The relationship between pre -kindergarten program participation and academic achievement at grade three

Martha Murguia-Garcia, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

El Paso, Texas is a unique city both geographically and demographically. In the last few years there has been a dramatic growth in the number of Hispanics, especially in the three to five year old age group. Economic conditions and health needs of Hispanics tend to be less favorable than for other groups. The number and percentage of students who are economically disadvantaged has increased significantly since the early 1990s. Because of the large number of students in this group, it is important to measure their performance on standardized tests and develop programs to meet their needs. ^ Initially, pre-Kindergarten was designed to help economically disadvantaged children achieve school readiness and success. Many policymakers have questioned whether pre-Kindergarten programs are worth the money and effort being spent to advance children's school readiness. Several assumptions underlie one of the No Child Left Behind Act's goals, which is universal proficiency in reading and math by 2013-2014. It is assumed that all children are equally prepared for formal instruction when they enter kindergarten and first grade. ^ The purpose of this study was to compare the performance of students on the third grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test in reading and mathematics. These students were enrolled in Socorro Independent School District during the 2004-2005 school year. Some students attended the district's pre-Kindergarten program during the 2000-2001 school year and while other students did not participate in the pre-Kindergarten program. ^ No statistically significant differences were found between pre-Kindergarten attendance and gender or between pre-Kindergarten attendance and the socioeconomic status of the parents. These results indicate that attendance in pre-Kindergarten had no effect on the achievement of students assessed during the first administration of the 2004-2005 TAKS English or Spanish reading test. In addition, these results indicate that pre-Kindergarten had no effect on the achievement of students assessed during the 2004-2005 TAKS English math test. It appears that enrollment in the district's pre-Kindergarten program had no measurable effect on the acquisition of knowledge at this age and did not affect students' test performance at grade 3. ^ However, a statistically significant difference was found between pre-Kindergarten attendance and the socioeconomic status of the parents. Children who did not attend pre-Kindergarten and paid for their meals (non-eligible for free or reduced lunch) outscored all children on the third grade TAKS mathematics test administered in Spanish. Children who did not attend pre-Kindergarten and received a reduced price lunch had the second highest scores. Children who attended pre-Kindergarten and received a free lunch had the lowest scores. ^

Subject Area

Education, Early Childhood|Education, Elementary

Recommended Citation

Murguia-Garcia, Martha, "The relationship between pre -kindergarten program participation and academic achievement at grade three" (2006). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3214011.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3214011

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