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(links to source documents are in the postings below)

1. New!  State of Preschool Yearbook 2018 - NIEER
2. New!  Pre-K Quality in American Cities - CityHealth and NIEER
3. The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects - Duke University and         Brookings Institute
4. The Evidence Base for Pre-School Education - Foundation for Child Development
5. Full Day vs. Part-Day Kindergarten and School Readiness - University of Virginia
6. Effects of Full-Day Kindergarten on Academic Achievement and Social Development - Review      of Education Research
Three Policies and 3 Practices for High Quality Pre-K - Indispensables for Quality Pre-K
8. K-3 Quality: A 50 State Comparison - Education Commission of the States
9. Indispensable Policies and Practices for High Quality Pre-K - New America
10. Does State Pre-K Improve Children's Achievement? - Brookings
11. Rochester (NY) "Early Childhood Assessment Partnership" (RECAP) Report 2017-2018 
12. K-3 School Absences: Challenging Critical Assumptions - Madison Education Partnership
Post #1
April 19, 2019
State PreK 2018 Yearbook NIEER.JPG
The National Institute of Early Education Research released its 2018 State of Preschool Yearbook. This year, the report finds more children attending state-funded preschool programs across the US but funding failing to keep pace, resulting in low compensation for preschool teachers that too often undermines classroom quality.
The report also shows just a third of 4-year-olds and 5.5 percent of 3-year-olds enrolled in public preschool programs—virtually no change in years. At this pace, it would take states nearly 20 years to enroll even half of all 4-year-olds and it would take nearly a century to reach the 50% mark for 3-year-olds. State spending per child also has decreased, when adjusted for inflation; and most states fail to pay pre-K teachers comparably to K-3 teachers. Future progress may be hampered by the sun-setting of federal Preschool Development Grants this year, as only half of states have made plans to maintain enrollment supported by the federal grant.
Example: New York State
New York NIEER 2018 Yearbook.JPG
Example: Florida
Florida NIEER 2018 Year Book.JPG
The State of Preschool 2018
National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)

Pre-K Quality in American Cities

CityHealth and

National Institute for Early Education Research (NIERR) ​

January 24, 2019 

CityHealth awards gold, silver, bronze, or no medals in each of the nine CityHealth policies to the nation’s largest 40 cities based on the quantity and quality of their policies and programs. NYC's "Pre-K for All" received a Gold rating.

For the past two years, CityHealth, in partnership with the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), has assessed access to high-quality Pre-K programs and reported on the overall medal status for cities’ Pre-K programs.

  • A bronze medal signals that a city meets the criteria for access,

  • a silver represents a city program that mandates quality but provides low accessibility, and

  • a gold medal means that a city earned points for both quality and accessibility in its Pre-K program.

In its most recent assessment, CityHealth awarded 5 gold, 8 silver, and 20 bronze medals to cities in Pre-K. This report analyzes findings on the key measures, ranging from class size to accessibility.

Key findings:

  • Access: Access to Pre-K programs is limited in most cities. Only 24 of the 40 largest U.S. cities (60%) offer a Pre-K program that reaches more than 30% of the 4-year-old population.

  • Class Size and Ratio: Just over half of the largest U.S. cities (23 of 40, or 58%) meet quality benchmarks for Pre-K class size, which is one teacher and one teacher assistant for every 20 students

  • Teacher Preparation, Professional Development and Salary: Almost two-thirds of city programs (25 of 40, or 63%) require Pre-K teachers to have a bachelor’s degree with specialized training in teaching young children. Most programs (34 of 40, or 80%) require at least some specialized training for teachers. Only a small fraction of city programs (6 of 40, or 15%) require that all teaching staff receive ongoing professional development. Only 15 (38%) of the rated city programs require that all teachers be paid comparably to those in the K-12 system.

  • Supporting Healthy Development:  Few cities ensure that children are receiving critical health screenings. Less than a quarter of cities (9 of 40) ensure that children receive vision, hearing, health, and developmental screenings and referrals.

  • Systems for Improving Quality and Effectiveness:  Almost two-thirds of the city preschool programs (25 of 40, or 63%) have a coordinated system to monitor program implementation and use that information to improve Pre-K practices

CityHealth City PreK Quality.PNG
Post #2
The Current State of Scientific Knowledge
on  Pre-Kindergarten Effects
Post #3
PreK Current Knowledge.JPG
A Pre-Kindergarten Task Force of interdisciplinary scientists reviewed the evidence on the impact of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs. Members included: Deborah A. Phillips of Georgetown University, Mark W. Lipsey of Vanderbilt University, Kenneth A. Dodge of Duke University, Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution, Daphna Bassok of the University of Virginia, Margaret R. Burchinal of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Greg J. Duncan of the University of California-Irvine, Mark Dynarski of the Brookings Institution, Katherine A. Magnuson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Christina Weiland of the University of Michigan
The Task Force reached consensus on the following:
  • Studies of different groups of preschoolers often find greater improvement in learning at the end of the pre-k year for economically disadvantaged children and dual language learners than for more advantaged and English-proficient children.
  • Pre-k programs are not all equally effective. Several effectiveness factors may be at work in the most successful programs. One such factor supporting early learning is a well implemented, evidence-based curriculum. Coaching for teachers, as well as efforts to promote orderly but active classrooms, may also be helpful.
  • Children’s early learning trajectories depend on the quality of their learning experiences not only before and during their pre-k year, but also following the pre-k year. Classroom experiences early in elementary school can serve as charging stations for sustaining and amplifying pre-k learning gains. One good bet for powering up later learning is elementary school classrooms that provide individualization and differentiation in instructional content and strategies.
  • Convincing evidence shows that children attending a diverse array of state and school district pre-k programs are more ready for school at the end of their pre-k year than children who do not attend pre-k. Improvements in academic areas such as literacy and numeracy are most common; the smaller number of studies of social-emotional and self-regulatory development generally show more modest improvements in those areas.
  • Convincing evidence on the longer-term impacts of scaled-up pre-k programs on academic outcomes and school progress is sparse, precluding broad conclusions. The evidence that does exist often shows that pre-k-induced improvements in learning are detectable during elementary school, but studies also reveal null or negative longer-term impacts for some programs.
  • States have displayed considerable ingenuity in designing and implementing their pre-k programs. Ongoing innovation and evaluation are needed during and after pre-k to ensure continued improvement in creating and sustaining children’s learning gains. Research-practice partnerships are a promising way of achieving this goal. These kinds of efforts are needed to generate more complete and reliable evidence on effectiveness factors in pre-k and elementary school that generate long-run impacts.
  • In conclusion, the scientific rationale, the uniformly positive evidence of impact on kindergarten readiness, and the nascent body of ongoing inquiry about long-term impacts lead us to conclude that continued implementation of scaled-up pre-k programs is in order as long as the implementation is accompanied by rigorous evaluation of impact.
PreK Growth.JPG
PreK enrollment.JPG
Post #4

Evidence Base for Preschool Education

Evidence for PreK.PNG
  • Large-scale public preschool programs can have substantial impacts on children’s early learning. These gains include language, reading, and math skills.

  • Quality factors in preschool: stimulating and supportive interactions between teachers and children and effective use of curricula. Studies show a minority of preschool programs provide excellent quality especially for instructional support.

  • There are important benefits of comprehensive services.  There is evidence for parenting programs that use modeling with practice and feedback.  Classes or workshops are not associated with improvements in children’s skills.

  • Quality preschool can benefit virtually all children (middle and lower incomes, special needs, and English Language Learners).  Low-income children benefit the most.

  • Long-term benefits occur despite convergence of test scores. Evidence suggests long term benefits (e.g. HS graduation, earnings) even when test scores converge.

  • Quality preschool education is a profitable investment.

  • Supporting teachers through coaching or mentoring is linked to child benefits

Post #5
Full-Day and Part-Day Pre-Kindergarten and School Readiness
Full v Part Day PreK U of Virginia.PNG
The study provides the first rigorous evidence on the impact of full-day preschool on children's school readiness skills. Among children enrolled in district schools, full-day participants  outperformed their peers on teacher-reported measures of cognition, literacy, math, and physical development. At kindergarten entry, children offered pre-k still outperformed peers on a widely-used measure of basic literacy.
This study is a randomized control trial of full- versus half-day pre-kindergarten in a school district near Denver. Four-year-old children were randomly assigned an offer of half-day (four days/week) or full-day (five days/week) pre-k that increased class time by over 600 hours. The offer of full day pre-k produced large, positive effects on children's receptive vocabulary skills by the end of pre-k.
Post #6
Effects of Full-Day Kindergarten on
Academic Achievement and Social Development
Full Day Kindergarten Effects 2010.PNG
"A meta-analysis found that attending full-day (or all-day) kindergarten had a positive association with academic achievement (compared to half-day kindergarten) equal to about one quarter standard deviation at the end of the kindergarten year. But the association disappeared by third grade. Reasons for this fade-out are discussed.
Social development measures revealed mixed results. Evidence regarding child independence was inconclusive. Evidence was suggestive of a small positive association between full-day kindergarten and attendance and a more substantial positive association with the child’s self-confidence and ability to work and play with others.
However, children may not have as positive an attitude toward school in full-day versus half-day kindergarten and may experience more behavior problems. In general, the research on full-day kindergarten would benefit from future studies that allow strong causal inferences and that include more nonacademic outcomes. The authors suggest that full-day kindergarten should be available to all children but not necessarily universally prescribed."
Post #7
3 Practices and 3 Policies for Quality Pre-K
Indispensibles for Quality PreK.PNG

"Top-level researchers and program leaders agree that high-quality teaching and learning in pre-K for 3- and 4-year olds. requires these instructional practices and policies."


PRACTICE 1:  Engage in positive interactions with children and their families, recognizing the strengths and diversity of their backgrounds.

PRACTICE 2:  Use learning trajectories in subject areas and domains, supported by effective curricula, to help children meet goals in learning and development.

PRACTICE 3:  Promote children’s social development and self-regulation in ways that reflect an understanding of the multiple biological and environmental factors that affect behavior.

POLICY 1:  Allocate increased, predictable, and sustainable funding to establish the conditions necessary for high-quality teaching and learning.

POLICY 2:  Provide educators with professional learning (pre-service and in-service) based at a minimum on the 3 Indispensable Practices and on in-service opportunities aligned with the definition of professional development in the Every Student Succeeds Act.

POLICY 3:  Use high-quality data to promote continuous quality improvement and better continuity from ages 0–3 to pre-K and pre-K to grades K–3.

K-3 Quality: A 50 State Comparison
Education Commission of the States - 2016
Post #8
K-3 State Comparison.JPG
From the Document: 
In recent years, the pre-kindergarten (pre-K) component of the early childhood (birth to age eight) continuum has received significant policy attention. While the pre-K years are a critical time for early childhood development, there is a policy disconnect between the birth to age five and the kindergarten through third grade (K-3) components of this continuum. Children are at risk of losing the gains that they make in high-quality pre-K programs if the K-3 experience that follows does not continue at the same level of academic rigor and developmentally appropriate practice. In order to ensure that children meet key benchmarks, such as third grade reading proficiency, policymakers may want to consider focusing on improving quality not just in pre-K, but also in the K-3 years.
Post #9
Indispensable Policies and Practices for High Quality Pre-K 
This report synthesizes recent meta-analyses and other studies of pre-K programs and analyzes existing pre-K quality standards to arrive at a summary of policies and practices that are indispensable for high-quality teaching and learning in pre-K.  Six core themes emerge from this review
  1. Instruction and Assessment

  2. Family Engagement

  3. Funding

  4. P-3 Alignment

  5. Program Improvement

  6. Workforce Support


Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Evidence-based and developmentally focused curricula that are implemented with fidelity are associated with positive child outcomes. A quality curriculum plays a crucial role in ensuring that children have the opportunity to acquired school readiness skills during pre-K. A high-quality curriculum provides developmentally appropriate activities that integrate the five areas of school readiness: social and emotional development; approaches to learning; language development; cognition and knowledge; and physical well-being and motor development.

Recent evaluations showcase that the effective use of curricula focused on specific aspects of learning (e.g., language and literacy, math, or socio-emotional development) offers a substantial boost for children’s learning. Effective curricula include 1) an encouraging emotional climate, characterized by attuned and responsive teachers, and 2) teacher-child interactions that foster a language-rich environment that supports learning in specific content areas (e.g., early literacy and math), while also promoting higher-order thinking skills. Additionally, studies show that children tend to make more gains when educators faithfully and accurately implement the curriculum (i.e., fidelity).

Family Engagement


Research indicates that family engagement in early care and education programs creates positive impacts. Family engagement in early childhood programming has been positively linked to pre-literacy skills such as vocabulary, early writing, book knowledge, letter word recognition and letter identification tasks, story and print comprehension, and pre-math problem solving. Family engagement in early care and education can include 1) home-based involvement, such as reading to a child at home; 2) school-based involvement, like volunteering in a classroom; or 3) home-school conferencing, where the family and teacher communicate about a child’s progress.

Even though research shows the benefits of comprehensive family engagement for young children, consensus does not yet seem as clear among existing pre-K program standards.


Low funding levels and high costs put services that support learning and well-being out of reach for many families with young children. Early education today is a critical contributor to children’s healthy development and is an important support for working families. High-quality early childhood education reduces gaps in school readiness and improves learning outcomes. However, the high cost of quality care represents a significant barrier for many families. While state, federal, and local funding has helped to increase access for many families who would otherwise not be able to place their children in programs, funding for high-quality early education still falls short of what is needed.
Programs supporting early care and education have grown in recent years, resulting in multiple funding streams at the federal, state, and local levels. Funding for early care and education is generated on the federal level from a variety of programs and funding streams including a) Head Start/Early Head Start, b) direct child care subsidies, c) child care tax credits, d) Title 1, e) early childhood special education—IDEA Part C and B, f) state  funded pre-K, and g) local pre-K initiatives.

P-3 Alignment

Quality pre-K is linked positively to children’s cognitive, emotional, and social development. However, academic gains seem to fade as children advance beyond kindergarten. An educational approach that joins elements of high-quality pre-K and the early elementary grades into a cohesive system of teaching and learning helps ensure children acquire and sustain the knowledge and skills they need to be successful at every level When this P–3 approach includes a system of aligned standards, curricula, instructional practices, and assessments within and across levels, it has the potential to sustain positive outcomes and strengthen learning.


While efforts related to Quality Rating and Improvement System are primarily focused on promoting systemic strategies to improve the quality of early childhood programs for children from birth to age 5, significant impacts on children, families, programs, and schools are all possible when QRIS and P–3 reform efforts are linked. 

Program Improvement: 

Similar to program-level evaluation, QRIS can assess process and structural indicators like teachers’ qualifications. However, unlike program evaluation, QRIS typically do not assess child outcomes in the pursuit of understanding program quality. By focusing on indicators with demonstrable links to children’s learning, the validity of QRIS ratings likely will improve.  Currently, there is still limited research around the validity and reliability of QRIS. 


Workforce Support:

However, some studies find no differences in program quality according to teacher degree level or degree field, especially in publicly-funded pre-K programs in which the importance of teacher degrees may be limited by other contextual factors. A meta-analysis found divergent results across 32 studies. The overall average effect of a teacher with a bachelor’s degree on program quality outcomes was small but positive. Research is inconclusive on the relationship between teacher degree and specialization and children’s school readiness outcomes.


Studies find that coaching and mentoring can lead to higher program quality and is linked with positive child outcomes in some studies, although the quality of the coaching is important, and more research is needed on the specific types of coaching that best support child learning and development. Studies also suggest that training and workshops can support program quality, but training may be most effective when combined with individualized supports such as coaching.


Indispensible for Quality PreK.PNG
New American Family Engagement Activitie
Post #10
Does State Pre-K Improve Children's Achievement?  Brookings
PreK Not So Hot Brookings July 2018.PNG

"There is a strong and politically bipartisan push to increase access to government-funded pre-K. This is based on a premise that free and available pre-K is the surest way to provide the opportunity for all children to succeed in school and life, and that it has predictable and cost-effective positive impacts on children’s academic success." 

"The evidence to support this predicate is weak. There is only one randomized trial of a scaled-up state pre-K program with follow-up into elementary school. Rather than providing an academic boost to its participants as expected by pre-K advocates, achievement favored the control group by 2nd and 3rd grade. It is, however, only one study of one state program at one point in time. Do the findings generalize? The present study provides new correlational analyses that are relevant to the possible impact of state pre-K on later academic achievement. Findings include:

  • no association between states’ federally reported scores on the fourth grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in various years and differences among states in levels of enrollment in their state’s pre-K program five years earlier than each of those years (when the fourth-graders taking NAEP would have been preschoolers);

  • positive associations (small and typically not statistically significant) between NAEP scores and earlier pre-K enrollment, when the previous analysis is conducted using NAEP scores that are statistically adjusted to account for differences between the states in the demographic characteristics of students taking NAEP; and

  • no association between differences among states in their gains in state pre-K enrollment and their gains in adjusted NAEP scores.

Post #11
Rochester (NY) Early Childhood Assessment Partnership (RECAP)  2017-18 Report
Rochester RECAP 2017 2018.JPG

RECAP began in 1992 as a collaboration of the United Way of New York State, the Rochester Area Community Foundation, the Rochester City School District (RCSD), Center for Governmental Research (CGR), Action for a Better Community (ABC), County of Monroe and Children’s Institute. Since its inception, one of RECAP’s overall guiding tenets has been to continuously promote, ensure, and improve the quality of pre-kindergarten (pre-k) classroom experiences through the use of an integrated and comprehensive information system. In addition to providing information to enhance children’s, teachers’, and systems’ performance, RECAP works to translate collected data into usable information for parents, providers, and policy makers. This resulted in informed and targeted interventions for children, professional development activities for providers, and changes in policy by funders and governments. Throughout its history, RECAP collaborated with many partners, including foundations, local governments, public and parochial schools, Head Start programs, and early education teachers at multiple schools and community-based organizations.

Each year, RECAP provides important services – primarily to providers and policy makers – which include:

  • Professional development for teachers and program administrators in the use of child screening measures, assessments, and rating scales and the interpretation of reports.

  • Efficient and user-friendly data collection and feedback reports, with reports looped back to teachers and directors using COMET® system reports, which provide instant feedback, and paper reports, when desired, at the child, classroom, program, and system levels.

  • Training for teachers, administrators and observers on fidelity implementation and quality indicators of the standards assessed with the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, third edition (ECERS-3) and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS).

  • Twice monthly review and planning meetings with community-based organizations including: ABC Head Start, RCSD, University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Institute and other early education community leaders and evaluators to analyze and synthesize available information, recommend changes, and monitor the systematic quality of early education in Rochester.

  • Quarterly Community Advisory Group meetings to facilitate support and direction from and to the community.

  • Community presentations of aggregate results to facilitate understanding of outcomes for pre-kindergarten children and to support informed decision making.

In sum, information-based decisions are integrated into a continuous improvement system that strives to ensure and maintain high quality pre-k programs and improve students’ overall performance and outcomes. RECAP uses reliable and valid measures to assess program quality and student outcomes. Throughout RECAP’s 24-year history, the ECERS (or its updated version, the ECERS-3) has been implemented to study classroom quality. Starting seven years ago, the CLASS, a relatively “new” measure at that time, was piloted with random subsamples of RECAP classrooms. The pilot lasted from 2009 to 2012; approximately 30 classrooms per year, 95 classrooms overall, were randomly selected to receive CLASS training and observations.

During the pilot phase, analyses repeatedly showed that, while both the ECERS and CLASS assessed classroom quality, the quality indicators within the CLASS and those within the ECERS-R were different. Therefore, starting the 2012-2013 school year, all RECAP classrooms were observed with the CLASS instrument, as well as the ECERS-R. The 2017-18 school year marks the sixth year that the CLASS instrument was used to assess all RECAP classrooms.

To measure levels of students’ competencies and needs within academic, motoric, and noncognitive or social/emotional domains, the Child Observation Record - Advantage (CORAdvantage or COR+) was completed three times -- fall, early winter and spring. The TeacherChild Rating Scale (T-CRS) was completed in the fall and again in the spring. In keeping with national trends, state requirements, and local needs and for screening children early in the school year, the Brigance Early Childhood Screen III (Brigance III) was also used as a screening tool within the first 90 days that students began their pre-k year.

Rochester RECAP Activities 2017-18.JPG
Early Pre-K (EPK) (3 year-olds)
Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECRES-3)
Rochester RECAP EPK ECERS 2017-18.JPG
Rochester RECAP EPK CLASS 2017-18.JPG
Post #12
K-3 School Absences: Challenging Critical Assumptions
K-3 Attendance.PNG

"The general assumption is that increased attendance is tied to better student academic and social-emotional learning. “We present evidence (that)…contradicts this logic."

"First, if exposure to and engagement in classroom learning underlie the relationship between attendance and achievement, we would expect excused and unexcused absences to have similar associations with grades and test scores."

"Second, the impact of absences on achievement ought to be approximately additive, as the amount of instruction missed on the first day a child is absent should on average be about the same as the amount of instruction missed on the 10th or 20th day a child is absent. We find neither of these to be the case."

EXCUSED AND UNEXCUSED ABSENCES: Excused absences have little association with student performance in grades or test scores; unexcused absences, however, are negatively associated with achievement, but most of the association can be accounted for by demographics, health conditions, and prior student achievement. Unexcused absences are more a signal than a cause.

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