Report Roundup

March 03, 2004 2 min read

Full-Day Kindergarten Gets Boost in Study

A national study offers some fresh evidence that kindergarten pupils learn more in full-day programs and smaller classes.

“The Effect of Kindergarten Program Types and Class Size on Early Academic Performance,” is available from the Education Policy Studies Laboratory at Arizona State University. (Report requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

The findings, published last week in the electronic journal Education Policy Analysis Archives, are based on a federal study of 22,000 children who entered kindergarten in 1998.

According to the report, pupils who attended full-day kindergarten programs that year outscored their counterparts in half- day programs on tests of mathematics, reading, and general knowledge.

The findings were less clear for all the class-size comparisons the study undertook. But the researchers did find that pupils who spent the first year of school in classes of 24 or more children posted lower marks on the same tests than their peers in smaller classes.

—Debra Viadero

English-Language Learners

About half the English-language learners in California who took the state’s English-proficiency test in both 2001 and 2002 showed improvement, but 9 percent actually performed worse between the two years, according to a recent report.

“A Look at the Progress of English Learner Students,” is available from California Legislative Analyst’s Office . (Report requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

California—which educates about 40 percent of English-language learners in the United States—has found the path to English fluency is difficult for many students. The analysis found that students were more likely to improve their scores from one year to the next if they were at the lower levels of English rather than higher levels. Using test data, the writers of the report simulated the experience of English-language learners from kindergarten to 12th grade. They found that it took about six years before half those students were reclassified as fluent in English.

—Mary Ann Zehr

Early-Childhood Education

A national study suggests that federal and state spending on early-childhood education is “woefully inadequate.”

“Early Learning Left Out,” is available from Voices for America’s Children. (Report requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

Released last week by Voices for America’s Children, a Washington-based network of state and local child-advocacy organizations in 44 states, the report estimates that federal and state per-child spending on education is more than seven times greater for K-12 students than for preschoolers. The respective figures are $5,410 and $740 per child.

-Kevin Bushweller

Parent Poll

“National PTA Education Funding Poll: Summary and Key Findings,” is available from the National PTA. (Report requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

More than nine of every 10 respondents to a nationwide poll of 800 public school parents said education would play a major role in their decisions about which presidential candidate to support in this election year.

The poll, released last week by the Chicago-based National PTA, also found that more than half the respondents, 55 percent, ranked school funding as the top issue facing public schools, eclipsing both school safety and quality.

-Kevin Bushweller