Current NIEER Projects

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) supports excellence and equity in early childhood education by conducting and disseminating nonpartisan research and policy analysis. The Institute is committed to promoting young children’s early learning and development through science and evidence-based policy making. NIEER’s signature product is an annual report on the state of preschool in the United States, based on a survey of state pre-K programs.  NIEER researchers also work to support young learners through the design and development of high-quality curriculum, assessments, and other supports for practice.



Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO).  One of 22 Comprehensive Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education, CEELO will strengthen the capacity of State Education Agencies (SEAs) to lead sustained improvements in early learning opportunities and outcomes.  Leadership Team: Lori Connors-Tadros, Jana Martella, Tom Schultz, and Steve Barnett.

State Preschool Yearbook. An annual publication tracking funding, access, and policies of state preschool programs since 2002, the Yearbook serves as a resource for policymakers, advocates, and researchers to make more informed decisions as state-funded preschool education.   PI: Steve Barnett.

PNC-NIEER: A Strategic Partnership in Support of Early Learning in the States.  Supports PNC leadership in Grow Up Great policy activities.  PIs: Steve Barnett & Kimberly Brenneman.



Evaluation of Arkansas Better Chance for School Success.  Evaluation of the Arkansas Better Chance preschool program.  PI: Kwanghee Jung.

PNC Chicago Early Science Learning: Grow Up Great Evaluation.  Evaluation of the PNC Foundation’s collaborative program to improve preschool children’s science learning opportunities in homes, classrooms, communities, and local science centers.  PIs: Steve Barnett & Kimberly Brenneman.

West Palm Beach Child Outcome Study.  Evaluation of impacts on quality and children’s outcomes.  PI: Steve Barnett; Coordinator: Jessica Thomas Francis.

Documenting and Evaluating the Adaptation of the AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program for Diverse Cultures.  Evaluation of model implementation and cultural adaptations in sites in Cloquet (MN), Brooklyn (NY) and Newark (NJ).  PI: Milagros Nores.

Preschool Inputs and Children’s Outcomes: What are the Costs and Benefits?  Chicago Public Schools randomized trials to improve cost-effectiveness of preschool education.  PI: Steve Barnett.

A Randomized Trial of Dual Language Staffing Patterns.  Evaluate preschoolers’ learning gains and preschool classroom quality effects of alternative staffing and teacher training to teach English Language Learners.  PI: Steve Barnett; Coordinator: Alexandra Figueras-Daniel.



AeioTu Randomized Longitudinal Study.  Study of the cognitive, linguistic, nutritional and social effects of a comprehensive nutritional and educational 0-5 intervention in Colombia.  Participants are 1,216 low-income children and their families. More information on the study is available here. PI: Milagros Nores. 

Partnership with the Korean Institute for Child Care and Education. Joint agreement for comparative research, faculty/student exchanges and co-editing International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy.



Using Number Games to Support Mathematical Learning in Preschool and Home Environments. Involves the design, implementation, and testing of an early mathematics intervention for Head Start children and parents using interactive math game play.  PIs: Kimberly Brenneman & Alissa Lange.

Partnerships for Early Childhood Curriculum Development: Readiness through Integrative Science & Engineering (RISE).  Inter-university partnership to study and develop effective classroom curricula for DLL preschool children with elements of early science, technology, and engineering learning and home-school connections.  PI: Kimberly Brenneman.

Supports for Science and Mathematics Learning in Pre-Kindergarten Dual Language Learners: Designing a Professional Development System (SciMath-DLL).  Designs and tests professional development integrating high-quality math and science instruction with supports for preschool dual language learners (DLLs) partnering with Elizabeth, Long Branch, and Union City schools.  PI: Kimberly Brenneman.

The Math and Science Story Time (MASST) Program.  Provides preschool-age children from New Brunswick the opportunity to participate in eight Spanish-English bilingual math and science story and activity sessions at the public library.  PI: Alissa Lange.

Early Childhood Education in the Context of Mathematics, Science, and Literacy.  Will develop a core curriculum and accompanying formative evaluation designed to increase opportunities to learn significant science, technology, engineering, and mathematics content.  PI: Kimberly Brenneman.



NJDOE APPLES RDD & Pre-Post Study.  Evaluates the long-term educational impact of pre-K on children’s learning and school success.  PI: Steve Barnett.

New Jersey Kindergarten English Language Arts Model Curriculum Assessment Development (NJDOE ELA Assessment).  Project that formed the English Language Arts (ELA) Assessment Committee and Advisors to develop assessments for use throughout the state.   PI: Shannon Riley-Ayers.

New Jersey Council For Young Children (NJCYC) Data System Investigation.  Provides the New Jersey Council for Young Children (NJCYC) with information on the quality of early childhood programs in the State including infant toddler programs.  PI: Steve Barnett; Coordinator: Judith Alexandre.

New Jersey Kindergarten and Preschool Evaluation.  Evaluates the basic features of quality in self-contained classrooms and examines instructional practices in general education and inclusion preschool classrooms to identify areas requiring additional supports.  PI: Jessica Thomas Francis.

Essex Infant/Toddler Quality Improvement Project.  Includes an evaluation, community involvement and outreach to infant/toddler care providers.  PI: Steve Barnett; Coordinator: Judith Alexandre.

Irvington Children Count Together We Can Make a Difference!  Seeks to improve the quality of early education and care programs by engaging a diverse group of community stakeholders.  It uses the Future Search Model of Participatory Action Research (PAR).  PI: Steve Barnett; Coordinator: Judith Alexandre.



Early Learning Scale.  Systematic assessment for preschool and kindergarten children designed for teachers to assess children's progress toward learning standards.  It is currently implemented in districts in New Jersey, all schools in West Virginia and elsewhere throughout the country.  PI: Shannon Riley-Ayers

Teacher Survey for Early Education Quality.  Self-report survey for early childhood teachers regarding their classroom practices and quality.  The TSEEQ may offer more cost-effective examination of classroom quality and is therefore a significant contribution to the field.   PI: Shannon Riley-Ayers

NYC Analytics.  Evaluation of the validity and reliability of early childhood assessments for the New York City Department of Education.  PI: Alissa Lange.

Using Technology to Improve Reading Fluency in Third Graders.  Evaluates the impacts of a technology-based reading fluency program on the reading skills of third graders who are behind in reading through a RCT in Newark.  PI: Alissa Lange.