Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Edgar A. Kelley

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Brinkerhoff

Third Advisor

Dr. David Blomquist


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between school readiness placement and student achievement. A descriptive comparison in first grade of the three student groups placed in kindergarten (K, n = 194), developmental kindergarten (DK, n = 58) or waived to kindergarten (WK, n = 25) was completed.

Math and reading scores on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) were analyzed through an analysis of variance and Tukey/Kramer post hoc analysis. The relationship between level of education of the mother (LEM) and total reading and math ITBS scores was measured with a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. The coefficient of determination was computed to determine the proportion in variance in LEM associated with variance in ITBS scores. The parents of students waived to kindergarten were contacted by telephone and asked to participate in an interview to identify why the child was requested to be placed in kindergarten and what placement would they choose given the choice today. Responses were coded.

Seven hypotheses were tested in this study; six were rejected (p $<$.05, p $<$.01). Six hypotheses were related to student achievement in reading and math among the three groups of students in K, DK, and WK, and one hypothesis related to educational level of the mother and student achievement. Three hypotheses related to differences among groups in math achievement were rejected. Two of the three hypotheses related to reading performance among groups were rejected. The hypothesis related to the educational level of the mother was rejected. The only hypothesis that was confirmed stated that students placed in K scored significantly higher (p $<$.05, p $<$.01) than WK students in reading. Based on the findings of this study, there is no reason to believe the DK program made any difference in student achievement.

The DK program also was reviewed to determine the degree to which it met the 30 standards for program evaluation stated by the Joint Committee on Standards for Education Evaluation (1981) in The Standards for Evaluation of Education Programs, Projects and Materials. Twenty-two standards (73%) were met and 8 standards (27%) were partially met. The standard least frequently met was plans for evaluation.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access