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The Effects of Full Day Versus Half Day Kindergarten. Presented to the Alpha Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa April 28, 2004. Jonathan A. Plucker Director. Center for Evaluation & Education Policy. Overview. CEEP National Context IAPSS Study Public Opinion Poll IAPSS Study Follow-up

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the effects of full day versus half day kindergarten

The Effects of Full Day Versus Half Day Kindergarten

Presented to the Alpha Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa

April 28, 2004

Jonathan A. Plucker


Center for Evaluation & Education Policy

  • CEEP
  • National Context
  • IAPSS Study
  • Public Opinion Poll
  • IAPSS Study Follow-up
  • Future Activities
center for evaluation and education policy ceep
Center for Evaluation andEducation Policy (CEEP)
  • Resulted from the merger of the:
    • Indiana Education Policy Center (IEPC)
    • Indiana Center for Evaluation (ICE)
  • Mission is to provide nonpartisan research support to Indiana policymakers as they craft education policy
national context
National Context
  • State kindergarten policies vary widely.
  • In 2003-2004, 40 states required public districts to offer kindergarten.
  • Of which 10 required districts to offer full day programs.
  • Only WV and LA mandate FDK attendance.
national enrollment ecls 2002
National Enrollment (ECLS, 2002)
  • Ranges from 83% in southern states to 23% in western states.
  • Rural and urban students more likely to attend FDK than suburban students.
  • African American (79%), white (49%), Hispanic (46%), Asian (40%)
  • poverty (62%) vs. non-poverty (51%).
  • Of schools studied in ECLS, 70% private schools vs. 54% public schools.
indiana fdk enrollment
Indiana FDK Enrollment
  • 12% in 1999
  • Estimates vary for more recent years, but current rate is probably 15-25%.
  • Elimination of FDK in Evansville may not be factored into those estimates.
iapss study released january 9 2004

IAPSS StudyReleased January 9, 2004

Prepared with Jessica Eaton, Kelly Rapp, Woong Lim, Jeff Nowak, John Hansen, and Amy Bartleson

need for the research
Need for the Research
  • Contracted by Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents to conduct study.
    • Legislators questioned lack of Indiana data during previous FDK debates
  • What are the effects of FDK through the early elementary years?
  • Provide information in forms useful to policymakers
interesting complications
Interesting Complications
  • Early childhood research is tricky.
  • Methodologies vary widely.
  • Study designs range from anecdotal to quasi-experiments to meta-analysis
  • Getting data from schools is difficult
    • Many don’t know what they have
  • Section I: Review of National Studies
    • Review of published studies
  • Section II: Indiana Studies
    • Both existing and new data
  • Section III: Time in IN FDK Classrooms
    • Document analysis and classroom observations
section i review of national research
Section I: Review ofNational Research
  • Single-program studies are highly mixed.
  • Larger-scale studies are generally positive, often quite positive.
  • Emphasis on national studies (1), meta-analyses (2, sort of), and larger, multi-site studies (several)
national results
National Results
  • Data are inconclusive regarding attendance.
  • Positive FDK effects for:
    • academic achievement
    • grade retention
    • special education referrals
    • social and behavioral effects
  • The magnitude of these benefits is inconclusive.
  • No negative outcomes associated with FDK.
reducing the achievement gap
Reducing the Achievement Gap
  • Greater positive outcomes for low achieving student subgroups.
  • Students more likely to benefit from FDK in smaller class sizes (< 25 students) and presence of an instructional aide.
  • Magnitude of effects is again inconclusive.
section ii indiana data
Section II: Indiana Data
  • Data had to be available for FDK students and a control group of students (usually half day students in the same district or school).
  • Programs needed to be daily programs, not full day–alternate day programs.
  • Extended day programs could not be included unless substantive instruction occurred during the extended day (i.e., not HDK plus child care).
Indiana studies reflect national findings:
    • No negative outcomes associated with FDK
    • At worst, FDK and HDK have similar effects.
    • Significant results in support of the benefits of full day over half day kindergarten were found in many of the comparisons within these studies.
    • FDK benefits in academic achievement, grade level retention, special education referrals, and social and behavioral effects.
section iii curriculum and schedule analyses
Section III: Curriculumand Schedule Analyses
  • Collected typical daily schedules from public school districts in Indiana (self-report).
  • Calculated minutes of instruction per day for the following areas:
    • Language arts (English, writing, reading)
    • Mathematics
    • Other instruction
    • Play time
amount of instructional time
Amount of Instructional Time
  • FDK programs devote significantly more time to each type of activity than do HDK programs.
  • FDK allows for approx. additional 428 hours of instruction over the course of a school year.
  • However, a slightly higher proportion of time is devoted to instruction in HDK programs
school site visits
School Site Visits
  • Visited 14 classrooms in six schools with full-day kindergarten schedules.
  • Schools located in urban, suburban and rural districts across Indiana.
  • Observed instructional activities throughout the day.
  • Visits provided evidence of schedule validity.
use of instructional time
Use of Instructional Time
  • Added time in FDK programs changes the nature of activities that occur.
  • Teachers have more time to address state standards and students’ diverse learning needs.
  • Additional instructional time spent in the areas of Language Arts and Math.

Public Opinion Survey Findings Regarding KindergartenReleased January 26, 2004Prepared with the assistance of Molly Chamberlin,Jason Zapf, and Ada Simmons

need for a survey
Need for a Survey
  • No comprehensive, nonpartisan survey of public opinion on Indiana education issues in recent memory
  • Policymakers in other states find such surveys to be very helpful
  • CEEP chose to self-fund such a survey over three years: 2003, 2004, 2005
telephone survey
Telephone Survey
  • Conducted in late fall 2003
  • 1,001 residents of Indiana, all 18+ years old
  • Random Digit Dialing (RDD)
    • Includes both listed and unlisted numbers
  • Minimum and maximum quotas for county, age, and gender to ensure a representative sample on these variables
  • Data collection by Stone Research Services
survey statistics
Survey Statistics
  • Ratio of initial refusals to completed interviews is 2.3:1, lower than average for RDD samples.
  • Overall sampling error of +/- 3%
item creation
Item Creation
  • Items drawn from:
    • Surveys in other states
    • National surveys
    • Issues being discussed by Indiana policymakers
    • Anticipated “hot topics” in Indiana
item revision
Item Revision
  • Each question was reviewed by:
    • Several project staff
    • Indiana policymakers representing a breadth of perspectives and ideologies
    • Stone Research Services
full day or half day kindergarten
Full-day or Half-Day Kindergarten?
  • Poll conducted before FDK became hot button issue
    • 46% FD v. 47% HD
  • Subsequent Indy Star poll found greater support: 56% vs. 36%
    • 704 people, +/- 3.7%
    • Asked about optional FDK
indy star 1 04 poll question
Indy Star 1/04 Poll Question
  • Gov. Kernan recently announced a plan for the state to pay for optional full-day kindergarten for all Indiana public schools. Currently, this is not available in all schools, and some schools that do have this program require parents to pay for it. Do you favor or oppose the governor's initiative?
favor mandatory kindergarten
Favor Mandatory Kindergarten?
  • Participants informed that 90-94% of children attend kindergarten in Indiana
  • 81% Favor
  • 18% Oppose
long term effects of fdk
Long-term Effects of FDK
  • We were asked by IAPSS to look only at short-term impact on achievement.
    • NOT long-term, no fiscal analysis
  • We are conducting a brief follow-up review of longitudinal research.
Although methodological issues exist, initial results suggest FDK gains extend through middle and high school, with considerable, positive fiscal impact
research favors fdk
Research Favors FDK
  • Sufficient evidence exists to justify a move to full day kindergarten in Indiana.
  • Positive outcomes are associated with FDK relative to HDK on wide range of important indicators
  • Although some find our conclusions to be surprising, they aren’t:
    • Why would we expect an extra half year of education at a critical age to have no effect?
more research needed
More Research Needed
  • A great deal of research is needed, especially in the areas of:
    • State/national outcome studies (ACH and $)
    • Experimental studies at the local level
    • Implementation studies
first steps
First Steps?
  • Avoid alternate day programs; a better partial strategy is to target low income students who stand to gain the most from full day-every day programs.
  • Indiana policymakers may want to explore ways to get 100% of children into preschool and kindergarten experiences.
distribution list
Distribution List
  • We are starting an Internet distribution list for our Indiana policy-related publications.
  • Please give us your e-mail address if you would like to be notified whenever we post a new PDF file on the CEEP web site.