Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Early Education Interventions on Cognitive and Social Development
December 15, 2017
By Camilli, G., Vargas, S., Ryan, S., & Barnett, W.S. (2010).
There is much current interest in the impact of early childhood education programs on preschoolers and, in particular, on the magnitude of cognitive and affective gains. To address this issue comprehensively, a meta-analysis was conducted for the purpose of synthesizing the outcomes of comparative studies in this area. A total of 123 comparative studies of early childhood interventions were analyzed. The meta-analytic database included both quasi-experimental and randomized studies. Consistent with the accrued research base on the effects of preschool education, significant effects were found in this study for children who attend a preschool program prior to entering kindergarten. Although the largest effect sizes were observed for cognitive outcomes, a preschool education was also found to impact children’s social skills and school progress. Specific aspects of the treatments that positively correlated with gains included teacher-directed instruction and small-group instruction, but provision of additional services tended to be associated with smaller gains.
W. Steven (Steve) Barnett is a Board of Governors Professor and the founder and Senior Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. Dr. Barnett’s work primarily focuses on public policies regarding early childhood education, child care, and child development.