The Transition to Elementary School: Assessing the Impact of Early Learning Opportunities and Classroom Quality on the Achievement Gap

Jennifer M. Augustine, University of Texas at Austin
Robert Crosnoe, University of Texas at Austin
Aletha Huston, University of Texas at Austin

In order to promote school readiness amongst disadvantaged children, developmental psychologists have suggested that high-quality child care centers, in contrast to other arrangements, provide children with the range of stimulating, positive experiences that are most likely to improve children’s cognitive achievement. However, disadvantaged children may be less likely to be enrolled in high quality, center-based care than advantaged children. This difference may represent economic inequalities that limit some children’s access to high quality center care. At the same time, children with more highly educated mothers may be more likely to be in high-quality care because mothers view child care as an investment in children’s development. Analyzing data from the NICHD SECCYD—a national, longitudinal study of 1,371 children—this study looks at how parents’ education structures variations in the types of arrangements children experience, the quality of the arrangement, and the average weekly amount of time spent in each arrangement.

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Presented in Session 87: Economic Factors and Child Development II