A five-year follow-up study of a K/1 transition program: Implications for later achievement and educational intervention services

Date of Completion

January 1997


Education, Elementary|Education, Special




Transition classes were introduced into Connecticut schools in the 1970's as a solution to the growing numbers of children requiring remedial services in elementary school and the over identification of students for special education. This study evaluates the effectiveness of transition classes in lowering the need for remedial services and special education, and in allowing developmentally young students to achieve academic success in line with their development.^ A school district in a suburban, middle class town in central Connecticut was studied. The district's transition classes followed a developmental philosophy with an integrated program that supported growth and achievement through a variety of child-centered, experience-based activities. Children placed in a transition class between kindergarten and grade one for the period 1979 to 1983 participated. Their academic achievement and need for services were compared longitudinally with their age and grade peers through grade five. To determine achievement and identification for Chapter I services, records of 387 students (102 transition and 285 non-transition) were compared using standardized scores on the Reading and Total Math subtests of the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) (Hieronymus & Lindquist, 1978) administered at grades three and five. To determine whether transitional classes were effective in limiting later identification for remedial and special education, the same groups' referrals for the remedial and special education services from 1979 to 1988 were reviewed.^ Separate 2 (group) x 3 (year) x 2 (test grade) analyses of variance (ANOVA's) for Reading and Total Math ITBS scores showed no differences between the transition students and their grade peers. Similar 2 (group) x 2 (year) x 2 (test grade) ANOVA's for the same measures did not yield differences between the transition students and their age peers. Chi-square tests of the total numbers of transition and non-transition students identified for special education and Chapter I services again did not detect differences. The overall pattern of results suggests that transition class placement may have had some effect with this sample in providing students with a developmentally appropriate program that allowed them to achieve on a level with their grade peers and limited their later identification for remedial and special education services. ^