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Measuring the Impact of Full-day Kindergarten: Experimental Evidence Chloe Hutchinson Gibbs University of Chicago & Learning Point Associates March 4,

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Presentation on theme: "Measuring the Impact of Full-day Kindergarten: Experimental Evidence Chloe Hutchinson Gibbs University of Chicago & Learning Point Associates March 4,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Measuring the Impact of Full-day Kindergarten: Experimental Evidence Chloe Hutchinson Gibbs University of Chicago & Learning Point Associates March 4, 2010

2 Outline Motivation & Literature Review Study Background Data & Empirical Approach Results Next Steps

3 Research Question Do students in full-day kindergarten (FDK) programs outperform their half-day kindergarten peers as measured by literacy skills at the end of the kindergarten year?

4 Literature Review Observational studies using ECLS-K –Research generally finds positive effects of FDK participation at the end of the kindergarten year (Cannon et al, 2006; Lee et al, 2006; DiCicca, 2007; Votruba-Drzal et al, 2008). –While some studies find marginally significant positive effects of FDK in the spring of first grade (Cannon et al, 2006) or persistent effects for certain student subgroups in first grade (DiCicca, 2007), any FDK effects fade by third grade (Cannon et al, 2006; Votruba-Drzal et al, 2008). Small studies in specific settings –Smaller-scale evaluations similarly report early advantages for FDK participants (Cryan, 1992; Elicker & Mathur, 1997) while those employing the most rigorous designs generally find modest, inconsistent short-term effects (Holmes & McConnell, 1990; Karweit, 1992).

5 Study Background In 2007, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation (Indiana Public Law 234-2007) to provide funding to increase access to and availability of FDK, allowing “school corporations and charter schools to provide full-day kindergarten programs to improve the academic and social development of children in kindergarten.” Beginning in the 2007-08 school year, school districts and charter schools became eligible to receive the FDK grant from the state, which is allocated based on kindergarten enrollment in the district/school in the current school year.

6 Study Background (cont’d) The definition of full-day kindergarten, as specified in the Indiana Department of Education’s grant application: Full-day kindergarten is a kindergarten program that… Consists of a minimum of five (5) hours of instructional time (instructional time does not include lunch or recess), Is conducted each school day of the week (not alternate days) following the school corporation calendar, Follows the Indiana State Board of Education Kindergarten Curriculum Rules, Has a curriculum consistent with the Indiana Academic Standards, Remains within the school corporation’s Prime Time guidelines.

7 Study Approach Identify student assignment mechanisms employed in districts –Statewide questionnaire for school districts –Follow-up phone screening with districts –Verification/documentation of assignment process Generate study sample from districts using lotteries to assign students to FDK and HDK

8 Source: National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data & Indiana Department of Education, Accountability System for Academic Progress Study Districts – Lotteries Locale Type % Free or Reduced- Price Lunch % Minority Elementary Schools Elementary Enrollment K Enrollment K Teachers (FTE) Lottery Districts District 1 City, Small 61487307656218 District 2 City, Midsize 592616771194 District 3 Suburb, Large 423648551165 District 4 Suburb, Large 201611471974818 District 5 Rural, Distant 1941464813

9 Data District-provided, with assistance from the Indiana Department of Education: –Student-level demographic and literacy assessment data (pre- and post-test) –Documentation of lottery implementation Unique student identifiers which allow for matching to state administrative and assessment data

10 Variables Treatment indicator: FDK assignment and participation Controls: pre-test literacy score, student age at pre-test, race/ethnicity, gender, and poverty status (free or reduced-price lunch eligibility) Outcome: standardized scores from literacy assessments District fixed effects

11 Study Sample FDK studentsHDK students District 1245160 District 23715 District 32117 District 4361193 District 51648 Total680433

12 Summary Statistics

13 Pre-test Literacy Scores


15 Caveats about Assignment Crossover: 99.73% of the sample complied with assignment Late-comers: 132 HDK students and 77 FDK students enrolled after the lotteries Attrition: 61 HDK students (14.09%) and 60 FDK students (8.82%) are not observed at post- test

16 Literacy Pre- and Post-tests

17 Empirical Approach: OLS : literacy skills assessment outcome for child i in district k : assignment indicator (1=FDK and 0=HDK) : a vector of child-level characteristics : pre-test score for child i : district fixed effects (1)


19 Empirical Approach: IV (2) (3) IV estimates provide the impact of treatment on the treated. Because of little crossover, IV estimates mirror OLS estimates.

20 Heterogeneous Treatment Effects Explore interactions between treatment and pre- test, age, gender, poverty status, and race Examine presence of differential treatment effects by district





25 Impact Estimates

26 Findings Assignment to FDK results in improved early literacy skills for certain subgroups of students, including those who are nonwhite, eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and in the lowest quartile of the pre-test score distribution. In addition, the impact of FDK varies considerably by district.

27 Attrition

28 Next Steps Addressing differential attrition Exploring the impact of FDK on outcomes in the primary grades Comparing impact estimates from non- experimental approaches with experimental evidence

29 Acknowledgments Carrie (Mathers) Scholz and Julie Kochanek, Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest Kerwin Charles, Jens Ludwig, Steve Raudenbush, and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, University of Chicago Indiana State Department of Education, Board of Education, Governor’s Education Roundtable, and participating school districts Committee on Education and U.S. Department of Education IES training grant funding and the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy conference travel funding

30 Comments or Suggestions: Chloe Hutchinson Gibbs

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