An analysis of a pre -first grade program on academic, social and emotional achievement

William John Gretzula, University of Pennsylvania


This mixed-method study evaluated a transitional "pre-first grade" program in a suburban school district in Pennsylvania. Sixty-eight pre-first students were compared with a random sample of seventy kindergarten students from the same academic year who were promoted directly to first grade. Quantitative data sets were generated through report card indicators, achievement batteries and cognitive abilities results, as well as teacher completion of social skills rating scales for students in the treatment and control groups. Statistical analyses included chi-square tests conducted for demographic characteristics. Significant differences were found between groups relative to participants' age, cognitive ability and the rate of identification for special education services. ANOVA, MANOVA and MANCOVA procedures were conducted using report card indicators and teacher ratings on Gresham-Elliott's Social Skills Rating Scale (SSRS). The control group performed significantly better on social skills and work habits on the kindergarten report card. However, these differences were negated by the end of second grade. Additionally, significant correlation between the SSRS and report card indicators confirmed the benefits of the intervention program on the social and emotional development of pre-first students. Also, the study sought to determine whether group differences existed for academic achievement on norm-referenced measures and criterion-referenced measures across groups and time. ANOVA and MANCOVA procedures were conducted using report card indicators and student performance on the administration of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). The control group performed significantly better in reading and mathematics achievement on the second grade ITBS and mathematics on the second grade report card. However, after controlling for cognitive differences, the main effect on ITBS results was no longer significant. Qualitative methods included interviews of kindergarten and pre-first teachers. Systemic consistencies included similar definitions of first grade readiness and the implementation of various academic and social skills pedagogy in pre-first classrooms. Inconsistencies included the use of a referral checklist, collaboration in the referral process and parent orientation. Results inform a broad audience considering the efficacy of implementing transitional programs to support the needs of at-risk students in the primary grades and considerations for the development of consistent selection criteria for referral of students for such intervention.

Subject Area

Preschool education|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Gretzula, William John, "An analysis of a pre -first grade program on academic, social and emotional achievement" (2007). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3255873.