|Sustaining Pre-K Gains Into Elementary School: Exploring the Role of School-Based Pre-K in Equity, Continuity, and Collaboration
|North Carolina State University
|Early Learning Programs and Policies [Program Details]
|2 years (07/01/2022 – 06/30/2024)
Co-Principal Investigators: Cohen-Vogel, Lora; Gottfried, Michael
Purpose: High-quality pre-kindergarten (pre-k) programs increase school readiness and later academic, behavioral, and social outcomes, particularly among students from minoritized and marginalized groups. However, the initial benefits of pre-k do not reliably persist as children progress through elementary school. The purpose of this project is to explore school-based pre-k and the role it plays in promoting vertical alignment and sustaining student pre-k gains on a holistic range of outcomes (e.g., achievement, executive function, absenteeism) for different groups of students from kindergarten through fifth grade. Information about associations between the settings in which students attend pre-k and their later outcomes will have implications for early childhood and elementary school policies and practices.
Project Activities: The research team will conduct exploratory secondary data analysis with data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011). The team will carry out three separate studies during the project. Study 1 asks: Who attends school-based pre-k? Study Two asks: What is the association between school-based pre-k attendance and student outcomes in kindergarten through fifth grade? Study Three asks: What factors moderate the association between school-based pre-k attendance and student outcomes in kindergarten through fifth grade? In each study, the researchers will examine how enrollment in school-based pre-k or the association with student outcomes may vary between student subgroups, including race/ethnicity, SES, disability, gender, and ELL status.
Products: The primary product of this project will be a set of studies, reports, and briefs on the topic of school-based pre-k in the United States. The team will also generate a video and podcast summarizing the key project findings. The aim of the project's dissemination plan is to ensure that these products reach educational researchers, policymakers, and practitioners.
Setting: A nationally representative sample of students attending elementary schools in the United States. School-based pre-k refers to formal pre-k programs that are located inside of elementary school buildings as opposed to stand-alone preschool centers.
Sample: A nationally representative cohort of children who entered kindergarten in the 2010–11 academic school year. The sample was followed for six years, when most of the students were in the fifth grade.
Factors:The project will examine malleable factors related to school- based pre-k and its student and school correlates in elementary school. These factors include school-based pre-k, enrollment patterns from school-based pre-k into elementary school, teacher collaboration, principal leadership, kindergarten transition practices, and structural features of the early grades (i.e., full day kindergarten and class size).
Research Design and Methods: The researchers will analyze data from the nationally-representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011). The ECLSK: 2011 provides the most up-to-date information on the location of pre-k programs, students' attendance patterns, measures of subsequent school environments, and a holistic set of outcome measures (kindergarten through fifth grade). The research team will conduct descriptive and exploratory secondary data analysis to examine associations between school-based pre-k attendance and student outcomes in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Control Condition: This is an exploratory study. There is no control condition.
Key Measures: Student-level measures include measures of pre-k attendance, location, student outcomes (e.g., achievement, executive function, social emotional learning), and background characteristics (e.g., SES, race/ethnicity, language spoken at home). School-level moderating variables include measures of teacher collaboration, principal leadership, kindergarten transition practices, and structural features of the early grades (i.e., full-day kindergarten, class size).
Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will begin their study with simple summary statistics and tests of mean differences to describe the phenomenon of school-based pre-k in the United States. They will then examine the association between school-based pre-k and student outcomes in elementary school using OLS regression models with saturated controls and fixed effects.