The current literature records mixed effects of early childhood education on child development. In this work, I investigated long-term effects of higher-quality early education, especially higher-quality pre-Kindergarten - grade 3 education, on children's cognitive, academic, behavioral, and resilience development using the longitudinal data collected in the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 2000). Multiple imputation procedures were used to handle the difficulty of missing data, and propensity score matching technique was implemented to facilitate causal inference for the effect of higher-quality education experience on study participants' development. There were five main conclusions. First, null findings on effects of higher-quality pre-Kindergarten education were consistent with most existing findings that preschool education alone was unlikely to have a sustaining positive influence on enrolled children's development. Second, there was clear evidence that higher-quality pre-Kindergarten - grade 3 education was effective in promoting child long-term development in various areas. Third, there was evidence to support the proposition that higher-quality early elementary education provided additional benefits on top of higher-quality pre-kindergarten experience. Fourth, I did not find convincing evidence that at-risk children harvested more benefits from higher-quality early education than their more advantaged peers. Fifth, while good pre-Kindergarten - grade 3 education was found to support healthy child development, its positive effects could not fully compensate for the negative influences of risk factors. Limitations of the study and the outlooks for future research directions are identified.
|Advisor:||Simeonsson, Rune J.|
|Commitee:||Burchinal, Margaret R., Henry, Gary T., Ji, Chuanshu, Palsha, Sharon A., Simeonsson, Rune J.|
|School:||The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|
|Department:||Education: Doctorate/Master's in Education|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational evaluation, Early childhood education, Quantitative psychology|
|Keywords:||At risk, Early childhood education evaluation, Education on at risk children, Multiple imputation, Prek to grade 3 education, Propensity score matching, Resilience development|
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