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Study Questions Value of Full-Day Kindergarten

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Participation in full-day kindergarten might not help reduce learning gaps between different groups of children, according to a report from the Santa Monica, Calif.-based RAND Corp.

While the study found little difference in 5th grade reading achievement between children who had attended full-day or half-day kindergarten, the researchers actually found a negative association between full-day kindergarten and mathematics performance when students reached 5th grade.

The study, which used a nationally representative sample of almost 7,900 students from the U.S. Department of Education's Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten, also found that 5th graders who had participated in full-day kindergarten programs showed lower levels of "nonacademic readiness skills," such as self-control and interpersonal skills.

The researchers warned that the findings should be interpreted carefully, but also encouraged policymakers to consider spending money on efforts to promote nonacademic skills.

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