Study: Full-time Kindergarten May Benefit Idaho Students | Local
Bluum’s research on Idaho schools shows positive effects of stronger early education on students as lawmakers prepare to discuss funding for full-time kindergarten in 2022 legislative session .
At a press conference this week, Bluum presented data from the 2018-19 school year to the 2020-21 school year that shows how students in full-time kindergarten and part-time kindergarten performed. reading and how this affected learning up to grade two. .
Bluum is a nonprofit organization that partners with the JA and the Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation to support education in Idaho. The research for the study was carried out by Public Impact in North Carolina.
Full-time kindergarten students made more progress than part-day students, sometimes even among those who started at a lower proficiency level. In the fall of 2020, full-time kindergarten students were in the 46th percentile, then in the spring of 2021 in the 52nd percentile. Part-time kindergarten students started at the 54th percentile and dropped to the 52nd percentile. As students progress through Grades 1 and 2, the gap between students attending full-time kindergarten and part-time kindergarten narrowed to a 5 point gap by the end of Grade 2. year in 2021.
Bryan Hassell of Public Impact explained the gap as being like a relay race, where the first runner makes great strides and then the next three runners fall behind. The objective is to help maintain the progress of the first runner so that the next three do not fall too far behind.
Progress is mainly seen among economically disadvantaged students who start at a lower average. These students improved the most, going from the 35th percentile to the 43rd percentile for full-time kindergarten.
Full-time kindergarten also has other non-academic outcomes such as building students’ self-confidence and helping with the acquisition of social skills.
Hassle said the outcome-based implications mean Idaho should consider requiring and funding all-day kindergarten for districts, focus on policy to improve grades 1 through 3 and learn what works best for kindergarten programs in Idaho schools.
“From our perspective, full-time kindergarten has been a huge benefit to the students and families of the Lewiston School District,” said Lewiston School District Superintendent Lance Hansen. “It would be huge for the state to step up and see this as a commitment to early learning for students.”
Full-time kindergarten helps identify and meet student needs and lays the foundation for learning, he said. With part-time kindergarten, 2.5 hours are divided between different types of learning such as language, arts and math; full-time kindergarten increases instructional time for all of these learning skills, as well as others.
“When you double that (time) there can be nothing more than a greater benefit for the student,” Hansen said.