MDRC Receives IES Grant to Study P-3 Education in the Boston Public Schools


MDRC has been awarded a grant by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education to lead a study of the Boston Public Schools’ policies and programs and how children’s learning environments support school success during prekindergarten and early elementary school years. The study will focus on children’s experiences in the classrooms, at home, after school, and over the summer that may promote or inhibit academic success. In addition to the Boston Public Schools district, key partners in the study include Christina Weiland, University of Michigan; Catherine Snow, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Jason Sachs, Boston Public Schools; Nonie Lesaux, Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Deborah Ball, University of Michigan.

The study will collect qualitative and quantitative data and use this information to examine:

  • how state and local policies and practices support students’ learning from P-3
  • how students’ experiences in classrooms and other settings affect their development
  • how the influence of these settings on students’ learning might differ depending on the students’ characteristics and skills

The researchers theorize that aligning students’ learning opportunities and their cumulative experiences in school and other settings are important for sustaining prekindergarten gains and strong academic, cognitive, and social-emotional skills at the end of third grade.

This grant is part of IES’s new Early Learning Network, a $26-million effort to develop reliable information and useful tools to improve early childhood education across the country.