Objective: A two-year longitudinal study examined the academic impact of the integration of ABCmouse Early Learning Academy, an online supplemental digital early learning resource, into prekindergarten and kindergarten.
Design and Participants: With a naturalistic design, ABCmouse was provided to all 230 prekindergarten students enrolled in a district-run program for students identified as at risk for school failure. The following year, the prekindergarten sample entered kindergarten and were provided with ABCmouse along with their kindergarten peers (N = 571) within a quasi-experimental design. Half of the schools received regular access to the full ABCmouse curriculum for the entire school year, and half of the schools received limited access to literacy and full access to math activities for the first half of the year, and full access for the second half.
Results: The students who completed more ABCmouse learning activities during the prekindergarten year scored higher on an assessment of kindergarten readiness skills than those who completed fewer activities. Across multiple kindergarten assessments, the results indicated that ABCmouse contributed to accelerated growth in literacy and math. Students who were less prepared at the start of the kindergarten year and completed more ABCmouse learning activities caught up to their peers. The number of ABCmouse learning activities completed over both school years was a strong predictor of literacy and math outcomes.
Key Take Away Points
Key Finding 1: The more ABCmouse learning activities a student completed, the greater his or her kindergarten readiness score at the end of prekindergarten, indicating a reduction in the level of risk for school failure (effect size d = .47).
Key Finding 2: Regular ABCmouse usage in kindergarten helped to accelerate students’ learning gains in literacy and mathematics skills on multiple assessments (effect sizes range from d = .23 to d = .66).
Key Finding 3: The number of ABCmouse learning activities completed over both school years was a strong predictor of literacy and math outcomes at the end of kindergarten.
K.P. Thai, Ph.D., is a senior research analyst at Age of Learning, Inc. where she supports both the efficacy research of online learning resources and the creation and validation of digital assessments for young children. Prior to Age of Learning, she was a learning scientist at Insight Learning Technology, Inc., where her research focused on applying cognitive science principles to designing and evaluating adaptive learning software for math, music, and medical education. She obtained a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.A. in Psychology from Boston College. Leslie Ponciano, Ph.D., is the director of research and educational partnerships at Age of Learning, Inc. where she designs studies to examine the efficacy of an online early learning curriculum and develops partnerships with educational professionals. Prior to this position, she was the director of the Early Childhood Education MA program (ECE) at Loyola Marymount University. In addition to LMU, Dr. Ponciano has administered academic programs and created or taught courses in child development, education, and psychology at the University of California Los Angeles, California State University Los Angeles, and California State University Northridge. Earlier in her career, Dr. Ponciano was a social worker and a supervisor for a foster family agency and she currently conducts research in foster care as a volunteer. Her educational background includes a Ph.D. in Psychological Studies in Education from the University of California Los Angeles, a M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University at Teachers College, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California Irvine.
We gratefully acknowledge Dr. DeAnna Owens, Assistant Professor at the University of Memphis, and the Tupelo Public School District for their partnership in this research.
Thai, K.P. Ph.D. and Ponciano, Leslie Ph.D.
"Improving Outcomes for At-Risk Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Students with a Digital Learning Resource,"
Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk: Vol. 7
, Article 8.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/childrenatrisk/vol7/iss2/8