English-language learners who attended full-day kindergarten in Los Angeles were much less likely to be retained before 2nd grade than those who went to half-day kindergarten in the same district, a new study has found.
It determined that ELLs who attended kindergarten full time were 5 percentage points less likely to be retained in those first few years than former half-day pupils.
However, the full-day program seemed to have less impact on children’s academic outcomes and their English fluency. The ELLs who had been in full-day kindergarten had higher reading scores in kindergarten than half-day pupils, but that edge had eroded by 1st grade.
The study drew on student-level data for seven cohorts of Los Angeles children entering kindergarten between 2001 and 2007—159,566 English-language learners in all. The findings were published online last month in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
A version of this article appeared in the April 27, 2011 edition of Education Week as Full-Day Kindergarten