In Reversal, Kindergarten Readiness Gaps Narrow
 
Overview: Recent Trends in Income, Racial, and Ethnic School Readiness Gaps at Kindergarten Entry
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Published in:
AERA Open
August 26, 2016

Sean F. Reardon, Stanford University
Ximena A. Portilla, MDRC

Abstract

Academic achievement gaps between high- and low-income students born in the 1990s were much larger than among cohorts born two decades earlier. During the same period, racial/ethnic achievement gaps declined. To determine whether these trends have continued in more recent cohorts, we examine trends in several dimensions of school readiness, including academic achievement, self-control, externalizing behavior, and a measure of students’ “approaches to learning,” for cohorts born from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s. We use data from nationally-representative samples of kindergarteners (ages 5-6) in 1998 (n=20,220), 2006 (n=6,600), and 2010 (n=16,980) to estimate trends in racial/ethnic and income school readiness gaps. We find that readiness gaps narrowed modestly from 1998-2010, particularly between high- and low-income students and between white and Hispanic students.


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Overview: Socioeconomic Gaps in Early Childhood Experiences, 1998 to 2010
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Published in:
AERA Open
August 26, 2016

Daphna Bassok, University of Virginia
Jenna E. Finch, Stanford University
RaeHyuck Lee, Columbia University
Sean F. Reardon, Stanford University
Jane Waldfogel, Columbia University

Abstract

Using two nationally-representative datasets, this study compares early life experiences of kindergarteners in 1998 and 2010. We find that young children in the later period are exposed to more books and reading in the home, they have more access to educational games on computers, and they engage with their parents more, both inside and outside the home. Although these increases occurred among both low and high-income children, in many cases the biggest changes were seen among the lowestincome children. Our results indicate a narrowing but still large early childhood parental investment gaps. In addition, socioeconomic gaps in preschool participation grew over this period, despite substantial investments in public preschool. Implications for early socioeconomic achievement gaps are discussed.



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News Coverage
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Author Interview
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Watch Sean F. Reardon discuss the study's findings

 
 
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