School Readiness Research

Can Intensive Early Childhood Intervention Programs Eliminate Income-Based Cognitive and Achievement Gaps?

Authors: Greg J. Duncan, University of California, Irvine, and Aaron J. Sojourner, University of Minnesota.
Published: May 2012, UC Irvine Center for Economics and Public Policy

Here's the research

By how much would an intensive two-year center-based intervention, begun at age 1, close income-based gaps in cognitive ability and school readiness? This paper considers both a universal and targeted version of the program, where the targeted version offers the intervention only to children in families with incomes up to 180 percent of the poverty line. Estimates are generated from data drawn from the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP).

Investing in Our Young People

Authors: Flavio Cunha, University of Pennsylvania, and James J. Heckman, University of Chicago
Published: July 2010, National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper

Here's the research

This paper explores the value of noncognitive skills, such as dependability and persistence that children develop in preschool. While pre-K may not always raise IQ, it can help children develop self-control and other skills that are crucial to success in school and in life.

The Role of Family and Home in the Literacy Development of Children from Low-Income Backgrounds

Authors: Stacey A. Storch and Grover Whitehurst, State University of New York, Stony Brook
Published: Summer 2001, New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development

Here's the research

The authors propose and test a model of individual differences in the development of emerging literacy. The model offers a way to evaluate how aspects of the home environment contribute to children's emerging literacy skills. It also explains the relationship between family environment and different aspects of emerging literacy.

The 30 Million Word Gap: the role of parent-child verbal interaction in language and literacy development

Authors: GLR Campaign, synthesis of research begun by Betty Hart and Todd Risley, University of Kansas
Published: unknown

Here's the research

An update on research first published by University of Kansas researchers in 1995 highlighting the close link between children’s academic success at ages 9 and 10 and their verbal interaction with their parents during their early years. The researchers documented that the vast gap in the amount of words and language heard by poor children and their wealthier peers from birth until age 3 leads to developmental delays that then predict a tougher climb to literacy.

Attendance Research

Race Matters in Early School Attendance

Authors: the Race Matters Institute
Published: January 2013

Here's the research

This research notes the greater prevalence of chronic absence among African-American and Latino students and examines the barriers that contribute to the problem.

Early Elementary Performance and Attendance in Baltimore City Schools’ Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten

Authors: Faith Connolly and Linda S. Olson, Baltimore Education Research Consortium
Published: March 2012

Here's the research

This research shows that students who are chronically absent in pre-K and kindergarten have the worst outcomes for future attendance, retention and standardized tests.

Attendance in Early Elementary Grades: Association with Student Characteristics, School Readiness, and Third Grade Outcomes

Authors: Prepared by Applied Survey Research for Attendance Works
Published: July 2011

Here's the research

This research shows that students who arrived at school academically ready to learn—but then missed 10 percent of their kindergarten and first-grade years—scored, on average, 60 points below similar students with good attendance on third-grade reading tests.

Present, Engaged, and Accounted for: The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades

Authors: Hedy N. Chang, of Attendance Works, and Mariajosé Romero
Published: September 2008

Here's the research

This seminal research shows that one in 10 kindergarten and first grade students misses 10 percent of school, and that these absences can affect academic performance.

Summer Learning Research

Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning

Authors: Jennifer Sloan McCombs, Catherine H. Augustine, Heather L. Schwartz et al., RAND Corporation
Published: June 2011

Here's the research

This study from the RAND Corporation examines students’ loss of knowledge and educational skills during the summer months. The study, commissioned by the Wallace Foundation, finds that this loss is cumulative over the course of a student’s career and further widens the achievement gap.

Lasting Consequences of the Summer Learning Gap

Authors: Karl L. Alexander, Doris R. Entwisle, Linda Steffel Olson, Johns Hopkins University
Published: 2007, American Sociological Review 

Here's the research

This research explores the role summer learning loss plays in exacerbating the achievement gap among poor children and their more affluent peers. Alexander’s research links a lack of academic achievement and high dropout rate to summertime learning loss. The research also shows that youth from low-income families suffer significantly from a loss of academic skills during the summer.

All Work and No Play?

Authors: Ann Duffett, Jean Johnson, Steve Farkas, Susanna Kung, Amber Ott, Public Agenda
Published: 2004

Here's the research

This research explores how young people spend time when they are not in school and what youngsters and their parents want from out-of-school-time activities.

More than a Hunch: Kids Lose Learning Skills Over the Summer

Authors: The National Summer Learning Association
Published: unknown

Here's the research

This piece includes an interview with Harris Cooper of Duke University and details his pioneering research from 1996 and 2000 (when at the University of Missouri) that found that in reading, children from middle-class families hold their own during the summer. But children from low-income families lose reading and spelling skills during the summer, serving as a possible explanation for the achievement gap between those who have financial resources and those who don’t. It also showed that summer learning programs have a significant positive effect.