The Vanderbilt Study of Tennessee Pre-K: Overview, Findings, and Significance for Texas


A recent high-profile study by Vanderbilt University found that students in Tennessee’s state-funded pre-k program experienced greater academic gains during pre-k and were more prepared for kindergarten compared to a control group, confirming the value of pre-k. However, the study found the control group passed the pre-k group on some measures of success by third grade. By contrast, studies of pre-k in Texas and other states have shown that students who attend pre-k are more prepared for kindergarten compared to their peers and that the benefits last through third grade and beyond. The Vanderbilt study points to the importance of continuing to invest in pre-k while examining and strengthening practices in kindergarten through 3rd grade, including the ways that K-3 teachers respond to the gap in school readiness between those students who had the benefit of pre-k and those who did not.