The Effects of Special Education Preschool

The Effects of Special Education Preschool on Non-Academic Outcomes Research Questions and Hypotheses: Question 1: What are the effects attending special education preschool (SEP) on children’s school readiness skills and their transition to Kindergarten? Question 2: What are the effects attending SEP on children’s non-academic outcomes at the end of Kindergarten? Question 3: What are the effects attending SEP on children’s non-academic outcomes at the end of third grade? Question 4: Do the effects of SEP depend on a child’s disability type or where they received their special education preschool services? H1: The evidence on the effects of SEP is mixed. Past literature on the effectiveness of SEP has found negative effects on math and reading scores at Kindergarten entry. In a national sample of children who attended SEP, Carson et al. found increases in some academic, social, and motor skills after one year. However, there were no comparisons to peers who did not attend. About 38% of children who enter PSE leave within the normal range on five developmental delay measures, but this percentage varies depending on the extent of a child’s delay when they enter. Additionally, low-income children who received SEP have been found to score significantly lower on a variety of school readiness skills than children who did not. While some variables were controlled for, selection bias was not fully accounted for. Further, this analysis was not the primary purpose of the data set, so other confounding variables may be present. Since our analysis will take into account selection effects, we hypothesize that there will be either negative or null findings on school readiness. We have not found any studies about SEP and adult perceptions of kindergarten transition; thus, we cannot predict a direction for the effect. H2: There has not been much prior research on the effects of SEP at the end of Kindergarten. Given the null or negative findings for SEP and regular special education, we hypothesize that there will either be null or negative effects. H3: Research is mixed on whether or not positive outcomes from high quality preschool persist until third grade or beyond, but research has yet to investigate the persistence of non-academic effects from SEP to elementary school. Studies have failed to find long-term academic effects of SEP or short-term and long-term academic and non-academic effects of special education. Thus, it is likely that we will find null or negative results of SEP. H4: Children who receive SEP are diagnosed with many different disabilities and even children with the same diagnosis can have different strengths and challenges. Research has shown that the extent of a child’s delay at the end of SEP varies based on the complexity and severity of the delay. Because of this, we believe that the effectiveness of SEP will vary depending on a child’s disability diagnosis. Secondly, research suggests that there are differences in both structural and process quality across preschool type and that children can have different outcomes based on what preschool type they attend. Thus, we believe that preschool type will moderate the effectiveness of SEP. Primary Source of Data: Early Childhood School Readiness Survey(ECSRS)

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