Ashton Marra Published

Study: W.Va. Universal Pre-K Improving Student Achievement


One year into a long-term study of the state’s universal pre-K system, researchers say the program is improving achievement for students. 

The West Virginia Department of Education announced the longitudinal study of the state’s pre-K system a year ago, partnering with Marshall University and the National Institute for Early Education Research.

As a part of the study, researchers are tracking 599 West Virginia children who attended a state-run pre-K program and 573 children who did not attend any pre-K and began school in Kindergarten.

Those children live in seven West Virginia counties and will be followed through the completion of the third grade.

So far, results show children who attended a pre-K program outpace those who do not in almost every performance measure, including language, reading, math, memory and attention. The study calls those benefits “large and statistically significant.”

Researchers are also evaluating the quality of both pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms in the same seven counties measuring both environmental factors and teacher-child interactions.

Pre-K in West Virginia is available for all children, but is not required.