Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Marilyn Simon

Abstract

Early childhood development programs enhance children's development of knowledge, skills, and processes. Despite efforts to improve early childhood education in the United States, poor student performance in early literacy and kindergarten achievement is still occurring, and questions remain unanswered about the utility of early childhood education programs. Drawing from the theory of constructivism, the purpose of this quantitative, quasi-experimental, retrospective study was to determine the effectiveness of early childhood programs on the literacy achievement of kindergarten children. The research question addressed the differences in literacy achievement of kindergarten children based on the early childhood programs they attended. Using repeated measures analysis of variance tests for 501 student test scores, no significant interaction effects existed between program participation and gains across time for prewriting (F [2, 998] = 0.87, p = .42), cognitive (F [2, 998] = 0.84, p = .43), or language (F [2, 998] = 1.26, p = .28). However, using the Pearson correlation coefficient, younger participants had significantly more gain from pretest to posttest for prewriting (r [499] = â??.14, p = .002) and cognitive (r [499] = â??.21, p = .001) but less gain for language (r [499] = .10, p = .03). Knowing that literacy achievement can be improved in an early childhood setting contributes to the knowledge base on the effects of early learning. Educators could benefit from these findings when implementing early childhood policies and adopting effective practices to help develop successful readers in kindergarten and beyond.