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Articles written by NIEER and published by outside organizations

Journal Articles

Benefits of compensatory preschool education.


February 22, 2018

By Barnett, W. S. (1992).

Although there is widespread agreement that compensatory preschool education can produce short-term gains in test scores, its ability to produce meaningful long-term improvements in educational and economic success has been questioned. This paper reviews the evidence regarding long-term effects, including a classical experiment and benefit-cost analysis. It is concluded that compensatory preschool education can produce long-term gains in school success through contributions to cognitive abilities not adequately measured by intelligence (IQ) tests. Greater educational success is accompanied by substantial improvements in social and economic outcomes including employment, teen pregnancy, and welfare assistance.