Quality of pre-K in HISD

A researcher for the Houston Education Research Consortium, part of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research and School of Social Sciences, is the author of two new research briefs on pre-K in Houston. The research is available and is the subject of a new post in the Kinder Institute’s Urban Edge blog, http://urbanedge.blogs.rice.edu 

Baumgartner looked at nine specific quality benchmarks, including whether teachers had special training in early childhood education, if the maximum class size was 20 students or fewer and what the student-to-staff ratio was. She found that none of the 50 HISD campuses included in the study met all nine of the quality benchmarks. The average pre-K program in the study met roughly 5.2 of the nine quality benchmarks.

Black and white students tended to be enrolled in programs with more quality benchmarks than their Hispanic and Asian peers, according to the study, which used data from the 2015-2016 school year. Low-income students were also more likely to be enrolled in those programs with six or more quality benchmarks than their peers, suggesting a partly promising story, she said.

Baumgartner also found that English-language learners fared less well than other students.

“Students with limited English proficiency were more likely to be enrolled in the lowest-quality programs –those with just three of fewer benchmarks—and less likely to be enrolled in programs with six or more benchmarks than their peers,” she said.

“If the quality of programs was similar across schools, there would be fewer observed differences in both the number of benchmarks reached across programs and the characteristics of students who attend these programs,” Baumgartner said.

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