When Do the Literacy Skills of Preschool Attenders and Non-Attenders Converge? Evidence from Boston

Christina Weiland, Rebecca Unterman, Anna Shapiro 2018. "When Do the Literacy Skills of Preschool Attenders and Non-Attenders Converge? Evidence from Boston"

Abstract

Attending preschool improves children’s kindergarten readiness, but the cognitive outcomes of preschool attenders and non-attenders tend to converge partially or fully in elementary school. In older programs, most of the non-attender “catch up” occurs in kindergarten (Li et al., 2016), but evidence from today’s programs is relatively sparse. Using data on approximately 5,000 Boston Public School prekindergarten appliers and a quasi- experimental approach, we examine convergence patterns in the K-3 literacy outcomes of prekindergarten attenders and non-attenders. Consistent with the previous literature, we find that most of the convergence in K-3 literacy outcomes occurs in kindergarten. Our findings suggest that detailed investigations into the kindergarten teaching and learning context may be particularly important for solving the widely noted preschool convergence pattern.

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