Access, Quality, and Student Outcomes in a Changing Early Childhood Landscape

Latham, Scott, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Bassok, Daphna, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

A large and consistent body of research shows that early childhood is a critical time for student learning. Based on the promise of this research, policymakers have become increasingly focused on investing in programs that serve children before they begin kindergarten. These investments are coming fast but often without empirical support, and amidst all the changes there are many unanswered questions that are relevant for policymakers. This dissertation aims to provide new insights toward these questions, leveraging four separate datasets to answer both descriptive and causal questions. In chapter 1 (coauthored with Daphna Bassok), we explore how young children’s teacher-reported math, literacy, and behavioral skills at kindergarten entry have changed across the years 1998 to 2010. Chapter 2 (coauthored with Daphna Bassok and Thomas Dee) explores the effects of an early childhood accountability system in North Carolina. In my final chapter I explore differences in preschool enrollment between Hispanic and non-Hispanic children. Taken together, these papers provide new policy insights in the field of early childhood education. Each explores timely and unanswered policy questions in a period of heightened attention and investment paid to early childhood, and each provides a unique contribution to the existing literature.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
early childhood, accountability
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