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Universal and targeted pre-kindergarten programmes: A comparison of classroom characteristics and child outcomes

Concerns about school readiness especially among children from low-income families have resulted in massive funding of state pre-kindergarten (pre-K) programmes. Pre-K programmes differ in whether they are universal (i.e. available to all children) or targeted (i.e. offered only to children with specific risk factors). Due to the lack of empirical evidence on differences in programme types, we conducted comparisons using data from an 11-state pre-K evaluation study. Universal and targeted programmes were compared on classroom characteristics and gains in achievement for low-income children. Findings indicated that while two aspects of classroom structural quality (hours per day and teacher education) were higher for universal programmes, classroom process quality was higher for targeted programmes. Gains over time in children's achievement outcomes were not reliably different across universal and targeted programmes. (author abstract)
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Reports & Papers
United States
California; Georgia; Illinois; Kentucky; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; Ohio; Texas; Washington; Wisconsin

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