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Focused Resources

Building state capacity to enhance child outcomes

Check back on this site frequently as we post seminal and emerging resources relevant to our Center’s central areas of focus.

Here you will find an array of materials, documents, and websites – articles, reports, archived webinars and video and other tools aimed at securing best practices and enhancing child outcomes.

These are drawn from the repository and emerging efforts of CEELO and our partner organizations, affiliated experts, and linking to other federal and national technical assistance efforts aligned with our work.

 

New Resources:

New! State-Funded PreK Policies on External Classroom Observations: Issues and Status. In this new Policy Information Report, Debra Ackerman examines the variety of state pre-K classroom observation policies on program decisions that are informed by observation score data, the protocols being used, and how often such data are collected from classrooms.

 

  • Using assessments to improve early childhood learning opportunities and outcomes

    States are working to build comprehensive early childhood assessment systems to answer key questions about young children’s learning and development and the effectiveness of early childhood programs. Research and best practice will help states as they make decisions and provide leadership in developing, adopting and providing guidance on assessment of children, programs, and educators; providing professional development on how to administer and use the results of assessments; and supporting timely, useful reporting of assessment data to early childhood programs, teachers, families, school districts and state policymakers.

    Selected Resources and Websites

    Examining the Content and Context of the Common Core State Standards: A First Look at Implications for the National Assessment of Educational Progress  NIEER Distinguished Research Fellow Dorothy Strickland was involved in developing this report, which examines the implications of the Common Core State Standards for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). This includes two substantial studies exploring the relationship between the content of the NAEP mathematics, reading, and writing assessments and the CCSS in mathematics and English language arts (ELA), along with two shorter white papers that explore (1) the potential for incorporating learning progressions into NAEP assessments, and (2) the implications for the NAEP program of coming changes in psychometric approaches to statewide testing.

    Using Alternative Student Growth Measures for Evaluating Teacher Performance: What the Literature Says  This resource from the Institute of Education Sciences and the Regional Education laboratory looks at approaches to alternative methods of evaluating student achievement in order to measure teacher performance. Currently, the most common method of measuring teacher performance is state assessments, but there are many other forms that can distinguish teacher performance which are outlined in this report.

    Education Commission of the States’ Kindergarten Database  This online database provides data from primary sources outlining state policies on 11 kindergarten issues commonly addressed by state policy, including compulsory school age, kindergarten entrance age, minimum hours required for kindergarten, kindergarten readiness assessments, curriculum, ratios, and more. Users can search each topic, or can search by state, to find relevant information on current state policy.

    Sue Bredekamp on Formative Assessment Sue Bredekamp sends a message to early childhood specialists attending CEELO’s first annual RoundTAble conference in San Francisco (June 5-6, 2013) to deepen our understanding of using assessment as a resource to improve the work teachers do in early childhood education.

    Policy Brief – Preschool Assessment: A Guide to Developing a Balanced Approach This policy brief examines assessment of learning among preschoolers and the trend toward increased standardized testing of young children. The brief offers definitions and applications of assessment concepts and policy recommendations essential to a balanced approach.

    Moving Forward with Kindergarten Readiness Assessment
    The Council of Chief State School Officer’s ECEA-SCASS is a learning community project for early childhood program managers and assessment specialists in state departments of education, with state teams working on collaborative projects on issues of standards, assessments, data systems, and accountability & program improvement initiatives for early education, kindergarten and primary grade programs.

    Early Childhood Curriculum, Assessment and Program Evaluation Based on a joint position statement from NAEYC and NAECS-SDE, this resource addresses building an effective, accountable system in programs for children birth through age eight. It includes the statement, recommendations, and expanded resources.

    Taking Stock: Assessing and Improving Early Childhood Learning and Program Quality Taking Stock provides recommendations from the National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force convened to address a comprehensive vision for a state accountability system for early education programs for prekindergarten children and for linking such efforts to standards-based assessment efforts in kindergarten and the primary grades.

  • Improving instruction and child outcomes by using data effectively

    Effective use of child, teacher and classroom assessment data can help teachers and educational leaders target instructional strategies and resources to achieve desired early learning outcomes. States vary in their capacity to support the use of data to inform decisions. Technical expertise can support SEA staff understanding of the nature and types of data that can be used to improve the quality of early educational experiences and ultimately early learning outcomes.

    Selected Resources and Websites

    New! Data in Head Start and Early Head Start: Digging Into Data. This interactive training tool from the Head Start National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations (NCPMFO) uses real-life scenarios to help program leaders choose and use data for many audiences. Activities include checking the integrity of available information, using a variety of techniques to aggregate and analyze data, using data to make decision on program priorities, and presenting and sharing data with different stakeholders.

    State of American’s Children 2014. This report provides a comprehensive compilation and analysis of the most recent and reliable national and state-by-state data on population, poverty, family structure, family income, health, nutrition, early childhood development, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, and gun violence. The report provides key child data showing alarming numbers of children at risk. A section on Early Childhood covers Head Start and home visiting programs as well.

    Head Start Data Are Totally Interesting, We Swear. NIEER/CEELO researcher Megan Carolan wrote a guest blog for the New America Foundation’s EdCentral, exploring the large pool of data that exists from the federal Head Start program’s Program Information Reports.

    CLASP Data Finder  CLASP maintains a customizable database of information on early childhood care and education programs and families, including figures on poverty, demographics, child care, Head Start and Early Head Start, TANF, and work supports. You can run reports based on all states, the U.S., or specific states

    Child Trends Child Trends, a non-profit research organization seeks to improve the lives of children and youth by conducting high-quality research and sharing it with the people and institutions whose decisions and actions affect children. Resources on early childhood assessment can be found on their website. One key report on early childhood measures can be found at: www.childtrends.org/…/Child_Trends-2011_07_01_ECH_ ResourcesECAssess.pdf

    The Center on Standards and Assessments Implementation The Center on Standards and Assessments Implementation (CSAI), funded through the U.S. Department of Education is designed to assist states’ transition to new standards and assessments.

    The Early Childhood Data Collaborative The Early Childhood Data Collaborative supports state policymakers’ development and use of coordinated state early care and education (ECE) data systems to improve the quality of ECE programs and the workforce, increase access to high-quality ECE programs, and ultimately improve child outcomes. The ECDC will provide tools and resources to encourage state policy change and provide a national forum to support the development and use of coordinated state ECE data systems.

  • Supporting continuous and sustained learning for every child from Birth through Third Grade

    State education leaders and early learning policy makers are increasingly working together to coordinate fiscal and human resources to ensure children experience consistently high quality learning experiences before they enter school and into the elementary school years. Early childhood educators and K-3rd grade staff are working together to align standards, curriculum and assessment, as well as promote leadership and professional development, so that all have the skills and knowledge needed to support children’s learning across ages and grades.

    Selected Resources and Websites

    New! Parent Engagement from Preschool through Grade 3: A Guide for Policymakers. This report makes the case that effective parent engagement during the span from preschool through the early grades is a key contributor to children’s positive academic outcomes. It presents research, program, and policy information that can inform state initiatives to strengthen parent engagement during preschool through grade 3, such as promising models designed for culturally diverse, low-income families, examples of state parent engagement initiatives, a summary of research, and recommendations.

    The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success  This KIDS COUNT policy report details how a child’s early development from birth through age 8 is essential to making an effective transition into elementary school and for long-term academic achievement. To prepare all of America’s children to succeed, this document sets forth broad policy recommendations. This policy report also features data on early childhood development for every state, the District of Columbia and the nation.

    A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting All Students Reading by Third Grade, is a new publication from the National Governor’s Association. The report discusses the importance of ensuring literacy by the third grade; outlines policy recommendations, and provides leadership suggestions to promote a successful B-3rd grade literacy agenda.

    Zero To Three This resource from Zero To Three presents fact sheets on all fifty states regarding birth to age three policy and facts in that specific state. The fact sheets provide valuable information on topics such as health, families and early learning experiences to produce a better view on how this vital age group is managed in each state.

    PreK-3rd: Challenging Common Myths About Dual Language Learners This updated report from the Foundation for Child Development, authored by Linda M. Espinosa, Ph.D., dispels common misconceptions regarding the development of young Dual Language Learners (DLLs) and offers useful recommendations on how to support young DLLs.

    Evaluating Prek-3rd Reforms In this brief from 2012, Julia Coffman and Kristie Kauerz offer a model of how to think about and use evaluation at different stages in the evaluation and development of a Prek-3rd effort.

    Foundation for Child Development FCD provides key resources on making the case for Prek-3rd, financing and implementing, along with preparing and developing teachers and leaders for the full continuum.

    The PreK-3rd Grade National Work Group The work group hosted a free eight-part webinar series entitled Reducing the Achievement Gap by 4th Grade: The PreK-3rd Approach in Action. All recordings can be found on the site.

    Ladders of Learning: Fighting Fade-Out by Advancing PK-3 Alignment In this issue brief, the New American Foundation examines strategies to support the continuum of learning birth through age eight.

  • Great teachers – starting young children on the path to life-long learning

    Early childhood educators and program leaders are key ingredients to quality programming for young learners. The initial preparation and continuous growth and development of the adults in the classroom are essential parts of an aligned and effective system of early education. Research indicates sustained supports are needed to assure that classrooms are staffed by highly qualified adults with commensurate progressions of degrees, certificates and credentials and specialized expertise unique to the birth to grade three continuum.

    Selected Resources and Websites

    New! How States Use Student Learning Objectives in Teacher Evaluation Systems: A Review of State Websites. This report provides an overview of how states define and apply student learning objectives (SLOs) in evaluation systems. The research team conducted a systematic scan of state policies by searching state education agency websites of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. to identify tools, guidance, policies, regulations, and other documents related to the use of SLOs in teacher evaluation systems. The researchers reviewed each relevant document to code the requirements, components, and uses of SLOs, which are summarized in a brief report and a series of searchable tables. The report and tables were produced in response to research questions posed by the Northeast Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance (NEERA), one of eight research alliances working with REL Northeast & Islands.

    Number and Characteristics of Early Care and Education (ECE) Teachers and Caregivers: Initial Findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE). This report, from Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, examines a nationally representative portrait of early childhood teachers and caregivers in both home- and center-based settings.

    Reliability and Validity of Inferences About Teachers Based on Student Test Scores: Full Report This report from the 14th William H. Angoff Memorial Lecture examines the use of value-added models (VAMs) in measuring teacher effectiveness has been receiving increasing attention as a method to revise or establish teacher evaluation systems.  This lecture examines the use of VAMs to measure teacher effectiveness, taking up issues of validity, reliability, prediction power, and potential positive and negative effects.

    Policy Brief – Degrees in Context: Asking the Right Questions about Preparing Skilled and Effective Teachers of Young Children This NIEER brief aims to broaden the discussion about what it takes to develop and maintain effective instructional practices for preschool teachers

    Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) CEELO’s partner, CSCCE, conducts cutting-edge research and proposes policy solutions aimed at improving how the nation prepares, supports and rewards the early care and education workforce to ensure young children’s optimal development.

    Center on Great Teachers and Leaders The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) is dedicated to supporting state education leaders in their efforts to grow, respect, and support great teachers and leaders for all students.

    The Early Childhood Workforce Systems Initiative NAEYC provides an array of topical information, presentations, briefs and resources from a five year effort to to assist states in developing, enhancing, and implementing policies for an integrated early childhood professional development system for all early childhood education professionals working with and on behalf of young children.

  • The resources, policies, and processes it takes to ensure equitable access to high quality programs for all children, birth to third grade.

    Comprehensive early childhood systems have the potential to integrate resources to promote the success of all young children. States vary in their ability to ensure all young children have access to high quality programs. Research indicates that good data, clear communication, and effective management systems are critical to the sustainability of effective early childhood systems. Technical expertise can build the capacity of SEA staff to work side-by-side with state partners to strengthen the early childhood system and achieve school readiness and school success goals for children.

    Selected Resources and Websites

    New! Envisioning a Digital Age Architecture for Early Education This brief by Lisa Guernsey lays out the beginnings of a new architecture for 21st-century policymaking. It is intended to spark dialogue across the field about what it will take to remodel early education for the digital age: aiming high, boosting the workforce, tapping forgotten assets, connecting people to each other and to information, and investigating what works.

    Child Care and Early Education Legislation Database. This database tracks the most recent early childhood legislation. By choosing certain topics and certain states, you can narrow your search terms to find legislation in certain topics in early education.

    State-Level Early Childhood Governance. This report and accompanying webinar (slides available online) examine and analyze approaches to state-level early childhood system governance.  The webinar features the authors and leaders of several state early childhood governance offices.

    Early Learning Left Out: Building an Early-Learning System to Secure America’s Future. This report draws upon the most recent federal, state, and public school budget information – and what we know about effective investments in young children. It offers valuable information for those seeking to build early learning systems, based upon fiscal analysis and the latest research and evidence of the need for and value of additional investments in early childhood services.

    Expanding Access to Quality Pre-K is Sound Public Policy. This paper by NIEER addresses what evidence says about effective preschool education and long-term cognitive benefits, estimated effects of state and local pre-K programs in more recent years, evidence regarding Head Start’s effectiveness, whether government can improve the quality of public preschool education, and what would happen to state education budgets once federal money was not available (if states expanded pre-K with temporary federal matching funds  to state education budgets).

    Validation of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS): Examples from Four States. This brief provides detailed examples and findings from QRIS validation activities in four states: Indiana, Maine, Minnesota and Virginia. The brief demonstrates how different states have approached QRIS validation, compares findings, and highlights challenges in designing and conducting QRIS validation studies.

    Blending and Braiding Early Childhood Program Funding Streams Toolkit The toolkit is designed to provide state advocates and policymakers with strategies, tools, resources and options to make policy choices that facilitate the blending and braiding of funding streams to improve access to and length of children’s participation in full-workday, full-year, high-quality early learning programs that benefit vulnerable young children and working families.

    Federal Education Budget Project  The New America Foundation updated its Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP) with pre-K enrollment data from the 2011-2012 year. In addition to utilizing NIEER’s data on state-funded enrollment, FEBP explores district- and state-level enrollment and spending in pre-K, special education, and K-12.

    IDEA Part C and Part B 619 State Data Systems: Current Status and Future Priorities The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) has released a report on Part C and Part B 619 data systems. The report includes collected information from the Part C and 619 coordinators and their data managers about the current status of their state data systems, priorities for improvement, and areas where the states would like technical assistance. The report presents a comprehensive look at the status of the data systems, including what data states are collecting, what data have been linked, how states are using data, and priorities for the coming years with regard to data systems development and enhancement.

    Measuring Social Return on Investment for Community Schools, A Case Study A case study by The Finance Project, in partnership with Children’s Aid Society, highlighting the benefits of community schools from an economic vantage point. Using the concept of a social return on investment (SROI), the report demonstrates a compelling way to measure and communicate the impact of community schools that provide social, health and education services to children and families. This case study highlights two community schools in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City that produced positive gains in academics, attendance, and an increased level of family engagement. With tight budgets and a heavy emphasis on outcomes, community schools can be worth pursuing.

    The BUILD Initiative The BUILD Initiative works with selected states to build a coordinated system of programs, policies, and services that are responsive to the needs of families. Resources include system definitions, theories of change and approaches to evaluation of system initiatives. Available at http://www.buildinitiative.org/content/evaluation-systems-change

    The Early Childhood Systems Workgroup The Early Childhood Systems Workgroup, an informal network of public and private technical assistance consultants, developed graphics and tools to support state early childhood system development. Available at: http://www.buildinitiative.org/content/early-childhood-systems-working-group-ecswg

    Child Care and Early Education Research Connections Research Connections provides easy access to research and data on topics related to high quality early care and education. Key Topic Resource Lists identify relevant resources on the coordination and integration of early childhood services.

  • Improving child outcomes through high quality early learning programs

    High quality early learning programs promote the developmental and academic success of young children birth through third grade. Research points to key factors that influence child outcomes, including the professional expertise of the adults, the rigor of curriculum based standards, the involvement of families, and the attention to the social-emotional and physical health needs of children. A preponderance of evidence has emerged on the effects of well-implemented early learning programs to inform state and local decision-makers.

    Selected Resources and Websites

    New! Effects of Georgia’s Pre‐K Program on Children’s School Readiness Skills: Findings from the 2012–2013 Evaluation Study. This report from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC, outlines findings from a study of nearly 1,200 children in Georgia. The study found that Georgia’s Pre-K Program produces significant positive outcomes for children, regardless of family income level or English language skills. There were strong results for language, literacy, math, and general knowledge for students enrolled in the state’s universal pre-k program.

    Improving Reading Outcomes for Students with or at Risk for Reading Disabilities: A Synthesis of the Contributions from the Institute of Education Sciences Research Centers.  The report from the Institute of Education Science describes what has been learned regarding the improvement of reading outcomes for children with or at risk for reading disabilities through research funded by the Institute’s National Center for Education Research and National Center for Special Education Research and published in peer-reviewed outlets through December 2011. The synthesis describes contributions to the knowledge base produced by IES-funded research across four focal areas: assessment, basic cognitive and linguistic processes, intervention, and professional development.

    Academic Content, Student Learning, and the Persistence of Preschool Effects. This study examines the relationship between academic content coverage in kindergarten and student achievement. The authors examine the association between reading and mathematics content coverage in kindergarten and student learning, both overall and for students who attended preschool, Head Start, or participated in other child care prior to kindergarten entry. They found that all children benefit from exposure to advanced content in reading and mathematics and that students do not benefit from basic content coverage. Interestingly, this is true regardless of whether they attended preschool, began kindergarten with more advanced skills, or are from families with low income. Policy implications are discussed.

    Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions That Improve Character and Cognition. This working report, authored by James Heckman and Tim Kautz, reviews interventions that improve character and cognitive skills.

    The Impact of Family Involvement on the Education of Children Ages 3 to 8: A Focus on Literacy and Math Achievement Outcomes and Social-Emotional Skills. This report from MDRC summarizes research conducted primarily over the past 10 years on how families’ involvement in children’s learning and development through activities at home and at school affects the literacy, mathematics, and social-emotional skills of children ages 3 to 8. A total of 95 studies of family involvement are reviewed. These include both descriptive, nonintervention studies of the actions families take at home and at school and intervention studies of practices that guide families to conduct activities that strengthen young children’s literacy and math learning.

    Preschool Teachers Can Use a PBS KIDS Transmedia Curriculum Supplement to Support Young Children’s Mathematics Learning: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. This report explores results from a randomized control trial of a PBS KIDS Transmedia Math Supplement, which included different media formats to interact with students and support math understanding, in 92 classrooms in New York City and San Francisco. The study found that children who used the program improved significantly in their understanding of early mathematics skills. Also, teachers who used the math supplement reported changes in comfort level with early mathematics concepts and technology.

    Equity and Excellence: African-American Children’s Access to Quality Preschool  This report released by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO), and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans (WHIEEAA), discusses the disparities in access to high-quality early childhood education experiences for African-American children and offers recommendations to expand opportunities and address the achievement gap.

    Being Black Is Not a Risk Factor  This report is designed to challenge the prevailing discourse about African-American children–one which overemphasizes limitations and deficits and does not draw upon the considerable strengths, assets and resilience demonstrated by our children, families and communities.The report, which addresses the needs of policymakers, advocates, principals, teachers, parents and others, weaves together three critical elements:
    1. Essays from experts that focus on using our children’s, families’ and communities’ strengths to improve outcomes for Black children
    2. “Points of Proof” from organizations that serve not as exceptions, but as examples of places where Black children and families are succeeding
    3. Data points that indicate how our children and families are doing across a range of measures

    Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education  This policy brief summarizes the most recent rigorous research for inclusion in the important role preschool education contributes to student academic growth as well as social and emotional outcomes. The authors can state with confidence and evidence that preschool programs can have a substantial impact on early learning and development for not only low-income families, but on students coming from a large socioeconomic range. High quality preschool education yields more in benefits to society than its initial cost, and studies suggest there is a positive return on investment for a range of differing preschool programs. In the end, there is evidence and a need to support quality preschool education for the benefit of our students and for our future.

    Synthesis of IES Research on Early Intervention and Early Childhood Education This report from the Institute for Education Statistics, authored by Karen E. Diamond, Laura M. Justice, Robert S. Siegler, and Patricia A. Snyder, compiles finding from research grants on early intervention and education that were funded by the National Center for Education Research and National Center for Special Education Research since June 2010. The report presents evidence on classroom environment, instructional practices, measuring children’s skills, and professional development.

    Markers that Matter: Success Indicators in Early Learning and Education This new report from The Foundation Strategy Group, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, outlines a set of 48 early childhood indicators that reflect healthy development of young children.  The indicators can be used to support the healthy development of young children, to better understand and address inequities across racial and cultural groups, and to provide a common language that facilitates communication and coordination on behalf of all young children.

    The National Institute for Early Education Research’s website posts research on many early education topics, including resources related to outcomes for children who attend preschool and information and state-specific research on state-funded preschool programs evaluation. Please refer to the following relative to child outcomes:

    NIEER Publications and Research on Outcomes
    NIEER Publications and Research on State Pre-K Evaluations