Part of our internal collaborations within the University of North Texas includes providing graduate students with the opportunity to conduct evaluation on the HIPPY program. Recently Veronica Martinez-Cantu, completed her Master's Thesis in Sociology, December 2007. She completed an independent study with Dr. Angela Nievar of UNT College of Education, and now works at Dallas ISD in the Research and Evaluation Department.
Together with Dr. Angela Nievar, Veronica completed an evaluation of HIPPY children in Pre-K. They have been accepted to present findings to the American Educational Research Association Annual Conference. Below are some excerpts of their findings:
"Early childhood intervention programs in this study are significant predictors of reading scores for low-income bilingual students. More specifically, participation in the HIPPY program predicted significantly higher reading scores; there were no effects for students who participated only in prekindergarten. This may suggest that the parental involvement curriculum in HIPPY programs helps bilingual students to overcome the barriers they face when ecological factors are in place, supporting the theory of developmental contextualism (Lerner, 1991)."
"It was of particular interest that prekindergarten alone was not an effective intervention for this group. The HIPPY program predicted higher scores on TAKS reading when combined with prekindergarten. A test of the HIPPY program, including students who were only in HIPPY and in both groups, was also significant."
It makes so much sense to me that HIPPY children in Pre-K do even better than their peers. That first year of school is such a huge transition for children. If they enter school well prepared, with parents who clearly understand their role and how to support their child's education, they are able to fully benefit from high quality classroom experiences. The evidence is clear...children need both quality pre-school classroom experience AND support at home!