Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Anthony Colella, Ph.D

Committee Member

Christopher Tienken, Ed.D

Committee Member

Debra Miller, Ed.D

Committee Member

Ruth Tice, Ed.D

Keywords

full-day kindergarten, half-day kindergarten, reading achievement, DIBELS Next

Abstract

Kindergarten policies at both the state and local levels differ significantly, including areas such as availability, length of day, entry assessments, quality of instruction, class size, funding, teacher preparation and licensure, and curriculum. Despite this, the nation’s governors and education commissioners came together to approve the Common Core State Standards, a set of clear college-and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English Language Arts and Mathematics.

This research was designed to investigate the difference, if any, in the reading achievement of students who attended full-day kindergarten versus students who attended half-day programs. Data included results of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) Next assessment. The participants were two independent cohorts of general education elementary school students in kindergarten. Students who attended the elementary school for half-day kindergarten during the 2012-2013 school year comprised Cohort 1 (n=111 ) in District A. Cohort 2 was represented by students who attended a different elementary school in District B for full-day kindergarten during the 2012-2013 school year (n=119). Pairwise comparisons were analyzed at three time points: BOY-MOY, MOY-EOY, and BOY-EOY (Beginning of year, middle of year, end of year) for all available data. Two different kinds of data required different kinds of analyses. First, score data were a continuous variable and were analyzed with ANCOVA. An analysis of covariance was employed to determine the effect of the independent variable on the average value of the dependent variable. Second, level data were originally presented as text data (nominal). The data were converted to an ordinal variable and analyzed with logistic regression, which provided results that can be interpreted exactly the same as the ANCOVA results. A secondary analysis analyzing effect sizes was also calculated.

Overall findings from the data that were collected and analyzed revealed that, although participation in full-day kindergarten had higher mean scores than half-day programs in all but one comparison, only a few DIBELS Next measures showed significant gains for full-day over half-day. One measure showed very small significant gains for half-day rather than full-day. These findings were similar with the gender comparisons. The general pattern of full-day doing better than half-day with small insignificant differences across a large number of variables was seen for both males and females.

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