*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The existing literature on full-day kindergarten impact relies largely on the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) to estimate effects for participants. These studies have generally found significant differences between full- and half-day kindergarten students on measures of literacy and numeracy at the end of the kindergarten year (Cannon, Jacknowitz, & Painter, 2006; Lee, Burkam, Ready, Hinigman, & Meisels, 2006; Votruba-Drzal, Li-Grining, & Maldonado-Carreño, 2008; DeCicca, 2007). However, these full-day advantages, as measured by cognitive skills, fade out rapidly over the first grade year and are no longer detectable in third grade (Cannon et al, 2006; Votruba-Drzal et al., 2008) or fifth grade (Vortruba-Drzal et al., 2008). This literature is limited in its ability to address differential selection by schools and districts into offering full-day kindergarten and differential selection by children and families into full-day kindergarten attendance. Moreover, the data pre-date large expansions across the United States in both the provision of full-day kindergarten and the availability of pre-kindergarten programming.
This study employs administrative data and specially collected student assessment data from a representative, statewide sample of first grade classrooms to assess the impact of a statewide policy change. Capitalizing on variation across schools in response to the full-day kindergarten policy change, I explore the impact of full-day kindergarten on first and third grade literacy skills to answer the question: Do the first and third grade literacy skills of students who completed kindergarten after the enacted legislation differ from those who completed kindergarten before the expansion? I use difference-in-differences and triple-differences estimators to assess the impact of the full-day kindergarten legislation on first and third grade literacy skills. Importantly, I leverage cross-cohort and cross-school variation in exposure to full-day kindergarten to assess the effect of this sweeping statewide reform. I specify the full-day kindergarten exposure variable in different ways and also include pre-policy change trends in high change and low change schools to provide evidence of a plausibly exogenous shock to full-day kindergarten exposure. Results of falsification tests on non-equivalent dependent variables are also included. Preliminary findings suggest that incremental increases in full-day kindergarten are not important for first and third grade outcomes, but that movement to provision of full-day for all seems meaningful.