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Preschool Shows Promise For Cincinnati Students


Updated: Thursday 10:22 a.m.

A new Cincinnati study shows low income and black children benefit the most from being in preschool.

Several local organizations partnered to review Cincinnati Public Schools Kindergarten Readiness Assessment - Literacy (KRA-L). Kindergartners take the KRA-L before November so teachers can assess and teach to the instructional level of students. The data follows students who took the test in 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years up until high school

CPS, Success by 6, Cincinnati's Children Hospital and United Way say the goal of the collaboration is to understand the long-term impact preschool enrollment and kindergarten readiness have on students. 

The study shows preschool increases children's kindergarten readiness. Kindergarten readiness predicted 3rd grade math performance, ACT composite scores and 12th grade credits earned.

Black children with preschool experience are 1.23 times as likely to score "on track" compared to black students without it.

Children's Hospital Professor Monica Mitchell says it was important to track data on low income and black students because of education disparities the two groups face. 

Before conducting the research she says there was a lot of anecdotal value about preschool but no local data to support it.

Mitchell says there is a cultural difference that impacts how black and white families perceive the value of preschool. "Some of them are related to resource differences including transportation, access to knowledge or having family support," she says.

Low income children were 1.26 times as likely to score "on track" compared to low income children without preschool experience. This project uses free lunch as a determiner of income status.

Vera Brooks is the interim director for early childhood preschool for Cincinnati Public Schools. She says the district puts preschools in high need areas to improves access. "Not everyone can drive their child to school," she says. "So, where can we locate preschools that are in walking distance?" 

Research shows students who were chronically absent from preschool weren't as prepared. Brooks says the research helps improve CPS' preschool services.

"Within those one or two years, what instruction are we providing?" Brooks says. "How can we make that a more structured environment to help with their literacy skills?"

She says they're looking for ways to assist families so attendance can improve.