Is Full Better than Half? Examining the Longitudinal Effects of Full-Day Kindergarten Attendance

44 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2005

See all articles by Jill S. Cannon

Jill S. Cannon

RAND Corporation

Alison Jacknowitz

American University - Kogod School of Business; American University - School of Public Affairs

Gary Painter

University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy

Date Written: May 2005

Abstract

Kindergarten policy varies widely both across and within states. As high-stakes testing become more important, more attention is being paid to the delivery of early education, and more states and districts are considering moving to full-day kindergarten to increase the educational attainment of students. This paper uses the Early Child Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort to evaluate the efficacy of this policy. In ordinary least squares, probit, county-fixed effects, and instrumental variable models, we find that there are initial benefits for students and the mothers of students that attend full-day kindergarten, but that these differences largely evaporate by third grade. The only effect of full-day kindergarten attendance on boys is to increase the prevalence of severe external behavioral problems, whereas there is some evidence that girls who attend full-day kindergarten have increases in math scores that persist through third grade. Finally, attending full-day kindergarten is found to have no additional effect on students in families with income below the poverty threshold, despite claims by some advocates that full-day programs are beneficial for the most disadvantaged students.

Keywords: School attendance, education-demographic aspects, students-social conditions

JEL Classification: I21

Suggested Citation

Cannon, Jill S. and Jacknowitz, Alison and Painter, Gary, Is Full Better than Half? Examining the Longitudinal Effects of Full-Day Kindergarten Attendance (May 2005). RAND Working Paper Series No. WR-266, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=755029 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.755029

Jill S. Cannon (Contact Author)

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
PO Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

Alison Jacknowitz

American University - Kogod School of Business ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20816-8044
United States

American University - School of Public Affairs ( email )

Washington, DC 20016
United States

Gary Painter

University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States
213-740-8754 (Phone)
213-740-0001 (Fax)

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