Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that students in Georgia’s Pre-K program show educational improvement in key areas and progress at a greater rate while participating in the program, according to a recent study. The results are part of a multi-year evaluation by the Frank Porter Graham Childhood Development Institute at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
“Ensuring Georgia’s youngest scholars continue to benefit from Georgia’s highly ranked Pre-K program is one of my top priorities,” said Deal. “This study confirms that Georgia is on the right track. Our Pre-K program helps students acquire the foundation necessary for a solid education, puts them on track to read at grade level by the third grade and assists in developing essential skills which will lead to academic excellence and future success.”
The comprehensive evaluation was commissioned in 2011-2012 by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) and tracked the progress of 1,169 children who participated in Georgia Pre-K during the 2013-2014 school year. Results showed that program participation significantly improved children’s school readiness skills across a wide range of literacy, math and general knowledge measures. Based on standardized test scores, the study indicates that students progressed at a greater rate while participating in the program compared to normal development in the same timeframe. The report also revealed that Spanish-speaking dual language learners grew skills in both English and Spanish, usually showing greater growth in English.
“These findings are strong and attest to the impact of Georgia’s signature early education program and the important work accomplished by our teachers and assistant teachers every day,” said DECAL Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs. “The findings concerning language and literacy are especially important, as they suggest that foundational reading skills are taught in Pre-K classrooms. These findings support that what children are learning in Pre-K aligns perfectly with Governor Deal’s emphasis on grade level reading.”
Researchers will continue to monitor student progress through the end of the third grade.
“Georgia’s Pre-K Program has had positive outcomes for children, and the level of quality has remained fairly constant over time,” said principal investigator Ellen Peisner-Feinberg. “The results from the studies conducted so far indicate that the program clearly has several areas of strength; as a long-standing, statewide, universal pre-k program, the outcomes for children and the quality of classroom practices has been maintained.”