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Federal Study Examines State Pre-K Programs

Most state-funded prekindergarten programs meet research-based quality standards, offer services to meet children's health and nutrition needs, and use a range of strategies to get parents more involved in their children's education, concludes a study released last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The report reviews evidence on states' financial support for prekindergarten programs, the quality and effectiveness of state-funded prekindergarten efforts, and state initiatives to build early childhood systems for children from birth through age 5 that have a focus on school readiness.

The HHS study supports the Bush administration's belief that some states are ready to have more authority over federal Head Start funds. A Republican bill to reauthorize the preschool program for poor children—which has already passed the House—would give up to eight states control over Head Start funds, allowing them to blend federal money with what they spend on state pre-K programs.

—Kevin Bushweller

Immigrant Achievement

Family characteristics have a greater impact on the achievement of immigrant students than the amount of time the students have lived in the United States, concludes a recent study.

It found that student achievement on standardized mathematics and reading tests was influenced to a greater degree by factors such as the ethnicity and socioeconomic level of the students' families than by whether they were first- or second-generation immigrants or whether they entered school at a very young age or at an older age.

—Mary Ann Zehr

Head Start

Graduates of the federal Head Start program had higher reading test scores and were less likely to repeat a grade in communities where funding for the program was higher than it was in other localities, concludes a working paper released last month from the Cambridge, Mass.-based National Bureau of Economic Research.

The paper analyzes data from a study that followed the children of 6,000 women ages 14 to 21 from 1978 through 2000. It compares the test scores and other educational outcomes of children within that group who attended Head Start with those who attended other preschool programs.

—Catherine A. Carroll

Arts Education

A new study documents the size and scope of K-12 education programs offered by performing arts centers around the country.

The 168-page report—produced by the New York City-based Dana Foundation— provides case studies of eight model arts education programs at performing arts centers, and profiles 66 performing arts centers and institutions that partner with local school districts.

—Kevin Bushweller

After-School Services

After-school and summer school programs have a positive effect on student achievement, concludes a new study by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning, a non-profit research organization based in Aurora, Colo.

The researchers examined more than 370 studies on out-of-school programs conducted since 1984, and then narrowed their focus to the 56 studies that were designed with comparison and control groups. They found that these programs— whether offered after school or during the summer—result in greater academic gains for low-achieving and at-risk students than for students not in these categories.

—Linda Jacobson

Vol. 23, Issue 15, Page 12

Published in Print: December 10, 2003, as Report Roundup
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