Stability in the Transition from Pre-Kindergarten to Kindergarten: Implications for Children’s School Readiness and Early School Performance



Hines, Caitlin

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School mobility is inversely associated with income and has negative effects on school achievement, however previous research has not investigated the impact of mobility between public school pre-kindergarten (pre-K) and kindergarten on later academic outcomes. Using data from the Miami School Readiness Project (MSRP), I examined a large (N = 18,775) and ethnically diverse (34.7% Black, 54.9% Latino, 10.4% White/other) sample of children who attended public school pre-K and kindergarten in Miami between the school years of 2002 to 2007. I addressed the following research questions: (1) What proportion of children attending public school pre-kindergarten programs in Miami switch to a different public school for kindergarten? (2) How do the children that switch schools differ from those children who do not switch schools regarding gender, race, poverty status, ELL status, and developmental assessments administered at age three or four? (3) After controlling for the differences in demographics and pre-K assessment scores between those that do and do not move, how do the outcomes between children who switch and children who do not switch from pre-kindergarten to kindergarten differ at the end of kindergarten and at the end of first grade? (4) Does pre-K school quality predict switching schools between public school pre-K and kindergarten? (5) Does the direction and magnitude of school quality change moderate the effects of switching schools between pre-K and kindergarten and later school performance? Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that even after accounting for demographic variables (e.g. free/reduced lunch, gender, ethnicity, and ELL status), those receiving free/reduced lunch and Blacks (compared to Latinos and Whites) had increased odds of switching schools, and ELLs had decreased odds of switching schools between public pre-K and kindergarten. Further analyses revealed that switching schools between public pre-K and kindergarten negatively predicted academic outcomes in first grade, but not in Kindergarten. Results also indicate that lower school quality in pre-K increased the odds of switching schools, and that initial school quality in pre-K and the school quality change between pre-K and kindergarten positively predicted first grade academic outcomes. Implications of school mobility between public pre-K and kindergarten and early school quality are discussed.



School readiness, Developmental psychology, Pre-Kindergarten, Low-income children