In this commentary originally published in Route Fifty, JoAnn Hsueh, Cynthia Miller, and Michelle Maier discuss how states are supplementing the wages of childcare workers to retain them during widespread staffing shortages. Ensuring eligible workers enroll to receive the benefit can be challenging, but research suggests three strategies to help.
Leveraging Naturally Occurring Lotteries to Examine a District-Wide Rollout of Instructional Alignment Across Pre-K and Kindergarten
This study investigates whether naturally occurring lotteries, which approximate random assignment, can be used to evaluate the long-term effects of instructional alignment—standards, curricula, and assessments that build on one another from pre-K to elementary school—on children in Boston Public Schools. It concludes that they can.
Building Better Evidence on Pre-K Programs by Assessing the Full Range of Children’s Skills
Recent research has highlighted a pattern of “fadeout” of positive academic effects of pre-K as children progress into elementary school. This brief looks at examples of less frequently measured types of skills that pre-K programs may help boost in the short term and sustain over the longer term.
The Impacts of Making Pre-K Count and High 5s on Third-Grade Outcomes
Children who received two years of early math enrichment in New York City had improved math test scores in third grade. The size of the effect is equivalent to closing about 40 percent of the achievement gap between children from families with low incomes and their peers from families with higher incomes.
Equitable Pre-K Measures for Early Learning
The routine, large-scale collection of unbiased data about children’s skills, knowledge, behaviors, and classroom experiences is critical to the expansion of equitable pre-K programs nationwide. A new initiative aims to shift the data landscape and reimagine with an equity-centered lens the tools used to measure children’s early learning skills.
Lessons Learned from a Research-Practice Partnership with New York City’s Department of Education
A research-practice partnership between MDRC and the New York City Department of Education focused on mutual learning using insights from behavioral science and human-centered design to achieve five learning goals related to the kindergarten application process. This report discusses study results and lessons learned for each of the five goals.
In this commentary originally published by New America, Meghan McCormick and Christina Weiland argue that states should make investing in high-quality early childhood and kindergarten programs a priority in their pandemic recovery efforts.
Opportunities for Investing in Equity
This brief summarizes recent findings that show how a lack of access to high-quality summer programs may contribute to disparities in children’s learning and development during the transition to kindergarten. It identifies future research needed to ensure that equity-focused investments in summer learning pay off for children from underserved groups.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, early care and education providers faced challenges attracting and retaining qualified, well-trained, and diverse early educators — and staff turnover can affect children’s early progress. Three approaches may help improve these workers’ access to professional education, their overall economic well-being, and their sometimes difficult working conditions.
Children in low-income communities are less likely than others to attend programs that improve kindergarten readiness. MDRC has identified two ways to promote more equitable access: Make information about existing high-quality programs easier to understand and improve quality by investing in curricula and professional development.