Study links pre-K and students taking gifted and talented exam
Students enrolled in public pre-kindergarten programs in New York City are more likely to take the city's exam for entry into gifted and talented programs, according to a new study released Wednesday by researchers at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.
The study looked at the records of nearly 70,000 kindergarten students in 2009 and found that students who had attended full-day pre-K the previous year were nearly five times as likely to take the gifted and talented exam than children who were not enrolled in pre-K.
The study was conducted before Mayor Bill de Blasio's universal pre-K program was implemented. But researchers said initial data based on the significant expansion of pre-K seats across the city has shown that pre-K attendance continues to be correlated with an increase in students taking the gifted and talented exam.
The study is another piece of good news for de Blasio's signature pre-K program. His administration will surely wield it as the latest long-term benefit of offering pre-K to all four-year-olds in the city.
The new research also suggests that expanded pre-K services could help diversify the pool of students taking the gifted and talented exam, which has historically been taken and passed primarily by students from the city's wealthiest school districts.
In 2011, about 70 percent of students in gifted and talented programs were white or Asian, according to the study. English language learners were 62 percent less likely to sit for the exam than their counterparts, and students who qualify for free lunch were 46 percent less likely to take the test compared to wealthier students.
“One answer to fostering academic equity among high achievers is the public availability of challenging educational programs across all ethnic and social class backgrounds," said Sharon Weinberg, one of the study's authors.
The study was based on observational data and the report's authors plan to conduct a randomized control study to look at connections between pre-K attendance and students taking the gifted and talented exam.
Read the full study here: http://bit.ly/20ZaNMS.