School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Steve McDonald


Head Start, literacy, prekindergarten, school-based prekindergarten


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Gifted Education


With no state-funded prekindergarten program in Mississippi, some school districts have chosen to divert Title I funds to the creation of school-based prekindergarten programs. This study looked at archival data to determine differences in the beginning of the year kindergarten scores between students who attended local Head Start programs (n = 41), students who attended school-based prekindergarten programs (n = 64) in schools that use Title-I funds to support such programs, and students who did not attend prekindergarten (n = 31). The study sought to examine the question of whether a difference existed in the overall scaled score of the STAR Early Literacy test of these three groups of students at the beginning of the kindergarten year. This study also examined whether or not there was any interaction between the type of prekindergarten education received and the gender of the students. This study used data from a district administered test to examine STAR score results, and thus used an ex post facto design. Analysis was conducted using a Two-Way ANOVA and a significant difference was found among students who attended these three program types differed in their STAR Early Literacy score. Post-hoc analysis concluded that significance differences existed between Head Start and school-based prekindergarten. No differences based on gender were found. Future research should look at the specific aspects of school-based programs to determine what characteristics contribute to their effectiveness.