How effective is San Antonio’s full-day preschool program?

Evaluating San Antonio’s Pre-K 4 SA program


Research shows that attending preschool can shrink by one-half the achievement gap between low- and high-income students. San Antonio is one of a handful of U.S. cities investing in preschool programming for underserved children. Its Pre-K 4 SA program began providing full-day preschool for 4-year-olds in 2013; by the 2016-2017 school year, more than 2,000 children were enrolled.

The City of San Antonio requested Westat’s assistance in evaluating the program’s effectiveness.


During 2016-2017, we gathered data on the program by:

  • Collecting information on nearly 500 randomly selected children’s executive function skills
  • Observing 100 classrooms and teachers, using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) that looks at the quality of teacher-child interactions in the classroom
  • Reviewing administrative data on attending children, including attendance and Teaching Strategies GOLD outcome data

Future evaluations will continue to focus on teachers’ reports of the children’s progress and our observations of the children in the classroom, including their interactions with their teachers.


In the beginning of the school year, Pre-K 4 SA children were below the norm in cognitive, literacy, language, physical, and social-emotional skills compared to a nationally representative sample of children.

By the end of the year:

  • Students surpassed the norm in cognitive, literacy, and mathematics skills
  • The program eliminated the initial gap in the remaining 3 outcomes: language, physical, and social-emotional

Instructional support improved the most within the 3 CLASS quality domains since the program began: emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional.


Deep Dive with Our Experts

view all insights
  • Perspective

    Highlights of Westat at AAPOR 2024

    May 2024

    We’ve returned from the 79th Annual American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Conference, held May 15-17 in Atlanta, where we caught up with colleagues…

  • Expert Interview

    PMGE: Blueprint for Culturally Responsive Evaluations

    May 2024

    Long known for its cutting-edge studies, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), a department of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), has…

  • Perspective

    Westat @ AAPOR 2024

    May 2024

    Westat experts are excited to head to Atlanta May 15-17, 2024, for the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) 79th Annual Conference. We’re proud…


Keep Reading

view all projects

How can we help?

We welcome messages from job seekers, collaborators, and potential clients and partners.

Get in Contact

Want to work with us?

You’ll be in great company.

Explore Careers
Back to Top