Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




While a considerable amount of evaluative research has been performed in the area of day care, the overwhelming majority of these studies have dealt only with experimental programs aimed at lower class children. The present study was conceived as an evaluation of established day care and preschool programs available to the general community. The study was performed in an Upper Midwest community with a total population of 35*000.

Three groups of fifth-grade students were selected and matched on the bases of age, sex, and family income. Members of Group 1 had no day care experience, Group 2 had 20- 120 total days of day care experience, and Group 3 had from 121-360 total days of day care experience.

The groups were compared with each other on the basis of three criteria: academic achievement, intelligence, and social maturity* Academic achievement was measured by each subjects final, grades for reading (language arts) and mathematics as recorded for the 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades in school* Intelligence was measured by the subject's Iowa Test of Basic Skills national percentile, as achieved on an administration of that test six months prior to the present study. Social maturity was measured by the Vine- land Social Maturity Scale, which was administered by the author to each subject's parents, and by parents' and teachers' ratings of each subject's maturity on a scale from 1 through 10.

Data were treated in the following manner: reading and mathematics scores were each analyzed by means of a 3 by 3 analysis of variance. Iowa Basic Test percentiles, Vine- land Age score, Parents' Ratings and Teachers' Ratings were subjected to one-way analysis of variance. Miscellaneous correlation coefficients exploring the possible influence of partially-controlled extraneous variables were also performed.

It was found that scores for most measures tended to increase in value as amount of day care increased. However, only Reading scores were found to differ significantly between groups with Group 3 being highest achievers and Group 1 being lowest. The influence of a major extraneous variable was ruled out by the lack of significant correlation between amount of days spent in day care and family income for this sample.

The significant P for Reading was regarded as the major observation of the study, since this effect was the only statistically significant difference between the day care and non-day care groups and one of the few effects known to have endured beyond the third grade in any study of this type* It was also noted that the effect of differing sets of teachers can be an important extraneous variable in studies involving school achievement score.