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Articles written by NIEER and published by outside organizations

Journal Articles

Why pre-k is critical to closing the achievement gap.


December 15, 2017

By Frede, E. & Barnett, W. S. (2011).

The recently released results of the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) comparison of educational achievement across 65 countries has brought renewed attention to the achievement gap and recommended changes to improve U.S. performance. The U.S. was well down in the middle of the pack for reading, math, and science while Shanghai, a Chinese city with a population equal to that of New York, was at the top of the leader board. If American schools are going to close the achievement gap and move toward the top of the international achievement comparisons, widespread access to high-quality preschool will have to be one of the reforms that schools implement. If principals take the steps outlined in this article, they will shortly find test scores rising, grade retention falling, and special education loads might even decline.