OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the impact of an early childhood, family-centered, school-based intervention on children’s kindergarten academic achievement.

METHODS:

This was a cluster (school) randomized controlled trial with assessments from pre-kindergarten (pre-k) entry through the end of kindergarten. The setting was 10 public elementary schools with 26 pre-k classes in 2 school districts in urban disadvantaged neighborhoods serving a largely black, low-income population. Participants were 1050 black and Latino, low-income children (age 4; 88% of pre-k population) enrolled in 10 schools over 4 years. Universal intervention aimed to promote self-regulation and early learning by strengthening positive behavior support and effective behavior management at home and school, and increasing parent involvement in education. Intervention included after-school group sessions for families of pre-k students (13 2-hour sessions; co-led by pre-k teachers) and professional development for pre-k and kindergarten teachers. The outcome measures were standardized test scores of kindergarten reading, writing, and math achievement by independent evaluators masked to intervention condition (primary outcome); developmental trajectories of teacher-rated academic performance from pre-k through kindergarten (secondary outcome).

RESULTS:

Relative to children in control schools, children in intervention schools had higher kindergarten achievement test scores (Cohen’s d = 0.18, mean difference = 2.64, SE = 0.90, P = .03) and higher teacher-rated academic performance (Cohen’s d = 0.25, mean difference = 5.65, SE = 2.34, P = .01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Early childhood population-level intervention that enhances both home and school environments shows promise to advance academic achievement among minority children from disadvantaged, urban neighborhoods.

You do not currently have access to this content.