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ERIC Number: ED545538
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 193
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-7620-0
Evaluating the Efficacy of a Pre-Kindergarten Program: Transitional Needs of Young Children between Systems of Care and Public Education
Lausch, John Michael
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Drexel University
The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of a South Central Pennsylvania public school's pre-kindergarten program in preparing young children for the transition to kindergarten. Despite the growing interest in pre-kindergarten education, no researcher had yet seriously examined the efficacy of providing a minimal amount of pre-kindergarten experience and support to improve the readiness of students as they prepared to transition to kindergarten. The study employed a transformative mixed method approach to the research in order to address the problem of creating public school pre-kindergarten opportunities that effectively assist children in the transition to kindergarten in a South Central Pennsylvania public elementary school. Specifically, the study answered the following research questions: 1. What components of the pre-kindergarten program do teachers perceive as effective in supporting the transition needs of young learners? 2. What components of the pre-kindergarten program do parents perceive as effective in supporting the transition needs of young learners? 3. What are the statistically significant differences in kindergarten readiness, among students who attended the pre-kindergarten program when compared to those who did not attend any pre-kindergarten program, as measured by the DIAL-3 assessment? The first stage of the study was primarily qualitative, but did employ some quantitative analysis. Two teachers of the pre-kindergarten program and twenty nine parents of participants completed a questionnaire about their perceptions of efficacy within the program. The survey was electronic in nature and consisted of both closed and open ended questions related to program components. Interviews with six parents who enrolled their child in both the pre-kindergarten program and a private pre-kindergarten program also occurred. Analysis of the results identified themes related to the components of effectiveness. A statistical analysis using an analysis of variance identified statistically significant differences within the perceptions of effective pre-kindergarten factors among teachers and parents. The second stage of the study was quantitative. In this stage, the results of a commonly used pre-kindergarten readiness assessment, the DIAL-3, were collected and analyzed. After the removal of several intervening variables, two cohorts, those who attended the identified pre-kindergarten program and those who did not attend any pre-kindergarten program, were compared. The data of seventy nine students was included the pre-kindergarten cohort. The data of sixty seven students was included in the no pre-kindergarten cohort. Statistical analysis using an analysis of variance occurred to compare the mean scores of the DIAL-3 assessment. Throughout all stages of the study, anonymity of participants was maintained. The questionnaire and interview data determined that teachers and parents associated with the pre-kindergarten program believed the social gains from attendance in the program were important to kindergarten transition success. Both teachers and parents believed the social aspects, including fostering student comfort within the school environment, were more important than academic gains that may be attained by children. The statistical analysis of the DIAL-3 assessment data determined that there was a significant statistical difference in the kindergarten readiness of children who attended only the identified pre-kindergarten program when compared to children who attended no pre-kindergarten programming. These important findings suggest that even a minimal amount of pre-kindergarten programming can have a positive impact upon the achievement of young learners. This research study provides those responsible for implementation of the pre-kindergarten program with a wealth of data related to its effectiveness in preparing young learners for entry into public education. These data may also be used to assist in the decision making process regarding the future of the pre-kindergarten program. In addition, these data may assist other school districts with the implementation and evaluation of their own pre-kindergarten programs as an intervention to support young children. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Preschool Education; Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Developmental Indicators for the Assessment Learning