Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Louise L. MacKay

Committee Members

Jasmine R. Renner, Mary Langenbrunner, Terrence A. Tollefson


The purpose of this study was to determine if an association exists between preschool experience and student achievement in third grade as reported by criterion referenced Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) scores in four schools in northeast Tennessee with at least 80% of its students receiving free or reduced lunch. The variable under study was the presence and type of preschool experience.

Descriptive statistics were employed to present school demographic data. A causal comparative approach utilizing convenience sampling was the foundation for this study. Analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were used to investigate differences in achievement as categorized by varying preschool experiences.

An analysis of the results indicated mixed results. A significant difference was found only in the content area of math. Post hoc tests revealed a difference that favored students with private preschool experience as opposed to state- or federally-funded preschool experience. No significant differences were found in any other content area. A two-way analysis of variance was conducted to evaluate the interaction between preschool experience and gender on reading/language arts, math, science, and social studies scale scores. No significance was found to indicate an interaction between preschool experience and gender.

Cross-tabulated tables were also used to determine the percentage of students in each preschool category that achieved advanced, proficient, or below proficient status as determined by Tennessee state guidelines. The highest percentages of students achieving advanced status in each content area were those with private preschool experience.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.