The persistence of reading and math proficiency: the benefits of Alabama’s pre-kindergarten program endure in elementary and middle school

Preskitt, J., Johnson, H., Becker, D. et al. The persistence of reading and math proficiency: the benefits of Alabama’s pre-kindergarten program endure in elementary and middle school. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy 14, 8 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40723-020-00073-3

Preschool programs provide opportunities to improve early childhood educational outcomes as well as long-term outcomes, such as improved educational attainment, improved socioeconomic status, and improved health in adulthood. However, recent studies of long-term impacts have shown equivocal results, with some educational gains occurring immediately following participation in preschool that diminish or “fadeout” over time. The purpose of this study was to use multivariable linear regression and school fixed effects to determine the impact of Alabama’s First Class Pre-K (FCPK) program on reading and math proficiency as children progress from 3rd grade to 7th grade. Results indicate that children who received FCPK were statistically significantly more likely to be proficient in both math and reading compared to students who did not receive FCPK. Further, there was no statistical evidence of fadeout of the benefits of FCPK through the 7th grade, indicating the persistence of the benefits of FCPK into middle school.

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