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Research Report

The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects

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A Pre-Kindergarten Task Force of interdisciplinary scientists reviewed the evidence on the impact of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs, and what research can tell us about what works and what doesn’t. Among their key findings is that while all kids benefit from preschool, poor and disadvantaged kids often make the most gains. Children who are dual-language learners show relatively large benefits from pre-K education — both in their English-language proficiency and in other academic skills. Part of what may render a pre-K classroom advantageous for a poor student or a child learning English is the value of being immersed among a diverse array of classmates. Not all preschool programs are alike; features that may lead to success include a well implemented, evidence-based curriculum and an emphasis on the quality and continuous training of pre-K teachers.


Deborah A. Phillips, Mark W. Lipsey, Kenneth A. Dodge, Ron Haskins, Daphna Bassok, Margaret R. Burchinal, Greg J. Duncan, Mark Dynarski, Katherine A. Magnuson, and Christina Weiland (April 20, 2017). The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects. Brooking Institution and the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy.

Related topics

Preschool and Child Care