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The persistence of reading and math proficiency: the benefits of Alabama’s pre-kindergarten program endure in elementary and middle school

  • Preskitt, J.1, 2
  • Johnson, H.1
  • Becker, D.1
  • Ernest, J.3
  • Fifolt, M.1, 2
  • Adams, J.4
  • Strichik, T.5
  • Ross, J.5
  • Sen, B.1
  • 1 The University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Public Health, Birmingham, AL, USA , Birmingham (United States)
  • 2 UAB School of Public Health, RPHB 330H, 1720 2nd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL, 35294, USA , Birmingham (United States)
  • 3 The University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Education, Birmingham, AL, USA , Birmingham (United States)
  • 4 Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA , Birmingham (United States)
  • 5 The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, Montgomery, AL, USA , Montgomery (United States)
Published Article
International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy
Springer Singapore
Publication Date
Jul 23, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s40723-020-00073-3
Springer Nature


Preschool programs provide opportunities to improve early childhood educational outcomes as well as long-term outcomes, such as improved educational attainment, improved socioeconomic status, and improved health in adulthood. However, recent studies of long-term impacts have shown equivocal results, with some educational gains occurring immediately following participation in preschool that diminish or “fadeout” over time. The purpose of this study was to use multivariable linear regression and school fixed effects to determine the impact of Alabama’s First Class Pre-K (FCPK) program on reading and math proficiency. In an effort to test for fadeout, a second multivariable linear regression was used with an additional interaction term of FCPK receipt with time since receipt, to assess for changes in the impact of FCPK as children progress from 3rd grade to 7th grade. Results indicate that children who received FCPK were statistically significantly more likely to be proficient in both math and reading compared to students who did not receive FCPK. Further, there was no statistical evidence of fadeout of the benefits of FCPK through the 7th grade, indicating the persistence of the benefits of FCPK into middle school.

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