Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Public School-Based Pre-Kindergarten and Center-Based Care

Another study (see previous report here) says public pre-K beats day care on pre-academic and social-behavioral skills

What is the study about?

This study described the academic outcomes of low-income Latino children who enrolled in early childhood programs at age 4 in Miami–Dade County, Florida from 2002 to 2005. The study examined the outcomes of 11,894 children in public school-based half-day pre-kindergarten programs or in licensed center-based full-day care programs that accepted child care subsidies. The authors examined measures of pre-academic and social-behavioral skills assessed at the end of pre-kindergarten and reading achievement at the end of third grade.

What did the study report?

The study authors reported that, at the end of pre-kindergarten, the full sample of children enrolled in either type of program scored above the national average on pre-academic skills related to motor, language, and cognitive development, and on social-behavioral skills related to behavior, attachment, self-control, and initiative. At the end of grade three, 89% of children in this sample passed the reading portion of the state standardized exam. Finally, when comparing children who enrolled in the two types of early childhood programs, the authors reported that the children who attended public school-based pre-kindergarten scored higher on pre-academic and social-behavioral skills than those in center-based care, though tests of statistical significance were not reported. The authors characterized their study as descriptive in nature and not an effectiveness study.

How does the WWC rate this study?

While cited in the media as providing evidence of impacts, the study is ineligible for review by the WWC because it does not present estimates of the effectiveness of an intervention. The authors are clear that the study presents descriptive outcomes for children in public school pre-kindergarten and center-based care, and that the study did not intend to present estimates of the effectiveness of an intervention or make any causal inferences.


Ansari, A., & López, M. (2015). Preparing low-income Latino children for kindergarten and beyond: How children in Miami’s publicly-funded preschool programs fare. Bethesda, MD: National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families.

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