Increased awareness regarding the effectiveness of educational programs has been generated from recent legislative mandates. Given the significance of kindergarten as the foundation for academic learning, it is critical to evaluate whether district-created programs for entering students who are identified as at-risk are effectively meeting their needs. The current program evaluation study investigated the immediate and long-term effects of an extended-day intervention for kindergarten students identified as at-risk in one school district. Through archival data analysis, students who participated in the extended-day kindergarten (EDK; n=26) intervention beginning in the fall of 2000 and 2001 were compared with a control group of gender- and age-matched students who attended half-day kindergarten (HDK; n=26) on a number of school-related measures, including academic achievement, IQ, behavior ratings, attendance, and referral to and participation in additional school supports. The intervention incorporated some evidence-based strategies for students who are at-risk, such as lower student to teacher ratio and small group reading support with a phonics-focus. Findings indicate that students who participated in the intervention were not significantly different from comparison students on the majority of academic achievement and behavior variables. Differences, however, emerged on group achievement test scores across short-term (ITBS reading and language, NYS ELA), intermediate (ELA and math), and long-term outcomes (ELA and science) on which the intervention group scored lower. A significantly higher percentage of intervention students received remediation in reading during the early and intermediate grades, remediation in math during middle and high school, special education services, and were classified as students with learning disabilities. On group IQ tests, the intervention group scored lower on verbal and quantitative scales, but no differences emerged on nonverbal scales. The district's kindergarten screening appears to be effectively identifying students who are at-risk for learning difficulties. Future research might address limitations of this study by including a matched, at-risk comparison group and more specific behavioral ratings. Implications for the district highlight the predictive validity of kindergarten screening and early intervention effectiveness. Implications for the field of school psychology focus on data-based decision making, training in program evaluation, screening, and service delivery for this population.
|Advisor:||Kundert, Deborah K.|
|Commitee:||May, Deborah, Williams, Stacy|
|School:||State University of New York at Albany|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-B 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational psychology, Developmental psychology, Psychology|
|Keywords:||At-risk, Kindergarten, Program evaluation, School psychology|
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