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, and reports from the second year of the study were issued in December 2016.

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