Date of Award

Spring 1-2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Donna Nack

Second Advisor

Dr. Deb Ayres

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom


Schools are seeking ways to address the achievement gap and yield increased performance for students to meet expectations outlined in NCLB. An examination of efficacy of pre-k program delivery models within a given community might assist districts in determining where to focus energy in an attempt to address the existing achievement gap. Many school districts overlook the years preceding kindergarten as a time to concentrate on needs of the student population. To determine if a relationship existed between the type of pre-k program attended and the level of academic success as well as social competency as measured by office discipline referrals in the early elementary years (k–3), student performance on AIMSweb benchmarking items, Missouri Assessment Program scores, and the number of office discipline referrals received per year were examined among three groups: former district-affiliated pre-k participants, former community-based pre-k participants, and former home participants. In addition, interviews were conducted with parents and kindergarten teachers. The independent variable in the study was participation for a minimum of one year in the district-affiliated pre-k program. The dependent variables in this study were AIMSweb benchmarking scores, Missouri Assessment Program scores, and the number of office discipline referrals received. A single factor ANOVA determined that there was a significant difference in performance between the former district-affiliated program participants and those who spent their pre-k years learning primarily in the home environment. This difference was most apparent on the data analyzed at the third grade level. The overall analysis of the data demonstrated that the former district-affiliated participants performed at a similar level to those who participated in a community-based pre-k program. Results indicate that educational decision makers might benefit from an analysis of pre-k programming within their own community. This analysis might result in an understanding of the percentage of the population that is accessing pre-k programming and the percentage that is not participating in formal programming. It might also inform the district as to the most efficacious delivery model for their given population. They could utilize this information to determine if prekindergarten programming should become a focus from the school district perspective.


Copyright 2010