Lee, Valerie E., Burkham, David T., Ready, Douglas D., Honigman, Joann, & Meisels, Samuel J.
Full-Day Versus Half-Day Kindergarten: In Which Program Do Children Learn More?
University of Michigan, University of Oregon
- Do young children who attend public schools that offer full-day kindergarten programs learn more over the school year, in terms of achievement in the domains of literacy and mathematics, than their counterparts who attend schools with half-day programs?
- Are the learning benefits associated with enrollment in public schools offering full-day or half-day kindergarten different for schools of varying academic composition or in schools with different social compositions?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
American Journal of Education
Vol. 112, No. 2, Pp. 163-208
- Over the kindergarten year, girls learn slightly more than boys in literacy but not math; the same pattern occurs for Asians compared to Whites. Black children learn less than their White counterparts on both tests.
- Age is significantly related to learning in math but not literacy. Children who repeat kindergarten learn less than their first-time counterparts in both subjects.
- Student SES is positively but modestly associated with learning in both reading and math subjects.
- Children who attend schools that offer full-day kindergarten learn more in both literacy and math net of children’s social and academic backgrounds and of characteristics of their schools.
- The effect on learning of attending a school offering full-day kindergarten differs according to region of the country.
- The full-day advantage also varies depending upon the racial composition of the school. There is a consistent full-day kindergarten advantage in literacy learning for children in schools that enroll 50 percent or fewer minority students or in schools with minority enrollments over 75 percent.
- In schools enrolling 51-75 percent minority students, children learn the same amount whether in half-day or full-day kindergarten schools (due to the unusually high literacy performance of children in half day programs in such schools). In the full-day kindergarten mathematics learning is nearly double in schools that enroll 26-50 percent minority students, due to the unusually low mathematics performance of children in half-day schools with those racial compositions.
- These results highlight the learning advantages that accrue to children who attend kindergarten in schools that offer it on a full-day basis. The benefits associated with a full day of kindergarten are not confined to disadvantages children or to low-income or urban schools, all children benefit as far as learning more when they attend kindergarten on a full-day basis.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, African American, Kindergarten, Math, Racial Composition, Reading
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- The researchers used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K) data- kindergarten class of 1998-99. Data for this study was taken from the first two waves of ECLS-K, in the fall and spring of kindergarten. The final analytic sample included 8,455 kindergarten students in 504 public schools.
- Literacy assessment scores
- Mathematics assessment scores
- Full-day (whether the school offered kindergarten for a full day or a half day), urbanicity, region, grades school served, minority percent enrollment, school average SES.
- Gender, race/ethnicity, SES, non-English speaking household, age, academic background (repeaters vs. first-timers), entry level reading and math scores, test timing gap.