Effects of Georgia's Pre-K Program on Children's School Readiness Skills: Findings From the 2012-2013 Evaluation Study
The purpose of the 2012-2013 Georgia's Pre‐K Program Evaluation study was to investigate the effects of participation in the pre‐k program on children's school readiness skills. This study utilized a regression discontinuity design (RDD), the strongest type of quasi‐experimental research design for examining treatment effects. This study compared two groups of children based on the existing age requirement for the pre‐k program: 1) the treated group—children who had completed Georgia's Pre‐K Program the previous year and were just entering kindergarten in the study year, and 2) the untreated group—children who were not eligible for Georgia's Pre‐K Program the previous year and were just entering pre‐k in the study year. Because the families of both groups of children chose Georgia's Pre‐K, the two groups were equivalent on many important characteristics; the only difference was whether the child's birth date fell before or after the cut‐off date for eligibility for the pre‐k program.
The primary research questions addressed by this study were:
- Does participation in Georgia's Pre‐K Program improve children's school readiness skills (language, literacy, math, general knowledge, behavior) compared to children who have not attended the program?
- Are the effects of Georgia's Pre‐K Program on school readiness skills similar for different groups of children on the basis of family income, gender, or children's level of English language proficiency?