From the statehouse to your home : effects of early childhood policies and interventions
- Abstract: Over the past fifty years, researchers have shown that quality early learning opportunities can provide a myriad of positive, long-term benefits to individuals. In response to this encouraging evidence, many states and localities have established their own prekindergarten programs. Though enrollment in early childhood education programs has been increasing, inequities exist in the early childhood education market. Disadvantaged students are less likely to enroll in formal programs, or tend to enroll in programs that produce fewer academic benefits. This dissertation seeks to provide evidence on how to offer quality early learning opportunities for all students. The first paper explores the role of folding prekindergarten programs in to the larger K-12 system. To this end, I compare short term literacy outcomes of students in San Francisco who attended a new prekindergarten program called Transitional Kindergarten (TK) to students who attended programs in the city's universal prekindergarten market. I find that former TK students outperform their peers on a variety of pre-literacy skills in the fall of kindergarten and that, for English Language Learners (ELLs), those advantages remain in the fall of first grade. The second paper looks at the effects of older peers on the English language development of ELLs in kindergarten and first grade. These benefits are also concentrated on Chinese students, Latino students, and ELLs, which is consistent with the notion that folding prekindergarten programs into the K-12 system can mitigate the sorting of students to less effective programs. ELLs are one of the fastest growing subgroups in the United States. As schools grapple with a growing ELL population, practitioners must make decisions on how they will distribute ELLs in their classrooms. I find that that a one-month increase in peer age increases the literacy skills of ELLs by 0.052 standard deviations. There is little heterogeneity in results by ethnicity and language pathway. However, females and the youngest students in the sample benefited the most. These results indicate that ELLs benefit from exposure to more advanced peers and tracking ELLs in ways that limit their exposure to such peers may be depriving them of the educational benefit of peer effects. The last paper, coauthored with Erin M. Fahle, Susanna Loeb, and Benjamin N. York, investigates how we can help parents support the academic development of their children at home. Past research has demonstrated the success of texting programs that provide parents of prekindergarteners tips on what they can do at home to build the literacy skills of their children. This study looks at whether the effectiveness of these programs can be improved by personalizing and differentiating the text messages. Results indicate the children in the personalized and differentiated group were 50 percent more likely to move up a reading level compared to children in the general text messaging group and the control group. These results indicate that interventions that do not match the difficulty of the task to the ability of the recipient may be muting any potential gains. In total, this dissertation looks at three levers policymakers can pull to improve education in the early years: (1) designing prekindergarten programs within schools, (2) allocating peers within classrooms, and (3) instituting programs that help parents support the development of their children at home. Improving the educational achievement of children will require coordination at all three levels and this dissertation indicates that thoughtful efforts at each level can produce learning gains in children.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Doss, Christopher Joseph
|Stanford University, Graduate School of Education.
|Dee, Thomas S. (Thomas Sean)
|Dee, Thomas S. (Thomas Sean)
|Statement of responsibility
|Christopher Joseph Doss.
|Submitted to the Graduate School of Education.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2017.
- © 2017 by Christopher Joseph Doss
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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