Cognitive and family-support mediators of preschool effectiveness: A confirmatory analysis

Arthur J. Reynolds, Nancy A. Mavrogenes, Nikolaus Bezruczko, and Mavis Hagemann


Investigated in this study were the mediators of the effects of preschool intervention on children’s school achievement in sixth grade. A confirmatory structural model developed in a previous study of third graders (Reynolds, 1992a) was tested with 360 low-income, mostly black children who were available at the 3-year follow-up. The model incorporated cognitive readiness at kindergarten entry and parent involvement in school (rated by teachers and parents) as primary mediators of preschool effectiveness. In sixth grade (age 11), preschool participation at ages 3 or 4 was significantly associated with higher reading achievement, higher math achievement, and with lower incidence of grade retention. Cognitive readiness and parent involvement in school significantly mediated the estimated effects of preschool participation on school achievement and grade retention 7 years postprogram. Teacher ratings of school adjustment, school mobility, and grade retention also contributed to the transmission of effects. This integrated model fit the data better than several alternative models including those based on the cognitive advantage and family support hypotheses.

Child Development, 67, 1119-1140, 1996