District analysis finds Madison 4K may help close achievement gap

Matthew DeFour:

Results from a fall kindergarten test that gauges school readiness show Madison’s 4-year-old kindergarten program may help raise achievement levels of minority students, according to a new district analysis.
The analysis found attending 4K in Madison reduced a student’s chance of being deemed unprepared for school by 5.5 percent and increased scores on the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) test by 2.7 points (an average score is 59).
The data also show black, Asian and multiracial 5-year-olds who attended Madison’s 4K program scored higher on the test than those who didn’t. Hispanic students who attended Madison’s 4K program scored lower and white students scored about the same.
The results are only a first look at 4K effectiveness and future test results from the same group of students may show different outcomes, the analysis notes. But “these early results are encouraging and suggest that 4K in Madison has made an immediate and observable impact on kindergarten student literacy.”
Students who attended 4K last year were more likely to be minority, low-income and from families with lower education levels than those didn’t, the analysis found.