The primary goal of this case study research is to determine the effects of preschool on the academic success of public school students in Kindergarten and to identify key factors that contribute to academic success. The first phase of the study will focus on building a longitudinal model on historical data obtained from the Columbus City Schools. We are interested in identifying preschool factors for the 2011-2012 student cohort that predict student academic success in Kindergarten the following year (2012-2013). Academic success will be measured by the DIBELS, KRA-L, Get It, Got It, Go and ASQ assessment tests. Potential predictors include, student- (gender, outcome measures), familial- (socio-economic status, number of siblings), and teacher-level (education, experience) variables. This analysis will be used to rank the preschool classrooms for 2012-2013 with respect to academic performance holding other factors equal.
The second phase of the study will be comprised of classroom observations and interviews conducted by the Strategic Research Group (SRG). The Success Case Method (Brinkerhoff, 2003) will be employed to find out how well the 2013-2014 preschool cohort is being prepared for Kindergarten. SRG will identify and explain the contextual and environmental factors that differentiate the top and bottom five classrooms identified by the first phase of the study.
The third phase of the study will entail the development of an assessment protocol (e.g., a survey, checklist) that can be used to assess gaps in current early education classrooms. The new instrument will be administered to classroom teachers, parents, or school principals with the additional data from this effort incorporated into the statistical model.