As the Twig Is Bent--Lasting Effects of Preschool Programs

By Consortium for Longitudinal Studies. | Go to book overview

6
The Louisville Experiment: A Comparison of Four Programs

Louise B. Miller Rondeall P. Bizzell University of Louisville


Introduction

Purpose of the Experiment

Our four-program comparison was not designed to determine the effects of preschool versus no preschool, but rather to compare the characteristics and effects of four different programs. It was established by 1968 that significant cognitive gains could be acheived by young disadvantaged children who experienced preschool programs of several different types ( Bereiter & Engelmann, 1966; Gray & Klaus, 1965; Gray, Klaus, Miller, & Forrester, 1966; Hodges, McCandless, & Spicker, 1967; Southern & Plant, 1972; Sprigle, Van de Riet, & Van de Riet, 1967; Weikart, 1970; pp. 186-196).

On the basis of the philosophies underlying various programs it was expected that some would have immediate effects on children whereas the effects of other programs (less remedial and more oriented towards providing foundational experiences) might not appear until several years later. For this reason, and in order to check on how lasting any effects would be, the study was designed to be a longitudinal experiment lasting from prekindergarten through second grade. Because different approaches to preschool education reflected different convictions regarding how children learn and develop, it appeared that comparing the effects on children of various programs would not only have practical value but would also provide information about developmental hypotheses. Also, because there was a consensus in the research community that testing IQ was a very limited way to measure the success of programs that were oriented toward longterm development, the experiment was designed to assess other competencies as well as motivation, attitudes, and classroom behaviors.

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