In molti paesi le autorità scolastiche sostengono che occorre anticipare la scolarizzazione e rendere obbligatoria l’educazione prescolastica per migliorare i risultati scolastici. Quest ricerca basata su dati americani dimostra che questa opinione è errata.

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Efficacité scolaire de l’éducation préscolaire/ Efficacità scolastica dell’ educazione prescolastica

Dans beaucoup de pays les responsables scolaires estiment qu’il faut anticiper la scolarisation et rendre obligatoire l’éducation préscolaire pour améliorer les prestations scolaires. La recherche basée sur des données américaines démontre que cette opinion n’est pas fondée et confirme par ailleurs les conclusions d’autres recherches allant dans le même sens.

Comunicato stampa / Communiqué de presse

Preschool programs often fail to improve student achievement, offering short-lived educational benefits at best according to a new Reason Foundation study.

The Reason study shows that preschool enrollment has increased from 16 to 66 percent since 1965. And yet this massive growth in preschool attendance and time spent in the classroom has not resulted in increased student achievement, with U.S. test scores rising only very slightly since 1970 when standardized national testing of fourth, eighth, and twelfth graders began.

The Reason study says one factor behind preschools’ failure to boost educational outcomes is "fade out." A 2006 UC Santa Barbara study found preschoolers were more prepared for kindergarten than non-preschoolers, but that those advantages faded away by the third grade and thus preschool had "limited use as a long-term strategy for improving the achievement gap."

"We’re seeing that early schooling may be immaterial to a child’s later school performance, or that the current school system, as it is structured and functioning, is unable to sustain any early gains that preschoolers might get," said Lisa Snell, director of education at Reason Foundation and co-author of the report. "There is little factual evidence to backup claims that preschool will boost long-term learning. In fact, we are starting to see some evidence that universal preschool can be detrimental to some kids."

A study of more than 33,000 children who took part in Quebec’s universal preschool program between 1994 and 2002 found : "Several measures we looked at suggest that children were worse off in the years following the introduction of the universal childcare program. We studied a wide range of measures of child well-being from anxiety and hyperactivity to social and motor skills. For almost every measure, we find that the increased use of childcare was associated with a decrease in their well-being relative to other children."

Like Quebec, Georgia and Oklahoma, the first two states to implement universal preschool, have gotten very little return on their heavy investment in early education. With universal preschool now firmly in place for years, both states scored below the national average in fourth grade reading on National Assessment of Education Progress tests in 2005. In fact, Georgia and Oklahoma ranked in the nation’s bottom 10 when it came to increasing fourth grade reading scores from 1992 to 2005.

"Our education system is failing on so many levels that people have started to grasp for magic bullets," said Darcy Olsen, co-author of the Reason study and president of the Goldwater Institute. "Whether it’s Oklahoma, Georgia, or Quebec, universal preschool has proven time and time again that it’s no magic bullet. Instead of pouring billions of dollars into preschool, we should focus on fixing our K-12 system."

Si veda anche la ricerca di El Hadi Saada in questo sito.

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