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Longitudinal Impacts of the Boston Prekindergarten Program through Early Adulthood


Jul 01, 2022


Jun 30, 2025
Funding Agency
U.S. Department of Education

In older programs, preschool participants tend to outperform non-participants on a wide range of behavioral, health, and educational outcomes into adulthood, even when there is evidence of convergence or fade out on test scores in the K-12 years. Evidence on the long-run effects of modern-day, large-scale preschool programs is sparse.


Dr. Christina Weiland will team up with co-PIs Rebecca Unterman (MDRC) and Anna Shaprio (University of Virginia); William Corwin (MDRC); Tiffany Wu, Thomas Staines, and Kyle Kwaiser (University of Michigan) to represent one of the efforts around the U.S. to build this more modern-day evidence base. In partnership with the Boston Public Schools Department of Early Childhood, the team has spent 14 years carefully documenting the Boston Prekindergarten (Pre-K) Program’s history, features, and effects. Importantly, Boston Pre-K is somewhat unique nationally in that it used evidence-based language, literacy, and math curricula; offered training and regular in-classroom coaching to teachers tied to the curricula; and treated its teachers with parity with their K-12 colleagues. The first students to experience the program are just reaching early adulthood, making this the perfect time for the first long-term follow-up study of the program. Findings will inform debates and policy decisions not just about whether to offer universal preschool but what kind of preschool. Further, study children were in grades 8-11 when the COVID-19 crisis began. The team will also explore how the crisis may have amplified or muted any lasting benefits of the program. 

Primary Investigator(s)

Associate Professor, Marsal Family School of Education

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