Theses and Dissertations


Lisa Cox Hull

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Farmer, Angela S.

Committee Member

Armstrong, Clayton.

Committee Member

Hailey, Ann Leigh.

Committee Member

Blackbourn, Richard L.

Committee Member

King, Stephanie B.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Educational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Leadership and Foundations


In an era of high stakes testing and accountability, educators and policy makers are working to improve the educational outcomes for children. In a quest to help children achieve at high levels, Pre Kindergarten is often cited as a proactive strategy to address the academic gaps many children have upon entering school. While the goal of Pre Kindergarten is to prepare children for later schooling, it is important to determine if this costly strategy has sustainable, long-term academic benefits. The purpose of this research was to determine if a Title I, Part A Pre Kindergarten program had an impact on the later academic achievement of children in a rural, high poverty, high minority, public school district in Mississippi. The results from this study can provide educators and policymakers with data as they work to align resources to provide an effective education program. It can provide educators with information to review and revise practices and procedures for positive early childhood education experiences. The quantitative, causal-comparative study examined the 3rd-grade academic achievement of children to determine if a significant difference existed between the students who received Pre Kindergarten services and those who did not. Student scale scores on the Mississippi Department of Education 3rd Grade Reading Summative Assessment and student attendance data were used to explore student’s later academic achievement. The overall collective data results from the study suggest Pre Kindergarten participation does not significantly improve the reading scores of children at the end of 3rd-grade. Although variances in the data were shown, it may be a result of the small sample sizes. The children who attended Pre Kindergarten did miss significantly fewer days of school. The recommendations for future research are as follows: (a) conduct a longitudinal study to determine how students who received Pre Kindergarten services compared to those who did not in later grades such as grades five, eight, and a later high school grade, (b) replicate the study with data from the children who received Pre Kindergarten services in an Early Learning Collaborative in Mississippi, and (c) conduct a qualitative study of 3rd grade teachers to see if they recognize a difference between the Pre Kindergarten participants and non-participants.