Gender Differences in the Impact of North Carolina’s Early Care and Education Initiatives on Student Outcomes in Elementary School

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© The Author(s) 2018. Based on growing evidence of the long-term benefits of enriched early childhood experiences, we evaluate the potential for addressing gender disparities in elementary school through early care and education programs. Specifically, we explore the community-wide effects of two statewide initiatives in North Carolina on gender differences in academic outcomes in Grades 3 to 5, using administrative student data and information on variation in program availability across counties and over time. We find that although investments in early care and education programs produce significant gains in math and reading skills on average for all children, boys experience larger program-related gains than girls. Moreover, the greatest gains among boys emerge for those from less advantaged families. In contrast, the large and statistically significant reductions in special education placements induced by these early childhood program do not differ consistently by gender.





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Muschkin, CG, HF Ladd, KA Dodge and Y Bai (2020). Gender Differences in the Impact of North Carolina’s Early Care and Education Initiatives on Student Outcomes in Elementary School. Educational Policy, 34(2). pp. 377–407. 10.1177/0895904818773901 Retrieved from

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Clara G. Muschkin

Associate Research Professor Emerita in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Clara Muschkin is an associate research professor emerita of public policy at Duke University and an affiliate of the Center for Child and Family Policy.  She directed the Child Policy Research Certificate Program and was the faculty director for the North Carolina Education Research Data Center (NCERDC).

Muschkin is a sociologist and demographer with an interdisciplinary research focus. In her research, she asks how education policies that influence the composition and organization of educational institutions can influence student behavior and academic performance. Her current research interests include: the impact of early childhood education policies on subsequent student outcomes; the impact of grade configuration on student behavior; the influence of grade retention and age on behavior and academic performance; impact of school composition by race and immigrant status on student behavior and achievement across grade levels; evaluation of high school reform policies; and successful outcomes for community college students.

Research Interests:
  • Education and social policy
  • Academic performance and student behavior
  • Public Policy
  • Early Childhood education
  • Peer Influence in schools
  • Poverty and Inequality

Yu Bai

Statistician III

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