The academic journal Child Development Research recently ran an article entitled Economic Disparities: SPARK Ohio and Narrowing the Kindergarten Readiness Gap. The authors examined assessment scores of new kindergarteners to gauge the school readiness of SPARK and non-SPARK children from varying socioeconomic backgrounds.
Their conclusion? "Children living in economically disadvantaged environments performed better on a kindergarten literacy readiness assessment when they participated in...the SPARK Ohio program compared to peers who did not participate in the program."
The authors further suggest that supporting SPARK may be a way for schools to use their Title I funds to reduce economically induced disparities in readiness.
The peer-reviewed International Journal of Early Childhood Learning recently published an article entitled SPARK Ohio: An Early Childhood Intervention Program Description and Evaluation.
The article, written by current and former members of the team that has independently evaluated the SPARK program, discusses how SPARK addresses the educational challenges faced by Ohio’s at-risk children. The article provides an in-depth analysis of the program’s positive influence on school readiness, as evidenced by the significantly higher kindergarten readiness assessment scores of SPARK children versus their non-SPARK peers.
Because of SPARK’s strong positive influence in preparing children for kindergarten, the authors suggest that policymakers and school district administrators might wish to investigate funding SPARK as an early investment that leads to long-term academic gain.