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Evaluation of the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program: Kindergarten Readiness for School-and Part-Day Enrollees

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Julia Cramer, Amani Rashid - January 2022

The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) was created in 1985 and is a statewide program that provides preschool education and wraparound services to low-income children and their families. Most children are eligible for ECEAP services if they are three or four years old and live in households with income less than or equal to 110% of the federal poverty level. Eligible children can enroll in ECEAP for Part-Day classes, or for longer periods of time in School Day or Working Day classes.

In 2019, the Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to examine ECEAP’s dosage models. We operationalized this legislative directive by comparing outcomes between children enrolled in School Day and Part Day classes. In our sample, we include children who enrolled in ECEAP (when they were four years old) between academic years 2015-2019 and subsequently enrolled in kindergarten the following year.

Overall, we found a positive relationship between School-Day enrollment and children’s kindergarten readiness, as measured by the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) assessment. Upon further analysis, we found that children in School Day classes were more likely to meet expectations in physical, cognitive, literacy, and mathematics domains on the WaKIDS assessment. Findings from subgroup analyses suggest that holding all other factors constant, the estimated size of the relationship between School-Day enrollment and kindergarten readiness is largest among non-Hispanic BIPOC and White children. We did not observe a relationship between School-Day enrollment and kindergarten readiness among Hispanic children. This report describes our legislative assignment, research questions, the methodological approach we used, main findings, and limitations in more detail.

In addition to examining ECEAP’s dosage models, the 2019 legislation also directed WSIPP to evaluate the long-and short-term effects of ECEAP. Ultimately, results from these two reports suggest that children who enroll in ECEAP are more likely to be kindergarten ready (than similar non-participants) and among ECEAP enrollees, those in longer class periods (School Day) are more likely to be kindergarten-ready than peers in Part Day.

Report ID: 22-01-2201
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