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|Contact: Christine Payton||Oct. 18, 2007|
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|CENTER FOR CHILD DEVELOPMENT REPORTS TO STATE’S TOP EDUCATION BOARD ON LOUISIANA’S PRE-K PROGRAM
| BATON ROUGE, LA –A highly anticipated report by the Center for Child Development at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on the impact of Louisiana’s nationally acclaimed pre-kindergarten program was presented to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) in Baton Rouge today. The report shows the educational gains made by students enrolled in the state’s PreK program, LA 4, translate into better performance on the iLEAP tests, the state’s 3rd grade statewide assessment.
Additionally, the report confirms reductions in retention rates, closure of the achievement gap and fewer special education referrals and placements for students who attend a high-quality PreK program. The results also show several years of sustained growth for LA 4 participants in the areas of language, print and mathematics.
Annual evaluation of the LA 4 program is provided by the Center for Child Development at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. This marks the sixth consecutive year that the Center has provided research and evaluation to the Louisiana Department of Education and BESE in the area of early childhood education. The Center for Child Development at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette teams with Dr. Craig Ramey, The Georgetown Distinguished Professor of Health and Education Director and the University of Alabama Center on Education Accountability in its analysis of LA 4 data. LA 4 served more than 10,000 students statewide in 2006-2007. The findings show:
• 67.4% of students who participated in a full year of LA 4 in 2002-03 scored Basic and above on the iLEAP in English Language Arts, compared to 57.9% of students who had no public PreK.
• 68.3% of students who participated in a full year of LA 4 in 2002-03 scored Basic or above on the iLEAP in mathematics, compared to 57.4% of students who had no public PreK.
• Only 10.3% of students who participated in a full year of LA 4 in 2002-3 and were eligible for free and reduced meals scored Unsatisfactory in the iLEAP, compared to 19.5% of students who had no public PreK.
• Students who participated in LA 4 in 2002-03 and were eligible for free and reduced meals showed a 27% reduction in kindergarten retention compared to students who had no public PreK. Results are similar in first and second grades as well.
• Students who participated in LA 4 in 2004-05 and were eligible for free and reduced meals showed a 35% reduction in special education placement in first grade. Results are similar in other cohorts as well.
• LA 4 students from 2006-07 began the school year scoring in the lowest quartile for math, language and print. But after one year, scored above the national average for Pre-K students.
• For 2006-2007, Louisiana students improved from the 10th percentile in the pre-test to the 50th percentile in the post-test in language, matching the last four years’ performance.
• For 2006-07, language test scores from both black and white students from varying incomes indicate a narrowing of the achievement gap.
• For 2006-2007, Louisiana students improved from the 11th percentile to the 59th percentile in print, matching the last four year’s performance.
• For 2006-2007, Louisiana students improved from the 5th percentile to the 52nd percentile in math, marking the third time math scores reached and surpassed the national average.
• Students exposed to both LA 4 and Reading First perform better than students who have participated in neither.
“ In my opinion, Louisiana has consistently implemented the highest quality PreK program in the history of the United States,” said Dr. Craig Ramey. “It has done this while at the same time scaling up the number of children being served each year. I believe that Louisiana has much practical wisdom to offer to other states who seek to better serve children needing additional support to be ready for school,” Ramey said.
“ This news comes on the heels of a large investment in LA 4 by the Governor and legislature, an investment that helped us expand the program to approximately 13,000 at-risk 4-year-olds this school year,” said State Superintendent of Education Paul G. Pastorek. “I am gratified to see the proof that the investment in LA 4 is paying dividends and believe that our concentration on Early Child Education along with High School Redesign will help us reach our goal of creating a world-class education system in Louisiana.”
“ I am especially pleased to see that some of greatest improvement can be seen in children who qualify for free and reduced lunch,” said State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Linda Johnson. “These results show that early childhood education really can help children overcome the disadvantage of poverty so they can come to school ready to succeed. It is truly a success story,” Johnson emphasized.
“ As a research center for children we are most enthusiastic about the future research implications of this work,” said Center for Child Development Director Billy Ray Stokes. “Clearly, we have reaching a milestone in validating the improvement of these students at the 3rd grade. Now we are interested in knowing whether this improvement can be maintained by students through middle and high school, and then beyond into college. We believe it will and we will continue to track these students in order to verify that it does,” Stokes noted.
Ninety-three percent of Louisiana school districts are participating in LA 4 for 2007-08. The only districts in the state not participating are Allen, Beauregard, Franklin, St. Charles and West Feliciana Parishes. However, some of these parishes provide high-quality preschool programs on their own.
The Center for Child Development at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is a multi-disciplinary group of evaluation and research professionals that focus on early childhood, K-12 education, and life-long learning. The Center provides high-quality, rigorous evaluation of programs at the local, state and national level that are implemented to address learning from birth through adulthood. Applied research is continually conducted in all areas of child education, health, and well-being to ensure a prosperous and healthy future for all of Louisiana's children.
“ This is a great day for research at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette,” said Stokes. “We think this report is an indicator of the type of high quality research that the university can produce for our state in an effort to improve all our lives.”
Document last revised Monday, October 22, 2007 10:55 AM
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