Effects of Full- and Half-Day Schedules of an Urban, Prekindergarten Program
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The Child-Parent Center (CPC) program is a PreK–third grade school reform model centered on the provision of a high-quality prekindergarten program which focuses on increasing early achievement through small classes, parent involvement, and continuity of curriculum and leadership in the early elementary years. In 2012, the Midwest Child-Parent Center Expansion (MCPC) implemented the CPC model in new and historic sites throughout Chicago and expanded services to cities in Illinois and Minnesota with some sites offering full-day Pre-K and others offering half-day schedules. Although the literature on the effectiveness of the original program is extensive, little has been published on the impact of the expansion program.
The current study analyzes the impacts of this high-quality Pre-K program by dosage group, comparing effects of full-day, half-day, and no Pre-K. Research published in JAMA (Reynolds et al., 2014) evaluated the link between full-day and half-day Pre-K, but we propose a methodology that follows recent developments in using propensity score weighting to estimate the dosage effects of the CPC program. In this data set, children were not randomly assigned to full- or half-day schedules, introducing a potential source of selection bias. Employing propensity score analysis to predict the probability of dosage level, we can potentially minimize this source of bias.
Using a sample of 2,630 predominantly low-income, three- and four-year- old children in urban Chicago, we analyze the impacts of full- and half-day schedules on school readiness, parent involvement, and attendance rates. We also examine the impacts of dosage effects by subgroup, including three- versus four-year-olds. Preliminary results suggest that full-day students score higher on measures of early achievement than both their half-day and no-prekindergarten peers; half-day students also score higher than the no Pre-K group. Although both half-and full-day schedules of the CPC program provide benefits to the children who attend, full-day programs can make a significant difference above and beyond half-day programs for low-income, urban students.