Study: Smart Start boosts third grade test scores

Posted March 16, 2011

— Preliminary findings in a research study at Duke University released Wednesday suggest that Smart Start and More at Four educational programs contributed to higher standardized test scores for third graders, according to a Smart Start spokeswoman.

The study found that third graders performed better on standardized reading and math tests and had lower special education placements in counties that received more Smart Start and More at Four funding. Study findings were consistent among families with low and high maternal education levels, Smart Start spokeswoman Tracy Zimmerman said in a news release.

Smart Start and More at Four are state-funded education initiatives that seek to provide high-quality early education programs that promote children's development and prepare them for continued success.


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  • goncampn2 Mar 18, 2011

    ptfmom..I applaud you for taking part in your child's life.I can not go into detail on this forum about what goes on in my wife's classroom but I can tell you she is passionate about teaching. When she comes home frustrated with parents who are disengaged in their children lives it hurts me also. Education has become more political based rather than education based. No wonder home school children are more successful and learned than public school children. I know I stepped on toes with that statement but do the research,amazing what you will discover.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 18, 2011

    Mom2two- I mostly agree with your statement. It is very hard to instill a love for learning when it isn't being reinforced at home. I think these programs have a lot of short term benefits and perhaps a few long term benefits. I'm not sure they're cost effective. The government's study still shows that most benefits fade over time.

  • Mom2two Mar 18, 2011

    Although I disagree with "goncampn2" about the value of these programs, he has a point about uninvolved low-income parents (race is irrelevant). It is truly an uphill battle for these kids, but we owe it to them to do all we can prepare them and try to instill in them not just basic skills, but a love for learning new things. It is the ticket out of poverty, though not all will cash in the ticket. Since you can't remove them at birth, we can only do the best we can to make a difference when they are young, give them good school teachers, and keep our fingers crossed. Not exactly sound bites for legislators, but it is what it is.

  • jkca Mar 18, 2011

    Unfortunately, Smart Start is getting ready to take a big hit.

  • jodiezplace Mar 17, 2011

    I work in a Head Start/ More At Four program.... this is not a "bogus program". I have a four year degree in early childhood education and have fifteen years of experience working with at risk children AND their families. Most of my students are well prepared for the rigor of public school. Some may be behind their peers when they leave the preschool and enter kindergarten, but think where they would be if it wasn't for early intervention and support services for the family. I am proud to work with Head Start/More at Four and wish people would take time to discover what the program does for disadvantaged children.

  • ptfmom Mar 17, 2011

    cams=came - sorry I was typing too fast.

  • ptfmom Mar 17, 2011

    And how does your wife know that all of these unprepared children cams from a more at 4 program? My kids don't qualify but I would like to see all kids get a good, not just decent, education.

  • ptfmom Mar 17, 2011

    As a black parent, I think it is very judgemental to make such a broad statement about how we support our kids. I help my son's teachers with parties, bring in supplies when needed for the classroom (paper, pencils, etc.), and make my son do at least 2 additional worksheets when he comes home. We did have to buy a 1st grade workbook, so that he would have a challenged (he's 4). However, I AM involved and do more than most of the white parents in my son's class.

  • goncampn2 Mar 17, 2011

    This is a BOGUS program. My wife teach's first grade in Chatham County Every year she is amazed at how unprepared the students are when they arrive in kindergarten. She then has to bring the students up to grade when they arrive in her class. She especially gets no support from the black parents and they think the teacher can just instill intelligence into their children. This program needs to be studied in depth by an outside (North Carolina) agency. It is a failure all around and as taxpayers we should not be supporting a failing policy. It is just another form of social baby sitting!!