Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

Evaluation of Georgia's Pre-K Program

In 2011, the Georgia General Assembly authorized an evaluation of Georgia’s Pre-K Program. In response to the General Assembly, DECAL commissioned national experts at the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to conduct a series of studies to measure the impact of our state’s nationally renowned Pre-K program. Reports and summaries from the first studies are now available. Descriptions of each are listed below:

Study 1 (2011-2012) Pre-K Outcomes Study. This study was designed to examine children’s learning outcomes during Pre-K, the factors that predict better outcomes, and the quality of children’s experiences in Georgia’s Pre-K classrooms. This study included a random sample of 100 classrooms and 509 children within those classrooms. Reports from this study were issued in January 2013.

Study 1a (2012-2013) Pre-K Enrollment Study. This study was designed to examine local variations in implementation of recruitment, application, assignment, and waitlist procedures and to examine the feasibility of conducting a randomized controlled-trial study. This study gathered information through surveys of all programs and supplemental phone interviews for a sample of programs. Reports from this mini-study were issued in November 2013.

Study 2 (2012-2013) RDD (Regression Discontinuity Design) Study. This study was designed to investigate the effects of participation in Georgia’s Pre-K on children’s school readiness skills and whether those effects are similar for different groups of children. This study utilized a regression discontinuity design (RDD) to compare children who had and had not attended Georgia’s Pre-K, and included 1,181 children (611 treated and 570 untreated). Reports from this study were issued in March 2014.

Study 3 (2013-2018) Longitudinal Study. This study is designed to examine the short- and long-term learning outcomes for children who attended Georgia’s Pre-K as well as the quality of their preschool and early elementary school experiences. This study, begun in 2013-2014, involves a longitudinal design to follow a sample of 1,169 children from 199 randomly selected Pre-K classrooms through third grade. Reports from the first year of this study were issued in October 2015.

Overall, the findings from the three studies clearly support that Georgia’s Pre-K Program enhances skills that help prepare children for Kindergarten and that, as a universal program, Georgia’s Pre-K significantly improves school readiness skills in language, literacy, and math.

Direct questions about this evaluation to Dr. Bentley Ponder at Further information may also be found at:

Documents List