Document Type


Publication Date


Series Number

Volume 18, Issue 5


Arkansas Better Chance, ABC program, Pre-K, public schools, state funded


Public pre-Kindergarten programs are frequently promoted as promising early interventions for at-risk students, as they can equip 3- and 4-year-olds with the cognitive, behavioral, and social skills necessary for success in Kindergarten and beyond. The Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) program provides low-income and at-risk Arkansas students with tuition-free pre-K opportunities in school districts across the state. The current analysis describes the 3rd and 5th grade outcomes of students who enroll in ABC pre-K programs in Arkansas public schools. In an attempt to understand how well these programs are serving students, we follow four cohorts of program participants through elementary school, and we compare their math and reading achievement test scores to those of similar peers who did not attend ABC programs. We find ABC pre-K participants are more likely to fall into demographic groups that are considered at-risk for low academic performance, and that ABC students outperform similar peers on math and reading achievement tests in 3rd grade in three of four cohorts. These findings suggest that this program has the potential to set students up for lasting academic success.