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3-150 - Promoting School Readiness in Low-Income Children: Evaluations of Preschool Expansion Grants in Three States

Sat, March 23, 12:45 to 2:15pm, Hilton Baltimore, Floor: Level 2, Key 11

Session Type: Paper Symposium

Integrative Statement

Multiple studies have documented the early emergence of the achievement gap between children from low- and middle-income backgrounds (see Reardon, 2011). Although substantial evidence exists of the benefits of early childhood programs for low-income children (e.g., Gormley, Gayer, Phillips & Dawson,2005; Weiland & Yoshikawa, 2013), there is a need for more evidence on the effectiveness of preschool programs taken to scale. In this vein, this symposium examines the benefits of preschool programs in 3 states, funded under the federal Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG).
The first paper summarizes an evaluation of Maine’s PEG. Results show gains in numerous developmental domains for three cohorts of students, potential benefits of professional development resources, as well as implementation challenges and successes. The second paper examines benefits of the PEG in Maryland. State-wide analyses documented superior performance for PEG children, compared to a matched non-PEG sample, on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment. Preliminary results from a district-specific study, using a Regression Discontinuity Design, suggest benefits for participant children in language and executive functioning.
The final paper addresses the evaluation of the Virginia Preschool Initiative Plus (VPI+). Evidence from a regression discontinuity study indicate that VPI+ enrollment had impacts on children’s skills across each of the measured domains with particularly strong impacts on measures of early literacy skills. Taken together, the findings from these studies conducted across 3 different states document the benefits of preschool programs taken to scale in these distinct jurisdictions. These studies will be discussed in the context of early childhood policy, research and practice.

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