|Citation:||Baker, A. J. L., Piotrkowski, C. S., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1999). The Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY). Future of Children, 9(9), 116-133.|
This article reports findings from two related research studies, one conducted in New York City and one in the state of Arkansas, exploring the effectiveness of the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY). Initially developed in Israel, HIPPY is a two-year early education intervention program targeted to parents with limited formal education, with home-based services to help parents prepare their four- and five-year-old children for school. As of 1999, the program was operating in more than 120 sites in the U.S. Core elements include bimonthly home visits by trained paraprofessionals, alternating with group meetings with parents and professionals. HIPPY uses structured lesson plans that are designed to enhance childrenÕs literacy and cognitive skills, and that have been adapted to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of families in the U.S. The New York study was a two-cohort randomized trial involving 182 families after attrition, which was sizable for the first cohort. Children from the intervention and control groups in both cohorts participated in a full-day preschool program during the first year and kindergarten during the second year; families of children in the intervention group received HIPPY services as well. The Arkansas study was quasi-experimental, involving 226 children and their families. The intervention and comparison groups were well matched on key variables, except that children in the intervention groups scored higher on baseline preschool readiness measures than did the comparison group children. At the Arkansas site, neither intervention or comparison group children participated in another preschool program during the first year, although 92 percent of participating children were enrolled in kindergarten during the second year. Findings for both studies were mixed, with inconsistent outcomes across cohorts. In the New York study, children in the Cohort I intervention group significantly outperformed control group children Òon measures of cognitive skills at the end of kindergarten, on measures of classroom adaptation at the beginning of the first and second grades, and on a standardized reading test at the end of first gradeÓ (p. 122). However, none of these effects were replicated in Cohort II. In the Arkansas study, children in the Cohort I treatment group showed significantly better scores on measures related to classroom adaptation but not to cognitive outcomes. However, in Cohort II, the control group outperformed the intervention group on measures of both school readiness and standardized achievement at the end of kindergarten. The authors noted that Òanalyses revealed no differences between cohorts or in the program delivery that would explain the failure to replicate the resultsÓ of findings between cohorts (p. 125). Based on qualitative data regarding levels of parent involvement and rates of attrition, the authors speculated that differences in familiesÕ level of involvement in HIPPY may have contributed to the differences. However, a number of program-related and logistical problems prevented the systematic collection and analysis of data to explore this variable.
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