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ERIC Number: ED517846
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 39
Do the Effects of Early Childhood Programs on Academic Outcomes Vary by Gender? A Meta-Analysis
Kelchen, Robert; Magnuson, Katherine; Duncan, Greg; Schindler, Holly; Shager, Hilary; Yoshikawa, Hiro
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
It has become typical for children to attend some type of early childhood education (ECE) before entering kindergarten. A recent reanalysis of Perry Preschool and two other prominent experimental ECE studies (Abecedarian and the Early Training Project) by Anderson (2008) comes to a provocative conclusion, finding that female participants gained substantially from the programs, but "the overall patterns of male coefficients is consistent with the hypothesis of minimal effects at best--significant (unadjusted) effects go in both directions and appear at a frequency that would be expected due simply to chance" (Anderson, 2008, p. 1494). Using data on a larger and more representative set of ECE evaluations, and rigorous meta-analytic methods, this paper investigates whether ECE programs have differential effects on boys and girls in three domains representing cognitive skills, academic achievement, and other school-related outcomes. The authors' preliminary findings of achievement, cognitive, and other school-related outcomes measured in evaluations of early childhood programs suggest that the broad achievement and school outcomes of boys and girls are quite similar, and that both genders benefit by approximately two-tenths of a standard deviation on the average outcome. Indeed, the difference is not only statistically insignificant, but also substantively minimal. This conclusion differs from Anderson's broad conclusions about boys experiencing minimal gains from ECE programs. Indeed, the authors' data suggest that boys gain as much from ECE as girls, at least on the range of outcomes available in their data. It will be important to determine whether this pattern of findings holds up across each outcome domain and regardless of the timing of the outcome measures. If these findings are robust to future alternative specifications, it suggests that early education programs neither exacerbate nor remediate any early gender advantages in cognitive and other achievement outcomes. Thus, if reducing gender disparities is a worthy educational goal, other policies and practices will need to be considered. (Contains 2 tables and 5 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)