The Long-Term Effects of Alabama First Class Pre-K

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The Long-Term Effects of

ALABAMA FIRST CLASS PRE-K State-based research shows the benefits of attending First Class Pre-K are lasting and statistically significant

Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program is the subject of ongoing evaluation by researchers from the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA), the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) School of Education, and the UAB School of Public Health. Their research currently reviews thousands of student assessment scores through the seventh grade, and they plan to continue the study as students progress through high school.



Researchers found the following long-term benefits:



Alabama First Class Pre-K Students, regardless of demographics, zip code or school, are:

More likely than their peers to be proficient in reading & math compared to other students. 2018: Proficiency in Reading & Math




In addition, the researchers specifically examined the impact of First Class Pre-K on low income students and found that graduates of the program are:


More likely than their peers to be ready for kindergarten. 2017: Issue Brief #4: School Readiness of Kindergarten Entry



Less likely than their peers to be chronically absent from school. The students also missed fewer days, on average, than their peers. 2016: Issue Brief #1: Chronic Absenteeism



Less likely than their peers to be held back a grade. 2016: Issue Brief #2: Retention in Grade



Less likely than peers to need special education services. 2018: Issue Brief #5a: Special Education Needs



Over the long term, First Class Pre-K also reduces the academic achievement gap that typically exists between students in poverty and their higher income peers – by more than half in math and by one third in reading. 2018: Achievement Gap Closure and Gains Associated with Alabama First Class Pre-K



Nationally, longitudinal studies that followed students through adulthood found that those who participated in a high-quality pre-kindergarten program were more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to go on to college and find a job, and less likely to commit a crime. That is why economists estimate that every $1 invested in high-quality pre-k yields a $7 return.*

* Reynolds, A.J., Temple, J.A., Robertson, D.L., & Mann, E. M. (2002). Age 21 Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Title 1 Chicago Child-Parent Centers. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21, 267 -303). Schweinhart, L.J., Montie, J., Xiang, Z., Barnett, W. S., Belfield, C. R., Nores, M. (2005) Lifetime Effects: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.


Graduates of a high-quality pre-k program are:

More likely to be proficient in reading by third grade

More likely to graduate from high school and attend college


More likely to succeed in the workplace


The Alabama School Readiness Alliance is a statewide, nonprofit coalition advocating for the expansion of high-quality, voluntary pre-k. ASRA was formed in 2006 as a joint campaign of A+ Education Partnership, Alabama Giving, Alabama Partnership for Children and VOICES for Alabama’s Children. Currently, ASRA’s business-led Pre-K Task Force is leading a ten-year effort to secure full funding for Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program by the 2022-2023 school year.


Alabama School Readiness Alliance P.O. Box 4433, Montgomery, AL 36103 Phone: (334) 450-1027

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