Design, Sites, and Data Sources
During the 2012-2013 school year, the research team conducted a successful pilot phase involving more than 40 lead and assistant teachers in eight preschool programs in low-income neighborhoods across New York City. Lessons from these pilot experiences are strengthening the implementation of the Making Pre-K Count model during the current full-scale phase of the program.
The full-scale phase consists of two academic years of program implementation (2013-2014 and 2014-2015), which allows teachers to immerse themselves in the model for a full year before the impacts on children are assessed. Sixty-nine preschool programs and approximately 150 teachers and 3500 children are currently involved in the study.
Sites selected for participation in the study include a mix of center- and school-based programs that:
- serve large proportions of children from low-income families, as measured by the federal poverty level or receipt of free and reduced-price lunches;
- operate full-day preschool programs in two or more classrooms that primarily serve typically developing four-year-old children who speak English or Spanish; and
- have offered their preschool programs for no less than two years.
Making Pre-K Count is a random assignment study: half of the selected preschool programs were randomly assigned to the program group, which is receiving the “Building Blocks” curriculum and coaching, and half of the programs were assigned to the comparison group, which is conducting business as usual. Beginning in the second full-scale year (2014-2015), the research team will track both groups of children over time (at least through third grade) to understand the impacts of the program. The team will examine changes in teachers and classrooms over the two years of program implementation, and follow children’s outcomes such as math ability and executive function. The team will also conduct implementation research in order to understand what happened during the course of the study and how training and coaching may have affected implementation.