Research reports on early education from NIEER and outside organizations

Research Reports

The New Mexico PreK Evaluation: Results from the Initial Four Years of a New State Preschool Initiative

November 1, 2009
OutcomesState & LocalState Pre-K Evaluations

This summary report on the initial phase of NIEER's New Mexico Pre-K study finds significantly improved language, literacy, and math for the children who attended over children who did not and an estimated rate of return is $5 for every $1 invested.

The New Mexico PreK Evaluation: Results from the Initial Four Years of a New State Preschool Initiative

By Jason T. Hustedt, W. Steven Barnett, Kwanghee Jung, and Linda D. Goetze
November 2009

State-funded prekindergarten programs now play a major role in children’s educational experiences during the year before kindergarten entry. Established in 2005, New Mexico’s state-funded prekindergarten initiative, New Mexico PreK, is one of the most recently started prekindergarten initiatives in the United States and has expanded quickly during the past four years.

The state of New Mexico funded the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) to carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the New Mexico PreK initiative, beginning in its first year of operation. This evaluation has included four main components:

  1. Examining the benefits received by children who participate in PreK
  2. Investigating PreK classroom quality
  3. Conducting an analysis of the economic impacts of the PreK program
  4. Gathering information about parent and provider perceptions toward the PreK
    initiative through focus groups

Key findings from this research include:

  • New Mexico PreK produces meaningful impacts on young children’s language, literacy, and math development
  • Overall classroom quality is good, but some improvements are needed, particularly in classroom support for early mathematics
  • Impacts of PreK and classroom quality are similar for PreK program sites administered by the state Public Education Department and the state Children, Youth and Families Department
  • An estimated $5 in benefits is generated in New Mexico for every dollar invested in New Mexico PreK

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