5.1 Mock Dissertation: Chapter 1 Introduction Paper
Task: Write a condensed (2.5 – 3 pages or more is fine) chapter 1 for your mock dissertation topic. You will use the section headers required from the university dissertation handbook. See examples provided and the rubric. The following section headings are required:
- Overview (1-2 well developed paragraphs)
- Background and problem statement (1-2 well developed paragraphs)
- Purpose of the study (1 well developed paragraph)
- Significance of the study (1 well developed paragraph)
- Research Questions (numbered list)
- Theoretical Framework (1 well developed paragraph)
- Limitations of the Study (1 short paragraph)
- Assumptions (1 short paragraph)
- Definitions (list)
- Summary (1 well developed paragraph)
Equity of South Carolina Funded Four-Year-Old Kindergarten Classrooms: Factors Affecting Kindergarten Readiness
“Kasserian Ingera? How are the children?” (Vasagar, 2012). The traditional greeting of the fabled African tribe, Masai, recognizes the value of the next generation and understands “society cannot be well unless all the children are well” (Vasagar, 2012). The heart and future of a society hinge on the well-being of all its children. 5.1 Mock Dissertation: Chapter 1 Introduction Paper. A collective impact is necessary to ensure that all students achieve and thrive. Investments in high-quality early childhood education programs are needed to ensure all children have the essential kindergarten readiness skills in the areas of language/literacy, mathematics, social foundations, and physical well-being/motor development to be successful.
Children’s early experiences lay the groundwork for lifelong learning and success. Moss and Haydon’s (2008) research found high-quality early childhood education fosters and supports children’s well-being and their ability to interact effectively with their environment. Many young “children live in communities with significant barriers that can prevent them from reaching their full potential” (Ready at Five, 2019). Children who enter kindergarten, not demonstrating the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical skills needed for success, will continue to struggle academically throughout their school years. Therefore, states need to fund pre-kindergarten programs to ensure all students are kindergarten-ready.
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Due to limited funding for education, many states, including South Carolina, have created homogeneous groupings of low socioeconomic levels within four-year-old kindergarten programs to address the educational and socio-emotional needs of children of poverty. However, current research highlights the saturation of low socioeconomic levels in classrooms lowers classroom quality and experiences (Pianta et al., 2005). Early childhood education programs that limit access to only at-risk students increase the probability that academic achievement gaps will continue to widen since at-risk children do not have the opportunity to engage in a social environment with children from different background experiences (Edwards, 2007; LoCasale-Crouch et al., 2007; Pianta et al., 2005; Reid & Ready, 2013; Schechter & Bye, 2007). 5.1 Mock Dissertation: Chapter 1 Introduction Paper.
Background and Problem Statement
Early childhood education history is often linked back to January 1965 when Lady Bird Johnson held a White House tea to announce federal funding for preschool classes that would break the vicious cycle of poverty (Lascarides & Hinitz, 2000). The federally funded Head Start early childhood program introduced the idea that early education of our young children was a public responsibility. After decades of early childhood education program evaluations, state legislators and educators both endorse the need to develop and fund high-quality early childhood programs. States’ policymakers have increased funding for early childhood education programs from $200 million in 1988 to $7.5 billion in 2018 (Education Commission of the States, 2019; National Center for Children in Poverty, 2000). “A robust body of research shows that children who participate in high-quality preschool programs have better health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes than those who do not participate” (U.S. Department of Education, 2015).
Greater awareness of early childhood as a critical developmental period has led to the aim of promoting high-quality children’s experiences in pre-kindergarten programs through a focus on healthy social/behavior development and academic/cognitive learning (Biddle, Crawford, & Seth-Purdie, 2017). Early childhood education is an essential foundation for developing learning behaviors and skills necessary for future success. Moss and Haydon (2008) defined education “as fostering and supporting the general well-being and development of children and young people, and their ability to interact effectively with their environment and to live a good life” (p. 2). Early childhood education programs have the potential to give all children a jump start to kindergarten by supporting both educational and social behaviors. High-quality early childhood education programs are the key to ensuring all children have equal access to learning opportunities and experiences.
Children from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds enrolled in high-quality early childhood programs enter kindergarten academically ready (Ansari, Pianta, Whittaker, Vitiello, & Ruzek, 2019). 5.1 Mock Dissertation: Chapter 1 Introduction Paper. The U.S. Department of Education (2015) continues to stress the need for “significant new investments in high-quality early education” to help close the school readiness gaps between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers. The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) also highlighted the need for states to make early childhood education a priority, especially for children identified as at-risk for academic success. The substantial amount of public funding directed at early childhood education programs has increased from $200 million in 1988 to $7.5 billion in 2018 (Education Commission of the States, 2019; National Center for Children in Poverty, 2000). This increase in funding has increased the demand for additional research on the implications of structural programming requirements, student demographics (including race, gender, and socioeconomic levels), and composition of diversity on program quality and kindergarten readiness.
Most children in the United States have their first school experiences in four-year-old early childhood programs rather than in kindergarten (Hustedt & Barnett, 2011). Pre-kindergarten initiatives vary from state to state; however, they all share some common characteristics. First, all pre-kindergarten programs are voluntary. Second, programs are funded and directed by each states’ education department that identifies early learning standards that range from academic content knowledge, social/emotional development, motor development, and language development (Hustedt & Barnett, 2011). Also, states have identified required structural components to receive early childhood funding; these structural components include the location of service, length of the program, teacher certification, and class size. Most states have limited early childhood funding to only children meeting at-risk criteria such as socioeconomic level, ethnicity, or disability; also, some states provide preschool funding based on geographical locations. For example, South Carolina’s early childhood funding system segregates children in four-year-old kindergarten based on families’ socioeconomic conditions,
however, only funds these programs if the families reside in a rural, high-poverty county.
Currently, many states are solely funding four-year-old kindergarten programs for at-risk students, which limits the cultural and economic diversity needed for heterogeneous classrooms. Research studies centered around socioeconomic diversity and educational impact are necessary to justify the money spent on numerous segregated at-risk four-year-old kindergarten programs across the nation. Recent research highlights that the saturation of poverty in the classroom is related to lower classroom quality even though early childhood education programs aim to address the educational and socio-emotional needs of children from low-income backgrounds. Socioeconomic segregation of children may negatively impact the cognitive and social development of children, along with perpetuating the educational gap seen along socioeconomic lines. States’ policies and procedures, in regards to student selection and structural features of programs related to classroom, teacher, and child characteristics, may create unintended consequences. More research is needed to determine if the lack of racial and economic diversity is impacting the potential benefits of early childhood education programs.
High-quality preschool programs should enhance the early learning experiences for all children and develop the background knowledge and skills necessary for school readiness (Pelatti et al., 2016). Research is divided and often not conclusive on what constitutes essential components to create high-quality early childhood programs that impact academic and social outcomes. Numerous research studies have analyzed structural components and requirements of early childhood education programs and the impact on student achievement; however, all of these studies have been unable to specify which elements lead to measurable kindergarten readiness (Bainbridge et al., 2005; Bowne et al., 2017; Clifford et al., 2005; Magnuson et al., 2005; Pelatti et al., 2016). Recent research has suggested four possible mechanisms which impact the quality of early childhood education programs: 1) differences in structural components and curriculum/teaching; 2) peer effects on cognitive learning; 3) peer effects on social development; and 4) parent involvement (Reid & Ready, 2013). Current literature acknowledges that structural components are not the only variables in creating a high-quality early childhood education program; classroom diversity and sociocultural learning opportunities can positively impact the learning outcomes (Clifford et al., 2005; Pelatti et al., 2016; Pianta et al., 2005; Reid & Ready, 2013; Schechter & Bye, 2007). 5.1 Mock Dissertation: Chapter 1 Introduction Paper.
Few research studies have focused on program design, classroom behaviors, and student achievement predictors of classroom quality for publicly supported at-risk pre-kindergarten programs with limited socioeconomic and ethnic diversity. Schechter and Bye’s (2007) research highlighted the importance of a diverse composition of students in early childhood classrooms and the requirement of these classes to incorporate activities where students can learn from each other’s experiences and background knowledge. Reid and Ready’s (2013) research study suggests that all children in an integrated early childhood education program learn more than a classroom primarily composed of children from low-income backgrounds with the same ethnic backgrounds. The research studies by Reid and Ready (2013) as well as Schechter and Bye (2007) show a correlation between achievement skills and integrated socioeconomic and ethnic classrooms; however, neither of these studies utilized a standardized achievement measure to determine the relationship between the diversity composition of a program and academic success.
The regular and consistent patterns of positive interactions between teachers and peers impact classroom experiences (Brown, Jones, LaRusso, & Aber, 2010). With current funding policies and procedures, South Carolina’s structural design of early childhood programs is trapping the youngest of South Carolina’s at-risk children in a cycle of educational poverty. South Carolina’s pre-kindergarten policy limits access to a heterogeneous grouping of students, which eliminates the sociocultural benefits of exposing children to a variety of cultures and environments to enhance problem-solving and critical thinking. Ultimately, in South Carolina, this design has led to not only socioeconomic segregation but also segregation of ethnic races in four-year-old kindergarten classrooms. By eliminating the cultural and economic diversity in these classrooms, South Carolina has diminished the “social and cultural nature of the developmental process and the role of peers assisting each other in learning” (Edwards, 2007, p. 84). Additional research is needed to evaluate the impact of kindergarten readiness in programs serving only at-risk four-year-old students as compared to a more diverse classroom population where children can learn from each other.
Due to the limited state funding available for early childhood education, programmatic and structural components of four-year-old pre-kindergarten programs must be providing the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical skills necessary for students to be kindergarten ready. South Carolina is in the early stages of implementation of the Child Early Reading and Development Education Program (CERDEP) for at-risk students and the requirement of a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) for all 5K students. Data are being collected in South Carolina to determine the impact of pre-kindergarten programs on kindergarten readiness; however, no research study has evaluated all of these components. The primary goal of this quantitative study was to use the S.C. kindergarten data to investigate how kindergarten readiness scores compare between children attending a structured four-year-old kindergarten program or not. The next goal was to investigate how the kindergarten readiness scores compared based on the location (public or community-based) of CERDEP classrooms. Finally, the study was to compare the differences in kindergarten readiness assessment scores between white, African American, and Hispanic students who attended a four-year-old kindergarten program.
The research will provide school district leaders and state policymakers guidance and evidence of potential changes in funding or structural components needed to ensure all students receive a high-quality early childhood education program that prepares them for kindergarten success. Ultimately, the study would be a tool for parents and community members to identify the early childhood programs which positively impact kindergarten readiness and help minimize the educational achievement gaps between all populations. South Carolina parents deserve the right to know which types of early childhood programs will produce quality academic achievement and kindergarten readiness so that they can make informed decisions on the best program for their child.
Purpose of the Study
State and local policymakers are searching for kindergarten readiness data to support the continued funding of early childhood programs. They are looking for features of interest, including whether the programs are full- or part-day, housed in school or community settings, universal or targeted groups of students, staffed by certified teachers or individuals with less formal training. Research has shown that children who have had high-quality preschool classroom experiences will enter kindergarten more school ready with better language development, reading skills, and math skills (LoCasale-Crouch, 2007). A cyclical pattern of inequality in education and income may be attributed to a lack of access to quality early childhood programs (Bainbridge et al., 2005) as well as a lack of access to an early childhood setting that incorporates opportunities for interactions with children from different backgrounds. Reid and Ready’s (2013) research found that children’s learning in classrooms with diverse ethnic and socioeconomic composition equals or even rivals the impact of children’s family backgrounds in a year of schooling. 5.1 Mock Dissertation: Chapter 1 Introduction Paper. However, lawmakers have not had access to many research studies analyzing the impact of the ethnic and socioeconomic composition within the programs on academic readiness.
Current literature acknowledges that structural components are not the only variables in creating a high-quality early childhood education program; classroom diversity and sociocultural learning opportunities can positively impact the learning outcomes (Clifford et al., 2005; Pelatti et al., 2016; Pianta et al., 2005; Reid & Ready, 2013; Schechter & Bye, 2007). The purposes of this study were to test Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory (1978) by comparing enrollment in four-year-old kindergarten programs, comparing locations of CERDEP four-year-old kindergarten programs, and by comparing ethnicity in four-year-old kindergarten programs in terms of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment scale scores in the domains of language/literacy, mathematics, social foundations, physical well-being/motor development and overall readiness of students in a rural, high-poverty South Carolina county.
The following questions guided this research. 1) How did students who attended a structured four-year-old kindergarten program perform on the Fall 2018 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) in the areas of language/literacy, mathematics, social foundations, physical well-being/motor development, and overall kindergarten readiness as compared to students who did not attend a four-year-old kindergarten program? 2) In Fall 2018, how did CERDEP qualified students in a public school setting perform on the kindergarten readiness assessment as compared to CERDEP students who attended a four-year-old kindergarten program housed at Head Start or First Step daycares? 3) In Fall 2018, what were the differences in kindergarten readiness assessment scores between ethnic groups who attended a four-year-old kindergarten program?
The theoretical framework of this study is based on John Dewey’s and L. S. Vygotsky’s similar ideas regarding the relationship between everyday activities and social environment play on the learning process (Glassman, 2001). Although the two theorists do not agree on the process or goals for education, both theorists believe strongly that “natural human activity serves as the major impetus for learning” (Glassman, 2001, p. 3). Both Dewey and Vygotsky believe the educational process requires attention to social history, experiences or culture, and human inquiry. 5.1 Mock Dissertation: Chapter 1 Introduction Paper.
Dewey’s and Vygotsky’s position on the most critical educational approaches vary greatly; however, both theorists agree that “the human condition is based in social interactions” (Glassman, 2001, p. 3). Dewey believed in long term projects where the teacher acts as a facilitator to guide students to set goals and choose a direction that interests them through the exploration of everyday life situations. Vygotsky, however, “wants to use the educational process to teach new members of the social community how to use important culturally developed tools in an effective manner” (Glassman, 2001, p. 4). Both theorists’ educational approach requires children to be engaged in social interactions, whether teacher or student-driven. Vygotsky’s educational approach of the zone of proximal development requires a teacher to provide the learner with scaffolding to support the student’s evolving understanding of complex skills. The following figure depicts Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development where the “distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem-solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers” (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 86).
Figure 1. Vygotsky’s theory of the zone of proximal development. This zone is the area of exploration for which the student is cognitively, socially, and physically prepared, but requires help and social interaction to fully develop. Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.ceebl.manchester.ac.uk/events/archive/aligningcollaborativelearning/Vygotsky.pdf
Collaborative learning and modeling are strategies supported by Vygotsky to facilitate a “higher level of understanding under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers” (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 86). Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory highlighted the importance of peer interactions and differing peer abilities.
Sociocultural theorists believe group members should have different levels of ability, so more advanced peers can help less advanced peers. Therefore, limiting early education programs to solely at-risk students who often have the same ethnicity and socioeconomic level can potentially limit the learning opportunity for our students in most need. States’ policymakers may need to reevaluate their approach to restricting funding for four-year-old kindergarten solely to at-risk students, which often limits the ethnic and economic diversity. This segregation of children may negatively impact the cognitive and social development of children, along with perpetuating the educational gap seen along ethnic and socioeconomic lines. More research is needed to evaluate the impact of state-funded four-year-old kindergarten programs on kindergarten readiness concerning the location of programs as well as the ethnic and economic composition within early childhood education programs.
Limitations of the Study
Despite the researcher’s best efforts, the results of the study were affected by the following limitations: 1) Two school districts and nine schools were studied, so test administrators’ training for the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) may vary between schools and districts.5.1 Mock Dissertation: Chapter 1 Introduction Paper. Although, district KRA trainers received the same State Department of Education training material to use with their kindergarten teachers, and all teachers had to pass the KRA content and KRA inter-rater reliability assessment with an 80% before administering the assessment. 2) Testing environment conditions such as lighting, temperature, and noise distractions may have varied from classroom to classroom, school to school, and district to district. 3) This study only evaluated one rural South Carolina county’s kindergarten readiness scores. Therefore, results may not represent scores from other counties due to differences in four-year-old pre-kindergarten programs, geographic locations, and socioeconomic levels within the community.
Assumptions of the Study
The study accepted the following assumptions. 1) All parents/guardians completing the school districts’ five-year-old kindergarten enrollment paperwork understood the questions and correctly answered them. Enrollment questions included whether their child attended a four-year-old kindergarten program, what type of program their child attended, the length of the program (half-day or full-day), and knew the name of the provider. 2) Demographic and prior care program coding in the state database PowerSchool and Enrich system were correct. 3) All students had an equal opportunity to participate in the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment within the first 45 days of school.
Definition of Terms
The study used the following definitions.
Approaching Readiness – The student demonstrates some foundational skills and behaviors that prepare him or her for kindergarten standards (South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, 2019). The performance descriptor is the KRA overall readiness or domain scale score of 258 – 269 (Maryland State Department of Education, 2019).
Child Early Reading and Development Education Program (CERDEP) – South Carolina legislation codified with the approval of the Read to Succeed law, Act 284, on June 11, 2014. CERDEP requires (1) programs to have a reading proficiency plan, (2) successful administration of a four-year-old readiness assessment, (3) developmental and learning support necessary for kindergarten readiness, (4) parenting education, and (5) identification of community organizations to support early literacy efforts. The South Carolina Department of Education oversees participating public school district programs, and South Carolina First Steps for School Readiness oversees Head Start, private child care programs, and other non-district providers. Students’ families must meet Medicaid eligibility or have a family income at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty definition to qualify for CERDEP. (South Carolina Department of Education, 2018a). 5.1 Mock Dissertation: Chapter 1 Introduction Paper.
Community-based – For this study, community-based locations include four-year-old kindergarten programs provided at First Steps Child Care facilities or Head Start Programs within the county. (South Carolina Department of Education, 2018a).
Demonstrating Readiness – KRA performance level descriptor of Demonstrating Readiness shows overall readiness or domain scale score of 270 – 298 (Maryland State Department of Education, 2019). The student demonstrates foundational skills and behaviors that prepare him or her for kindergarten standards (South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, 2019).
Early Childhood Education Program – These are predominately three-year-old pre-kindergarten programs or four-year-old kindergarten programs (Hustedt & Barnett, 2011). For this study, references to early childhood education programs will be solely four-year-old kindergarten programs.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – The Lyndon B. Johnson administration’s War on Poverty campaign passed the ESEA act. The original goal of the law was to improve educational equity by providing federal funds to support districts serving students from lower-income families. ESEA has been reauthorized eight times. The most recent reauthorization was in December 2015 when President Obama and Congress signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.)
Emerging Readiness – KRA Performance level descriptor of Emerging Readiness based on a KRA overall readiness or domain scale score of 202 – 257 (Maryland State Department of Education, 2019). A student demonstrates limited foundational skills and behaviors that prepare him or her for kindergarten standards (South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, 2019).
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – In December 2015, President Obama and lawmakers reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by revamping 2002 No Child Left Behind ESEA reauthorization. The central goal of ESSA is to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for children from lower-income families. (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.)
First Steps Child Care/Public – A CERDEP funded community-based center housed in a private registered child care facility, income-based, developmentally appropriate education program. The program must adhere to best practices, using research-based curriculum and assessments. These programs must meet DSS regulations and SCDE Guidelines (South Carolina Department of Education, 2019).
Head Start – A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families (South Carolina Department of Education, 2019).
Informal Child Care – A family member or other caregivers provide child care in an unregulated home that is not subject to regulations or formal guidelines (South Carolina Department of Education, 2019).
Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) – The KRA is an assessment administered to each child entering public school kindergarten within the first 45 days of the school year in South Carolina. The assessment provides information on children’s readiness for kindergarten in four domains: Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Physical Well-Being, and Motor Development, and Social Foundations (South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, 2019).
Language and Literacy – KRA readiness assessment domain measuring skills such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening (South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, 2019).
Mathematics – The KRA readiness assessment mathematics’ domain measures skills such as counting comparison and sorting (South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, 2019).
Observational rubric – KRA items describe specific behaviors or skills to be observed by the teacher during typical classroom activities, lunchroom, or recess areas. Teachers use the rubric to assign up to two points for these skills (Maryland State Department of Education, 2019).
Performance level descriptors – KRA evaluates students’ kindergarten readiness as either Demonstrating Readiness, Approaching Readiness, or Emerging Readiness. Students demonstrate the skills and behaviors that reflect their readiness to engage in instruction based on kindergarten content standards (Maryland State Department of Education, 2019).
Performance task – KRA items consist of an activity that is completed by the child using manipulatives to allow the student to demonstrate the skill assessed. These items are scored with a rubric and can be work one to three points (Maryland State Department of Education, 2019).
Physical Well-Being and Motor Development – KRA readiness assessment domain measuring students’ abilities such as dexterity, muscular coordination, and balance (South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, 2019). 5.1 Mock Dissertation: Chapter 1 Introduction Paper.
Prior care – Prior care are the categories of early child care enrollment within twelve months before starting kindergarten (South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, 2019).
Private four-year-old kindergarten – Student enrolled in a full-day private four-year-old kindergarten program (South Carolina Department of Education, 2019).
Public four-year-old kindergarten – Student enrolled in a South Carolina public school (South Carolina Department of Education, 2019).
Pupil in Poverty – South Carolina identifies students from families of low socioeconomic as a pupil in poverty (PIP) in Power School (South Carolina Department of Education, 2019).
Selected response – KRA selected-response items consist of a question or prompt where children choose one of three answers. The child indicates his or her response by touching or saying one of the three answer options. Each item is worth one point (Maryland State Department of Education, 2019).
Social Foundations – KRA readiness assessment domain measuring students’ abilities to follow the rules, cooperate with others, ask for help, problem solve, and task persistence (South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, 2019).
South Carolina First Steps for School Readiness – First Steps oversees CERDEP private child care programs and other non-district providers. First Steps provides family choices of pre-kindergarten between school districts or eligible non-district settings (South Carolina Department of Education, 2018a).
State and local policymakers are searching for kindergarten readiness data to support the continued funding of early childhood programs. They are looking for high-quality features of interest, including whether the programs are full- or part-day, housed in school or community settings, universal or targeted groups of students, staffed by certified teachers or individuals with less formal training. Children who have high-quality preschool classroom experiences will enter kindergarten more school ready with better language development, reading skills, and math skills (LoCasale-Crouch, 2007). A cyclical pattern of inequality in education and income may attribute to a lack of access to quality early childhood programs (Bainbridge et al., 2005) as well as a lack of access to an early childhood setting that incorporates opportunities for interactions with children from different backgrounds. Reid and Ready’s (2013) research found that children’s learning in classrooms with diverse socioeconomic composition equals or even rivals the impact of children’s family backgrounds in a year of schooling. However, lawmakers have not had access to many research studies analyzing the effects of the socioeconomic and ethnic composition within the classrooms and program sites on academic readiness.
Helburn and Howes (1996) found evidence that parents, especially ones with limited education or low socioeconomic status, struggle to evaluate the quality of child care centers, and many end up selecting low-quality programs that may be harmful to their children. Parents from limited educational homes or low socioeconomic backgrounds have limited options for early childhood education programs to enroll their children. Many times these programs are only for at-risk students even though research has started to show limited diversity within early childhood programs can negatively affect academic achievement and students’ kindergarten readiness (Reid & Ready, 2013). Therefore, leaving the choice of early education and care of young children to parents who have limited resources to evaluate the quality of early childhood education programs increases the inequalities in children’s readiness for school and potential secondary school outcomes.
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Chapter one presented the background for this study, specified the problem, described the significance of that problem, established the purpose, clarified the research questions, described the theoretical framework, and stated some of the limitations contained within the study. Chapter two will review the related literature. Chapter two includes the sociocultural theory behind the need for diversified classrooms as well as the need and benefits of quality early childhood education programs. The second chapter also reflects on current early childhood education program policy and funding requirements for children in South Carolina and assessment structures in place to be able to evaluate program effectiveness. Chapter three presents a description of the research design, the research methodology utilized, the subject selection, the statistical tests used, and the instrumentation used in this study. The results of the investigation outlined in chapter three are presented in chapter four. Chapter four provides a detailed statistical analysis of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment data and the presentation of results linked to the research questions.5.1 Mock Dissertation: Chapter 1 Introduction Paper. A summary of the research, interpretation of findings, and the research limitations are discussed in chapter five. Chapter five also discusses the implications for further investigation. This research study offers parents, district school leaders, and state policymakers insight on the importance of four-year-old pre-kindergarten programs. As well as identifying which programs produce quality academic achievement and kindergarten readiness to ensure future enrollment and funding decisions are made based on all students having access to high-quality early childhood education programs.
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