Impacts of New Mexico PreK on Children’s School Readiness at Kindergarten Entry: Results from the Second Year of a Growing Initiative
by Jason T. Hustedt, W. Steven Barnett, Kwanghee Jung and Alexandra Figueras
This is the second report from an ongoing NIEER study of New Mexico 4-year-olds who attended the state’s pre-K initiative. The new findings show that in its second year of existence, the New Mexico PreK program continued to improve language, literacy and math development for the children who attended the program.
The NIEER study found that as a result of attending the New Mexico program at age 4:
- Children’s vocabulary scores increased by about 6 raw score points due to their participation in the program, representing a statistically significant improvement. This outcome is particularly important because the measure is indicative of general cognitive abilities and predictive of becoming a successful reader.
- Children’s early math scores increased by more than 2 raw score points due to their participation in New Mexico PreK. This is also statistically significant. Early math skills assessed included simple addition and subtraction, basic number concepts, telling time and counting money.
- Children’s scores on early literacy rose by about 14 percentage points for children attending compared to those who did not attend. Children who attended New Mexico PreK knew more letters, more letter-sound associations and were more familiar with words and book concepts.
The study estimated the effects of preschool education programs on entering kindergartners’ academic skills. Researchers collected data from samples of preschool and kindergarten children with the assistance of the New Mexico Public Education Department and the Children, Youth and Families Department.