Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Longer-term Impact of Full-day Kindergarten
Chloe Gibbs

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Notre Dame

Primary Discipline

Educational Policy
Enrollment in full-day kindergarten in the United States has increased dramatically since 1970, eclipsing half-day kindergarten enrollment in 1995 and now constituting approximately three-quarters of all kindergarten students. Despite this growth and increasing policymaker focus on full-day kindergarten provision and expansions, there is little evidence on the impact and cost-effectiveness of such programs and policies, particularly as compared to other types of investments in early childhood. This study will investigate the longer-term effects of full-day kindergarten using rigorous randomized and regression-discontinuity designs. To date, we know little about how full-day kindergarten, and other early grades interventions more broadly, affect children’s cognitive and socio-emotional skills beyond the primary grades. Recent evidence on the re-emergent effects of small kindergarten class size, comprehensive pre-kindergarten programming, and Head Start well into adulthood suggests that there are potentially non-cognitive, or socio-emotional, pathways through which these positive effects are realized. In the existing evidence, we observe early cognitive effects, fairly rapid fade out of those effects, and improvements in overall wellbeing in adulthood. This study seeks to both (1) contribute to a gap in the literature on full-day kindergarten by exploring longer-term (and different) outcomes than have previously been assessed, and (2) inform the broader conversation about the ways in which interventions early in the life cycle may improve life chances for disadvantaged children. Employing data from school districts using lottery- and fixed cutpoint-based assignment to kindergarten settings, I test the causal impact of full- versus half-day assignment on identification for special services, on-time grade promotion and retention, attendance, behavioral infractions, and reading and mathematics standardized assessments from third through eighth grade. The work will also explore heterogeneity of effects and cost-effectiveness of full-day kindergarten provision.
About Chloe Gibbs
Chloe Gibbs is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame where she is also a faculty affiliate of the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities. She previously held an assistant professorship at the University of Virginia’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy with a joint appointment in the Curry School of Education. Dr. Gibbs is interested in measuring the effects, both intended and unintended, of policies and programs targeted at disadvantaged children and families. Her recent research includes analyzing the impact of full-day kindergarten on maternal employment, investigating patterns of fade out across studies of Head Start program effects, and exploring whether fade out of early childhood program effects varies with preschool and early school experiences. She also has works-in-progress looking at the effects of local college scholarship programs on non-academic outcomes and measuring the intergenerational transmission of Head Start effects. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago’s Harris School.

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