The Effects of Texas's Targeted Pre-Kindergarten Program on Academic Performance
There has been a resurgence in research that investigates the efficacy of early investments as a means of reducing gaps in academic performance. However, the strongest evidence for these effects comes from experimental evaluations of small, highly enriched programs. We add to this literature by assessing the extent to which a large-scale public program, Texas's targeted pre-Kindergarten (pre-K), affects scores on math and reading achievement tests, the likelihood of being retained in grade, and the probability that a student receives special education services. We find that having participated in Texas's targeted pre-K program is associated with increased scores on the math and reading sections of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), reductions in the likelihood of being retained in grade, and reductions in the probability of receiving special education services. We also find that participating pre-K increases mathematics scores for students who take the Spanish version of the TAAS tests. These results show that even modest, public pre-K program implemented at scale can have important effects on students educational achievement
We gratefully acknowledge that this research was made possible through data provided by the University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center. The conclusions of this research do not necessarily reflect the opinions or official positions of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, or the State of Texas. This research was supported by the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) funded through Grant R305A060018 to the American Institutes for Research from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.