Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

David Shellman

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of preschool education on students' kindergarten readiness and subsequent kindergarten performance in a low socioeconomic primary school. There are several factors that influence a child's readiness for school, including the children's natural talents and abilities, their families, their early environments, their schools, and their communities.

The setting for this research was a primary school located within a small, urban school district in the piedmont area of North Carolina. For the purpose of this study, all kindergarten students were placed into three subgroups: kindergarten students who attended the prekindergarten program at the primary school, kindergarten students who attended an outside prekindergarten program in the surrounding community, and kindergarten students who have no record of prekindergarten attendance.

The study's methodology included assessing all kindergarten students prior to the start of the school year using the fourth edition of the Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning (DIAL-4) kindergarten readiness screening assessment, and then comparing these scores to a) whether or not the student attended a prekindergarten program prior to starting school; and b) student achievement data recorded at three benchmark checkpoints (3, 5, and 7 months) throughout the kindergarten school year. Data on teacher perceptions of the effect of preschool on kindergarten readiness and student achievement were also collected and analyzed.

When looking at kindergarten readiness, results suggest that children who attended a prekindergarten program prior to starting school scored significantly higher on the DIAL-4 readiness screening assessment than their peers who did not attend prekindergarten. In further analyzing the data, students who attended a prekindergarten program in the surrounding community scored significantly higher on the DIAL-4 readiness screening assessment than students who either attended the district prekindergarten program or did not attend prekindergarten.

When looking at subsequent kindergarten performance, students who were originally identified as being ready for school did not, after 7 months of classroom instruction, score significantly higher in literacy, math or social development than their peers who were originally identified as being delayed. Additionally, students who attended a prekindergarten program prior to starting school did score significantly higher in math proficiency than their peers who did not attend prekindergarten, but there were no significant differences between the two groups for either literacy or social development.

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