The Influence of a School District's Early Childhood Education Policy on Urban Students' Academic Achievement Towards Advanced Class Placement
Bartley, Alice P.
Johnson, Martin L.
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ABSTRACT Title of Dissertation: THE INFLUENCE OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT'S EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION POLICY ON URBAN STUDENTS' ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT TOWARDS ADVANCED CLASS PLACEMENT Alice P. Bartley, Doctor of Philosophy, 2008 Dissertation Directed By: Professor Martin L. Johnson, College of Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction Kindergarten is one of the most important years of schooling, as it builds the foundational skills needed for later learning. This study explored school district's early childhood education policy reform initiative specifically designed to accelerate the early learning of students in high-need Title I schools. The purpose of this study was to discover if the reform intervention influenced disadvantaged students' enrollment in advanced mathematics classes in grade six. Mathematics and reading assessment data at the second and fifth grades were examined to determine if the kindergarten intervention influenced students' achievement as they progressed through the elementary school years into middle school. This study focused on achievement gains, sustainability, reduction in special education placement, and increase in advanced mathematics classes. This longitudinal study included a sample of 9858 cases which were distributed among nine kindergarten cohort groups (three intervention cohorts and six comparison cohorts) for three consecutive years (one pre-intervention year and two intervention years). One-way analysis of variance, hierarchical regression, and logistic regression were used to analyze the dataset. The major findings of the study indicate the intervention cohorts of students demonstrated mean score gains in mathematics and reading when compared to the cohort group from the same population prior to the intervention. Mean score gains were also found when comparing the intervention cohorts to the six more economically advantaged comparison cohorts. The findings also indicate a reduction in special education enrollment and an increase in enrollment in advanced mathematics at the sixth grade level for the high-need Title I intervention cohorts. The findings of this study contribute to the very limited body of literature on accelerated early learning and later advanced class placement.