Idaho Ed News, December 17, 2021, by Kyle Pfannenstiel.
Idaho’s full-day kindergarteners are advancing their reading and writing skills faster than their peers in half-day programs, a new report shows.
The research, published Thursday by North Carolina-based education firm Public Impact and Idaho charter support group Bluum, found that the state’s full-day kindergarteners started last school year behind students in half-day programs, but closed the achievement gap over time — despite serving more students with educational challenges.
The results found one researcher calling for change in Idaho, where kindergarten remains optional and the state carves up enough funds for only half-day programs.
“Idaho should consider requiring districts to have full-day kindergarten and fund it,” said Public Impact researcher Bryan Hassel, who helped present the findings during a news briefing with Bluum Thursday.
Hassel and other researchers compared early reading scores from 185 full-day kindergartens and 162 half-day kindergartens. The scores were from the Idaho Reading Indicator, the state’s early reading test administered to K-3 students in the fall and again in the spring to measure growth.