The Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP) is an early childhood education (ECE) intervention targeting low-income children’s school readiness. It is a cluster-randomized controlled trial that included four key components:
- professional development sessions for teachers on reducing behavioral problems and supporting self-regulated learning behaviors,
- mental health consultants’ regular visits to coach teachers,
- stress-reduction workshops for teachers,
- direct services to families with children with special learning needs.
Watts and colleagues evaluated the effects of the CSRP on school choice over 10 years after the intervention ended. Data were collected from 442 students who participated in the program at ages 3, 4 or 5 in 2004 – 2005 or 2005 – 2006. The students were attending high school at different grade levels during the 2016 – 2017 academic year (grade 9: 26%; grade 10: 43%; grade 11: 30%; grade 12: 1%). To estimate the program’s impact, the researchers regressed each outcome variable relating to school type and school quality on treatment status and the baseline controls collected at preschool entry.
The results show a higher tendency among students who participated in the program to withdraw from assigned neighborhood schools and attend higher-performing schools. These school enrollment patterns began in elementary school. Therefore, the researchers argue that intensive ECE interventions could have lasting effects on children’s environmental selection patterns in later educational stages.
However, future research is needed to examine (1) the long-term impact of the school enrolment patterns reported here on students, (2) if the higher-performing schools have positive effects on students enrolled in the program, and (3) the specific processes that led to the different school enrolment patterns reported here.
Source: Watts, T., Ibrahim, D., Khader, A., Li, C., Gandhi, J., & Raver, C. (2020). Exploring the impacts of an early childhood educational intervention on later school selection. Educational Researcher, 49(9), 667–677. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X20935060