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Estimating the Relationship Between Preschool Attendance and Executive Function in Elementary School

Mon, April 12, 2:50 to 4:20pm EDT (2:50 to 4:20pm EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Early Education and Child Development Paper and Symposium Sessions


This study examines the extent to which preschool attendance is associated with the development of students’ executive function skills in elementary school using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11. I use regression models with saturated controls, fixed effects, and entropy balancing weights to estimate the relationship between center-based preschool attendance and executive function skills throughout elementary school.
Findings suggest that students who attend Pre-K in the year prior to kindergarten entry begin kindergarten with higher executive function skills, on average, than students who do not attend Pre-K. However, the benefits fade by the time students enter the third grade. I conclude with a discussion of implications for policy, practice, and future research.