted to districts without regard to socioeconomic status (SES).

In February of 2005 William T. Gormley Jr. and Deborah Phillips of Georgetown University co-authored a study that appeared in the Policy Studies Journal. The name of the study is "The Effects of Universal pre-kindergarten in Oklahoma: Research Highlights and Policy Implications". Their study also found that pre-kindergarten has the greatest positive effect on students from lower SES families.

The purpose of the study was to find if the Oklahoma pre-kindergarten program enhances the development of students. The participants in the study were pre-kindergarten students and kindergarten students in the Tulsa Public School District (TPS) in the 2001 - 2002 school year who were given the Early Childhood Skills Inventory (ECSI). The ECSI tests four categories social/emotional, cognitive, motor skills and language. "Approximately 76% of the district's 1,690 pre-K students (1,284) and approximately 66% of the district's 3,441 kindergarten students (2,276) were tested, yielding a total sample size of 3,560 children. " (Gormley & Phillips, 2005) Students attended full or half day pre-Kindergarten. Students in Kindergarten and pre-kindergarten were administrated the same test. Below is a chart from the study of the ethnic breakdown of the participants.

.

Table Racial and Ethnic Composition of Tulsa School System 2001-2002

Group

ProportionofStudentBody

White

43%

Black

35%

Hispanic

12%

NativeAmerican

9%

Asian

1%

The research methodologies employed by the authors were use of experimental groups and control groups as the independent variables and the ECSI as the dependent variables. All participants in the experimental groups were in Kindergarten in the 2001-02 school year. All participants in the control groups were in pre-Kindergarten in the 2001-02 school year. The authors disaggregated the data from the groups by ethnicity, income and full day pre-kindergarten v half day pre-kindergarten.

The main finding of the study was that overall pre-Kindergarten "has positive effects for children." On the whole language and cognitive skills accounted for most of the gains. There were smaller gains in motor skills and no statistically significant gain in social emotional for any ethnic group. Hispanic students saw the largest benefit from pre-Kindergarten, followed by Black students. However, White students show no statistically significant gain in the study. Relative to other groups Hispanic showed very large gains in both cognitive and language skills 53.6% and 58.6% respectively. Black students' gains were in cognitive and language skills as well 28.1% and 15.2% respectively. The authors used free and reduced lunch status to categorize students' SES. Students who paid full price for lunch did not show any statistically significant gains in any skill measured by the ECSI. Students who received reduced price lunch did show significant gain in one category - language with a 34.7% increase. Students who received free lunch showed significant gain in cognitive (31.2%), motor (15.4%) and language skills (18.4%). Interestingly free lunch students show a significant decrease of 9.0% in the area of social/emotional. Significant gains were only found in the full day pre-kindergarten program and not in half day program.

The implication of this study could be to inform investment in targeted or universal pre-kindergarten programs. Hispanic, Black and students in poverty were shown to benefit the most from full day pre-kindergarten programs. White and non-poverty students showed no significant benefit from pre-kindergarten. However the testing instrument could be limited and not able to show grow for students who enter school better prepared for school. Also the universal approach has "the political advantages of widespread public support and concerns about equity of access across racial and economic lines (Wolfe & Scrivener, 2003)" (Gormley & Phillips, 2005).

In the Spring of 2006 Gary T. Henry, Craig S. Gordan and Dana K. Rickman of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Geogia State University had their study entitled "Early Education Policy Alternatives: Comparing Quality and Outcomes of Head Start and State Prekindergarten" appear in 'Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis'.

The study compared federally funded Head Start programs with state subsidized pre-kindergarten programs in the State of Georgia. The comparison was needed due to the lack of directly comparable information on the quality and outcomes of Head Start and pre-kindergarten programs. The participants were 106 students that attended Head Start and 201 students that attended pre-kindergarten in Georgia in the 2001-02 school year. Data was collected on child and family characteristics, teaching and practices, teacher attitudes and classroom quality. The instruments used to collect the data were direct assessments, teacher surveys, and teacher rating forms, parent surveys and classroom observations conducted by the researchers. For the direct assessment, the students were assessed by trained assessors in the fall and spring of their preschool year. The assessments used were Woodcock Johnson Test of Achievement III; Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III; Expressive language: Oral and Written Language Scales; Sound matching: comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing; Elision: comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing.

The main finding was students attending state pre-kindergarten program scored higher than the students who attend Head Start on five of the six assessments.

The implications of this study are that students that attend state pre-kindergarten programs have higher academic outcomes after one year instruction when compared to students who attend Head Start. This may have a direct correlation to the higher level of certification required of the teachers by the state system. The results are sufficient to encourage additional quasi-experiments in which the coverage, outcomes, quality and costs of Head Start compared with state pre-kindergarten programs. (Henry, Gordon, & Rickman, 2006)

In a similar study scores obtained for the Metropolitan Readiness Test (MRT) were used to study four groups of kindergarten students with different pre-kindergarten experiences. Kindergarten students with no pre-kindergarten experience were also included in the sample. Students who had attended a private pre-kindergarten program scored higher on the MRT than did students from the comparison groups. (Carthum, 1987)

Research of the Houston School Districts pre-kindergarten was conduct for the 2010-2011 school year. The district compared the math and reading scores of kindergarten students who attended pre-kindergarten to those who did not. The research also took students SES status in to account. Of the 16,644 kindergarten students in 2010-2011, 68 percent (11,400) had been enrolled in a district pre-kindergarten program the prior year. Overall, students who attended pre-kindergarten in the district were more likely to be Hispanic, limited English proficient (LEP), economically disadvantaged, at-risk, bilingual, and classified as Title I when compared to students who did not attend prekindergarten in the district. Students who were not lower SES and did not attend pre-kindergarten in the district out performed students who did attend pre-kindergarten in the district. However, lower SES students who did attend pre-kindergarten in the district out performed lower SES students who did not attend pre-kindergarten in the district (Houston Independent School District, 2011).

Figure Mean Stanford scores for Houston Independent School District

Mean Stanford scores for HISD kindergarten students who were enrolled in HISD prekindergarten the previous year and comparison groups, 2010-2011.

The nation's minority population reached 100.7 million in 2007; a year earlier, the minority population totaled 98.3; this reflects a growth of 1.7 million in one year (U.S. Census Bureau). Among the minority population, Hispanics have become the fastest and largest growing minority in the U.S. In July 2006, there were a total of 44.3 million, 14.8% of the total population (U.S. Census Bureau). The age distribution and growth of the Hispanic population have critical implications for the present and future of political, economics, and educational policy, particularly for early childhood education (Collins, 2004). In general, the number of Hispanic children in proportion to all children has been increasing more rapidly than the number of non-Hispanic children. These trends are accounted by the large number of Hispanic women of childbearing age and also by the number of immigrants arriving in the United States (Collins, 2004). In 2003, Hispanic children under the age of 5 amounted to 4.2 million or 21% of the total of 19.8 million children in that age range (U.S. Census Bureau).

Hispanic children, on average, have greater risk factors (lower socio-economic status, single parent homes, low parent education level, limited English language proficiency, etc.) than whites; therefore, they are generally at greater risk for academic underachievement. These facts suggest that interventions like pre-kindergarten would be of benefit to Hispanic children. (Garcia E., 2006)

Young Hispanic children make up a pressing demographic imperative. Between the 1960s and 2000, the Hispanic population grew from 6.9 to 35.3 million. It is projected that there will be about 101 million Hispanics in the United States by 2050, which would be approximately one-quarter of the nation's population (Capp, Fix, Passel, Ost, & Perez-Lopez, 2003)

Figure LEP and Educational Attainment

Status by Educational Attainment among Foreign-born Workers, 2000

Hispanic children under the age of five are less likely to be enrolled in early childhood programs than any other major racial minority groups. Although there has been progress in the number of students in these programs, there are still underserved in Head Start and pre -kindergarten programs. Among the barriers for under representation that are mentioned are (a) language barriers with program operators, (b) inadequate supply of affordable pre-kindergarten programs or slots in Hispanic communities, and (c) lack of information on availability of early childhood programs (Garcia E., 2006) (Collins, 2004)

In 2001 Walter S. Gillam and Edward F. Zigler of Yale University's Child Study Center co-authored a study entitled "A critical meta-analysis of all evaluations of state-funded preschool from 1977 to 1998: Implications for policy, service delivery and program evaluation". Their study was published in the 'Early childhood Research Quarterly'.

The study was a large scale evaluation of state funded pre-kindergarten programs.  These evaluations compared outcomes from different States and the use of different instruments and measures of student achievement.

The participants in the study came from thirteen state funded pre-kindergarten programs.   The researchers send out surveys to all states that had state-funded pre-kindergarten programs.  There were 32 states, plus the District of Columbia with state-funded preschool programs for low-income children. Of the 33 preschool programs identified thirteen were suitable for this study.

The research method was to use multiple surveys.  All reports were thoroughly reviewed by the researchers.  For the purposes of summarizing the findings, all statistical comparisons with p < .05 were considered significant. Researchers used data gathered on children's developmental competence for their study. Evaluation results were reported for assessments that evaluated social, self-help, motor, language, cognitive, and academic or literacy skills.

Statistical significant impacts were mostly limited to kindergarten and first grade. The implications for the study are that high quality pre-kindergarten programs have a significant positive impact on the school readiness of low income students when they enter kindergarten.  However this impact fades in later grades.  Students who have not had the benefit of pre-kindergarten appear to close the gap by second grade when compared to their peers who have had the benefit of the pre-kindergarten (Gilliam & Z igler, 2001).

Summary of Research

Most agreed that pre-kindergarten education provided benefits in readiness for kindergarten. However, there is contrary research and opinion to whether the effects last beyond the first grade. Pre-kindergarten has shown the greatest benefit for students from lower socioeconomic status. Many Children from lower SES families enter kindergarten or first grade without quality experiences to assist in their school readiness. Most Students from high and middle SES homes enter kindergarten or first grade having had extensive and high-quality school readiness experiences.

Targeting government pre-kindergarten dollars to students from lower SES families would have the greatest academic benefit. However even the benefit for these students may fade by the time they enter the second grade.

Research Questions

The research questions that will be addressed in the study are: (a) does pre-kindergarten enrollment increase school readiness at kindergarten entry? And (b) if so, do the academic effects persist in first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades?

Definition of Terms

The following terms are defined in order to provide clarity for the context in which they will be used:

Adequate Yearly Progress Subgroups:

This term refers to the categories defined by the U.S. federal No Child Left Behind Act for the following subgroups: ethnicity (Black, White, Hispanic, Native American, Asian Pacific Islander), Economically Disadvantaged Students, Limited English Proficient Students, Students with Disabilities. (New York State Education Department, 2011)

Economically Disadvantaged:

This term refers to students who are eligible for free or reduced price meals under the National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Program and based on being from a family with an annual income at or below the official federal poverty line.

Limited English Proficiency Status (LEP):

Are pupils who by reason of foreign birth or ancestry, speak a language other than English, and (1) either understand and speak little or no English; or (2) score below a state designated level of proficiency, on the Language Assessment Battery-Revised (LAB-R) or the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT). (New York State Educational Department)

No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB):

NCLB was enacted by Congress in 2001 as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act first enacted in 1965. This federal legislation emphasizes state and school accountability for student progress and includes mandated standardized assessments in grades 3-8, teacher qualifications and public access to school data as important components (107th Congress, 2002)

Pre-Kindergarten:

This is the school year immediately preceding kindergarten.

Pre-kindergarten Student

This term identifies students who participated in a district's pre-Kindergarten program. Students are eligible for the program if they live in the Westbury school district and are 4 years of age by September 1st of the school year.

Socio-Economic Status (SES):

Sociological classification is the relationship between someone's relative wealth and that person's social status.  Economically disadvantaged families are consider lower SES in this study.

Reading Readiness:

This term refers to an accomplishment of pre-readiness skills, phonological awareness and letter-sound understanding, that are presumed to be the pre-requisite for formal reading instruction in school (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1988)

.

Methods

Hypotheses

There will be no significant difference in the academic achievement of students entering kindergarten who did attend a pre-kindergarten program versus students who did not attend a pre-kindergarten program.

There will be no positive significant difference in the academic achievement of students currently in first through sixth grade who did attend a pre-kindergarten program versus students who did not attend a pre-kindergarten program.

Research Design and Data Analysis

A causal-comparative (ex post facto) design will be used, as the data are already available within the district database.  An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) will be used for data analysis to test for the differences of mean scores of the dependent variables of each hypothesis. The sample were not randomly selected or assigned.  The researcher will use historical data. The design is non-experiment.  However the researcher hopes the large sample size will increase the statistical power to detect a relationship between the DV and IV if one exists.

Participants

The participants of the study are Westbury UFSD students in April of 2012 in grades kindergarten through the sixth grade. In an effort to limit extraneous variables, students will have to have attended the Westbury School District since Kindergarten or earlier to be included in the study.  No students entering the Westbury school district in grades one or higher will be included. Due to the social economic status of the community, with 86% receiving free and reduced lunch, it is highly likely that if pre-kindergarten age students do not attend the free Westbury pre-kindergarten program it is likely they did not begin formal education until kindergarten.  Hence, the researcher is making the assumption that nearly all students who did not begin school until kindergarten at the Westbury school district did not attend a pre-kindergarten program.  These factors the researcher believes will allow the proposed study to measure the academic benefit of the Westbury school district pre-kindergarten program.  

Instruments

  The instrument used to measure academic outcomes will vary depending on the grade the students are currently enrolled.  For all students in the Westbury school district in kindergarten and first grade the researcher will use the student's "running records" score.  Running records is an assessment tool used to monitor and analyze a student's reading. Running records are a quick assessment tool used by teachers to evaluate students' reading and comprehension.  They are used to help find students' reading levels, check their fluency, and find weaknesses in comprehension.  Running records are done one-on-one with students.  They take only a few minutes to administer.

 For all students in grades two and three in the Westbury school district the researcher will use scores from I-Ready.  I-Ready assesses the students in reading, mathematics and high frequency words.  The assessments are taken on a computer.  The difficulty of each question is based on how well the student answers the previous questions up to that point.  If the student answers correctly, the questions become more difficult.  If the student answers incorrectly, the questions become easier.

For all students in grades 4 through 6 in the Westbury school district the researcher will use scores from NWEA.  NWEA is similar to I-Ready. NWEA assesses the students in reading, mathematics and high frequency words.  The assessments are taken on a computer.  The difficulty of each question is based on how well the student answers the previous

Procedure

The research will use data from the current student management system "Infinite Campus" (IC).  The data in IC can tell which students currently in grades k- 6 attended pre-kindergarten in the district.  The primary independent variable for the study will be pre-kindergarten broken into two levels (students who attended pre-kindergarten in the district and students who did not attended pre-kindergarten in the district).

The researcher will use an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) to compare the means of students who attended and did not attend pre-kindergarten for grades kindergarten through sixth.  The sample size will be approximately 250 students per grade.

Limitations

Threats to Internal Validity

The limitation of the study is if a student did not attend pre-kindergarten in the Westbury UFSD it cannot be known for certain they did not attend pre-k in another school district or participate in a Head Start or other Early Childhood program prior to enrolling in Kindergarten. In addition it was not known whether or not students are receiving tutoring or other academic assistance beyond the regular school day.

Only academic achievement as measured by standardized assessments

No control for variation in educational programming across schools and classrooms within the district

Threats to external validity……. [one geographic area with specific demographics]