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Cognitive and social–emotional outcomes
The Abecedarian Project research measured many aspects of children's growth and development at frequent intervals in their first 5 years. The assessments included cognitive and social–emotional outcomes for children and potential benefits for mothers.
- For the first 12 months on four separate measurement occasions the Abecedarian treatment group and control group performed similarly and essentially at the national average.
- After 12 months the control group's scores declined quickly. At 24 months, the control children were performing at the low end of the normal range – at an average Developmental Quotient of 85 on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development.
- For the remaining preschool years (ages two through four), the Abecedarian treatment group scored an average of 10–15 points higher than the control group on three different types of developmental assessments.
- For the control group, 93% were in the normal range at age six months, but this dropped to 45% by four years – clearly consistent with the hypothesis of a cumulative toll due to lack of cognitive, language and social–emotional learning opportunities.
- For the early educational treatment group, 95–100% scored within the normal range at all the ages tested. This pattern of consistent and large differences between the groups supports the hypothesis that high-quality early education can prevent cognitive delays or below normal intelligence in children from families experiencing significant disadvantage in everyday life.
Benefits for mothers
- During the preschool years, the teenage mothers of children in the treatment group were significantly more likely to continue their own education. The teenage mothers continued their own educational advancement throughout their children's school years.
- By the time their children were 15, 80% of mothers of children in the treatment group had some post-high-school education, compared with only 30% of the teenage mothers of children in the control group.