WWC review of this study

The Effects of Enrolling in Oversubscribed Prekindergarten Programs through Third Grade

Weiland, C., Unterman, R., Shapiro, A., Staszak, S., Rochester, S., & Martin, E. (2019). Child Development, (00)0, 1–22. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED605893

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    2,536
     Students
    , grades
    PK-3

Reviewed: November 2022

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
General Literacy Achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) - ELA Score

Boston Public Schools prekindergarten program vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Students with observed baseline and outcome data;
2,536 students

0.41

0.49

No

--
General Mathematics Achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) - Math Score

Boston Public Schools prekindergarten program vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Students with observed baseline and outcome data;
2,536 students

0.36

0.47

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 52%
    Male: 48%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
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    Massachusetts
  • Race
    Asian
    9%
    Black
    24%
    Other or unknown
    42%
    White
    26%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    38%
    Other or unknown    
    62%
  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    Free or reduced price lunch (FRPL)    
    61%
    No FRPL    
    39%

Setting

The study took place in public prekindergarten classrooms located within the Boston Public Schools.

Study sample

The Boston Public Schools used lotteries to randomly assign 1,101 children to the intervention group and 2,081 children to the comparison group. All children in the city could apply to be included in the lotteries. A total of 2,536 children were included in the study. The study examined four cohorts of students who applied to the program in between the 2007–2008 and 2010–2011 school years during which a total of 12,740 families applied to the program. Approximately 48% of students were male and 61% were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Twenty-six percent of the students were White, 24% were Black, 9% were Asian, and 42% did not report race. Thirty-eight percent were Hispanic or Latino and 62% did not report ethnicity.

Intervention Group

Students in the intervention group were offered admission to the Boston Public Prekindergarten program at the school of their choice. The Boston Public Prekindergarten program operated by Boston Public Schools aims to prepare 4-year-old children for school. The pre-kindergarten classes were located within the public schools. The program employs a curricula and coaching system focused on children’s early language, literacy, numeracy, and social skills. Specifically, the program used branded curricula called Opening the World of Learning and Building Blocks. To teach in the program, teachers must satisfy the same educational requirements as K–12 teachers. The program lasts for an entire school year and is open to any child in the city.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group were not offered admission to the Boston Public Prekindergarten program at their first-choice school and instead attended a range of other preschool programs. Seventy-two percent of the comparison students attended the Boston Public Prekindergarten program at a school that was not their first-choice school. Twenty-four percent attended another center-based preschool, such as a private preschool, Head Start, or other public- or charter-operated preschool. The remaining 3 percent of students attended a family day care or remained at home.

Support for implementation

In the 2007–2008 and 2008–2009 school years, teachers were supported in implementing the curricula with trainings and coaching. They received weekly to biweekly support on-site from an early childhood coach who was trained in the curricula. After these 2 years, only new teachers and teachers in schools undergoing the National Association for the Education of Young Children Accreditation process received the coaching.

 

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