HISD preschool parenting program reports higher student achievement in reading and math

Children of parents who participated in the Houston Independent School District’s Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program have outperformed their peers on the 2014 Aprenda 3 exam in reading and mathematics in the first, second, and third grades.

This marks the fourth consecutive evaluation in which HIPPY students have significantly outperformed their peers on the standardized exam for English Language Learners.

The annual HISD evaluation of the program looked at test results of 99 elementary school students whose parents participated during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 year. The most significant differences between HIPPY students and non-HIPPY students were in second-grade mathematics and third-grade reading. On these exams, HIPPY students outscored their peers by 12.7 and 10.6 normal curve equivalents (NCEs), respectively.

HIPPY is a free community program available in HISD school communities to parents of children of ages 3 to 5 years. HIPPY home instructors visit parents in their homes to model a 30-week curriculum of developmental activities in reading and mathematics. After the visits, parents then practice the activities with their children to prepare them to start school.

Other highlights from the evaluation include:
• Children of the 2013-2014 HIPPY parent cohort achieved statistically significant increases in the number of items answered correctly on the Bracken School Readiness Assessment. They made gains in identifying sizes, shapes, numbers, letters, and colors. Each of these skills is essential for later success in school.
• Parents in HIPPY reported the average number of books to which their child had access rose from 25 to 41.
• Participating parents who reported that they read to their child every day increased from 20 percent to 34.7 percent.

During the 2013-2014 school year, under the newly established HISD Family and Community Engagement Department, HIPPY operated in 34 school communities and served 577 families, up from 12 school communities and 231 families the year before. This school year, HIPPY will operate in 49 school communities and will serve more than 800 families across the district.