Date of Award

August 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Wen Luo

Committee Members

Ron A. Cisler, Cindy M. Walker


Kindergarten Students, Private School, Public School, Reading Achievement


BACKGROUND: Students taught at private schools by and large attain higher marks on reading achievement tests than do students taught at public schools. This difference is further aggravated by race, socioeconomic status, and reading ability at the entry of kindergarten.

PURPOSE: The goal of this nonexperimental study was to investigate whether students in either school type vary in reading achievement when they are measured on similar confounding variables (i.e., race, SES, and reading scores at the entrance of kindergarten).

METHODS: Propensity score matching, a method used to estimate causal treatment effect, was used to analyze the original sample of 12,250 kindergarten students. These same data were examined using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM).

RESULTS: Using PSM, the mean difference between private and public school students in their reading achievement in the spring kindergarten year was not statistically significant (mean difference = -.124, t(6694) = .516, p = .606).

CONCLUSION: Once students were equal on the confounding variables there was not a significant differences between the private school students and the public school students. Similar conclusions were reached by the PSM and the HLM methods.