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Research > Perry Preschool Study

HighScope Perry Preschool Study

Lifetime Effects: The HighScope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40 (2005)

This study — perhaps the most well-known of all HighScope research efforts — examines the lives of 123 children born in poverty and at high risk of failing in school.

From 1962–1967, at ages 3 and 4, the subjects were randomly divided into a program group that received a high-quality preschool program based on HighScope's participatory learning approach and a comparison group who received no preschool program. In the study's most recent phase, 97% of the study participants still living were interviewed at age 40. Additional data were gathered from the subjects' school, social services, and arrest records.

The study found that adults at age 40 who had the preschool program had higher earnings, were more likely to hold a job, had committed fewer crimes, and were more likely to have graduated from high school than adults who did not have preschool. See Figures 1 and 2 for more information.

Related sources

"Benefits, Costs, and Explanation of the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," by Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Ph.D. Paper presented at the Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Tampa, Florida, April 26, 2003.

"Early Lessons," by Emily Hanford, American RadioWorks, American Public Media, 2009. 

"How the HighScope Perry Preschool Project Grew: A Researcher's Tale" by Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Ph. D. Research Bulletin, Phi Delta Kappa Center for Evaluation, Development, and Research, June 2002, No. 32.

"The HighScope Perry Preschool Project," by Greg Parks, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Justice bulletin, October 2000.

"Lasting Benefits of Preschool Programs," by Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Ph.D., ERIC EECE Publications — Digests, EDO-PS-94-2, January 1994, ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education.

References (HighScope Publications)

Schweinhart, L. J., Montie, J., Xiang, Z., Barnett, W. S., Belfield, C. R., & Nores, M. (2005). Lifetime effects: The HighScope Perry Preschool study through age 40. (Monographs of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation, 14). Ypsilanti, MI: HighScope Press.

Barnett, W. S. (1996). Lives in the balance: Age-27 benefit-cost analysis of the HighScope Perry Preschool Program (Monographs of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation, 11). Ypsilanti, MI: HighScope Press.

Schweinhart, L. J., Barnes, H. V., & Weikart, D. P. (1993). Significant benefits: The HighScope Perry Preschool study through age 27 (Monographs of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation, 10). Ypsilanti: HighScope Press.

For a list of additional discussions of the Perry study in refereed journals, click here.

Video Clip: Lifetime Effects — The Perry results through age 40

TEDx Video Clip: The Extraordinary ROI in High-Quality Preschool

Related Product
Lifetime Effects: Monograph with full report on the study

PDF summary:
The age 40 results

Press Release:
HighScope Perry Preschool study

News briefing on age 40 findings transcript

Social Programs That Work
Information on Perry Study from the Coalition for Evidenced-Based Policy

Updates on cost-benefit analysis
New tables present revised data for Lifetime Effects monograph




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