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Study finds that Alabama prekindergarten boosts math, reading


February 28, 2018
Mike Cason
AL.com

A study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama found that students in Alabama’s prekindergarten program are stronger in reading and math than their peers when they reach third grade, the governor’s office said in a press release today.

The study, based on reviews of standardized tests scores, found that participation in the voluntary First Class Pre-K program benefited children in poverty and minority children.

Among the key findings were that Pre-K participation:

  • Narrowed the gap in reading proficiency by 28 percent for all children in poverty; 32 percent for white children in poverty; 31 percent for Hispanic children in poverty; and 26 percent for black children in poverty.
  • Narrowed the gap in math proficiency by 57 percent for all children in poverty; 71 percent for Hispanic children in poverty; and, 37 percent for black children in poverty.
  • Increased reading proficiency for children in poverty by 12 percent overall; 25 percent for Hispanic children in poverty; 23 percent for black children in poverty; and 3 percent for white children in poverty.
  • Increased math proficiency for children in poverty by 13 percent overall; 17 percent for Hispanic children in poverty; 16 percent for black children in poverty; and, 10 percent for white children in poverty.

Gov. Kay Ivey said the study shows that the prekindergarten program is working.

“Now we must work to take the methods of instruction in Pre-K and implement them into kindergarten, first, second and third grade classrooms,” Ivey said in the press release. “Success breeds success and a strong educational foundation is the basis for the success of all Alabamians in the future.”