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ERIC Number: ED498974
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 134
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 82
Who Is Ahead and Who Is Behind? Gaps in School Readiness and Student Achievement in the Early Grades for California's Children. Technical Report
Cannon, Jill S.; Karoly, Lynn A.
RAND Corporation
To evaluate the adequacy and efficiency of preschool education in California, the RAND Corporation has undertaken the California Preschool Study to improve understanding of achievement gaps in the early elementary grades, the adequacy of preschool education currently given, and what efficiencies or additional resources might be brought to bear in early care and education. This volume reports on the first component of this larger study effort, which addresses the following questions: (1) What is the number and percentage of students in grades K-3 who do not meet state education standards? (2) How does the fraction that fails to meet standards vary across groups defined by gender, race-ethnicity, English-language ability, parent education attainment, and family economic status? (3) Do high-quality preschool programs have the potential to close the observed achievement gaps? In addressing the first two questions, the analysis uses data from the 2007 California Standards Tests (CSTs) to look at the number and proportion of second and third graders who are not reaching state standards for performance in English-language arts and mathematics. The CST data was also used to examine achievement gaps in these grades between groups of students defined by personal characteristics or family background measures. To understand student differences before the CST assessments begin, other data sources were used for information on kindergarten and first grade, including such sources as reading performance assessments conducted in kindergarten and first grade in a subset of California school districts as part of the Reading First program instituted under the 2002 federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Finally, to address the third question, this study evaluated the evidence from rigorous evaluations of preschool programs to assess the potential for well-designed programs to improve school readiness and subsequent school performance. This study found that despite rising achievement levels in recent years, a substantial percentage of second- and third-graders do not meet state education standards in English-language arts and mathematics. The size of the achievement gaps that currently exist and the strength of the evidence of favorable education benefits from well-designed preschool programs make a solid case for considering preschool as a component of a multi-pronged strategy for closing achievement gaps in California. Additional analyses of CST data is provided in an appendix. (Contains 11 figures, 24 tables, and 53 footnotes.) [The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Labor and Population. The Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) provided additional funding for this report.]
RAND Corporation. P.O. Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138. Tel: 877-584-8642; Tel: 310-451-7002; Fax: 412-802-4981; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Los Altos, CA.; Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, MI.; Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, PA.; W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: Rand Corp., Santa Monica, CA.
Identifiers - Location: California