NIEER's weekly newsletter for the latest in early education news

NIEER Weekly

Volume 17, Issue 26

June 29, 2018

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Data Gap, ESSA blog, Must-See Video

Hot Topics

Mind the Data Gap

A report published this week by New America amplifies concerns about early learning opportunities for Dual Language Learners raised in our State of Preschool 2017 Special Report.

“Because DLLs represent a growing segment of the U.S. population, and because the early years are so foundational to long-term success, it is important that education leaders have clear insights about these students: who and where they are, the services they receive, and how they are progressing,” the New America report states.

But early education policies for DLLs lag the K-12 system, where children learning English are entitled by civil rights law to extra language services and federal policy requires states to determine which students qualify for extra language services.

Instead, Dual Language Learner Data Gaps: The Need for Better Policies in the Early Years notes that most states fail to collect information about the number of DLL children enrolled in state-funded pre-K or the quality of programs serving them. Without reliable and relevant data, educators cannot make informed decisions on funding, policy and programs these children need.

Today, at least 25 states mandate Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), the report states, yet almost all assess children only in English, resulting in incomplete assessments of linguistic abilities and contributing to a “deficit perspective” of the DLL child.

And quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) established to enhance preschool quality usually ignore DLL-specific criteria and fail to make data truly accessible for non-English-speaking families, the report states.

The State of Preschool 2017 Special Report: Supporting Dual Language Learners in State-Funded Preschool found six states with a high DLL enrollment in state preschool—California, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Texas—also have policies in place supporting young dual language learners. Yet several states with high populations of DLLs—including Arizona, Florida and New York—do not even track the home language of children enrolled in their state-funded preschool programs.

“Due to the numbers of young DLLs in our communities, their learning outcomes have consequences for our future,” said Dr. Allison Friedman-Krauss, co-author of The State of Preschool 2017. “Our report shows few states have policies supporting the quality early learning experiences these children need to thrive in kindergarten and beyond.”

We invite you to follow NIEER on Twitter @PreschoolToday and Facebook at Preschool Today. Please share your social media handles so we can connect.

NIEER Activities

NIEER Founder Steven Barnett this week addressed faculty and graduate students at Bamberg University and met with early childhood researchers from Germany, UK and Denmark participating in the Social InEquality and its Effects on child Development (SEED) project meeting hosted by the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories at the University of Bamberg.

Dr. Barnett’s presentation discussed reasons today’s scaled-up preschool programs fall short of the persistent benefits reported from landmark pre-K studies and what steps must be taken to improve child outcomes.

SEED, an international project launched in January 2018, is exploring how social inequality impacts children’s oral language and socio-emotional development and identifying how these disparities influence a child’s performance at school age through adolescence and adulthood. SEED is funded by New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe (NORFACE).

CEELO Update

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) is partnering with New America on a blog series focused on how states have implemented early childhood policies and programs in their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans.

The series, kicking off in September, will assess progress one year into ESSA in five areas: school quality indicators, school improvement, data and transparency, educator support, and family engagement and transitions. See previous blog series on preparing for ESSA.

State, national and local education leaders are invited to share blogs discussing ESSA implementation, emerging obstacles and solutions, and early success. Interested in writing for the Early Ed in ESSA blog? Download and complete this fill-able form [MSword] and email to Lori Connors-Tadros at CEELO or Laura Bornfreund at New America


Early Childhood Workforce Index 2018

This new Center for the Study of Child Care Employment report finds strides have been made in improving education and training levels of the ECE workforce, but they are largely not linked to policies and resources that address teachers’ economic well-being.

The Index resources include an interactive map showing current wages and changes over the last two years and whether states have been assessed as stalled, edging forward, or making headway across key policy indicators. The report also includes an updated About the Workforce snapshot, utilizing national and selected state-level data to illustrate the diversity, but also stratification, within the workforce, as well as draw attention to the need for more nuanced workforce data.

OECD “Telling” Video

This video was shared during the recent Second International Early Childhood Action Congress focused on “The Transition to School: Equity, quality & innovation.”

NIEER Founder Steven Barnett was a keynote speaker during the “Key Promising Paths to Strengthening Transition Capacity Building” session addressing the need to invest in the educational continuum from birth through school-age, how to invest public funds to overcome challenges, why long-term planning and organization matter in the transition from early childhood to primary school and how to create windows of opportunity for social investment. See his presentation here.

Questioning Supports Effective Transmission of Knowledge and Increased Exploratory Learning in Pre-Kindergarten Children

In a new study released in Developmental Science, researchers investigated learning by pre-kindergarten children after direct instruction by a knowledgeable teacher, after questioning by a knowledgeable teacher, and after questioning by a naïve informant. Researchers found a dual benefit for questioning by a knowledgeable teacher. They suggest that pedagogical questioning both effectively transmits knowledge and fosters exploration and further learning, regardless of whether the question was directed to the child or directed to a third party and overheard by the child. On the other hand, they found that instruction by a knowledgeable teacher allows effective information transmission but at the cost of exploration and further learning. Effects were not observed when the same question is asked by a naive informant.

The study authors conclude that a teacher’s choice of pedagogical method may differentially influence learning through their choices of how, and how not, to present evidence. They further suggest that their research has implications for transmission of knowledge and self‐directed discovery.

The Role of Father Parenting in Children’s School Readiness: A Longitudinal Follow-Up

A new paper published in the Journal of Family Psychology reports on a longitudinal follow-up examining the bidirectional relations between father parenting and child executive function/school readiness across the preschool period. Authors note that while mother autonomy support has been shown to predict child executive function (EF) and school readiness, little is known about the influence of father parenting on these child outcomes.

Authors found the relationship of father autonomy support to child executive function is similar to what has been found with mothers. They further suggest that physical play may be an important context for father influence on child outcomes.

Do Mothers Accurately Identify Their Child’s Overweight/Obesity Status During Early Childhood?

In a new study in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity,  researchers investigated maternal perceptions of their child’s weight and factors influencing maternal misperceptions regarding their child’s weight at three years old and five years old. They also investigated if a failure to recognize overweight/obesity at three years old was associated with the likelihood of doing so at five years old.

Researchers found that 22% of mothers failed to accurately identify their child to be overweight or obese in wave two. The percentage decreased to 18% in wave 3.

Researchers suggest that mothers of overweight or obese three and five-year-olds show poor awareness of their child’s weight status. Both child and mother characteristics play a role in influencing this awareness. Researchers further suggest there is a need for increased support to help improve mothers’ understanding of healthy body size in preschool-aged children.

Executive Function Mapping Project Measures Compendium: A Resource for Selecting Measures Related to Executive Function and Other Regulation-Related Skills in Early Childhood

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, an office of the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a resource for selecting measures related to executive function and other regulation-related skills in Early Childhood (OPRE Report # 2018-59). The compendium provides information about 44 measures available to assess executive function (EF) and other regulation-related skills.

The Compendium is designed to be illustrative of the types and range of measures that are commonly used. It can also help to demonstrate and clarify the various approaches to assessment in this broad domain. One of its major objectives is to help researchers, program staff, child development specialists, and other professionals working in assessment and evaluation identify the measures that are most appropriate for the age, setting, and specific objectives of their work.

This work is based on a literature review of studies of executive function and self-regulation, focusing on the early childhood period, but also including research across the life-span. Download more information about EF Mapping Project.

Impact of In-Service Professional Development Programs for Early Childhood Teachers on Quality Ratings and Child Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis 

In a new study released in Review of Educational Research, researchers summarized findings from (quasi)-experimental studies that evaluated in-service training effects for Early Childhood Education and Care professionals on external quality ratings and child development. The aggregation of findings at teacher level revealed an in-service training positive medium effect size on process quality.

Researchers also point out that in a subset of nine studies that provided data on both quality ratings and child development showed a small positive effect at child level and a medium positive effect at the corresponding classroom level. Notably, variance in effect sizes at the child level was significantly related to in-service effects on quality ratings.

Authors suggest that these results show that quality improvement is a key mechanism to accelerate the development of young children. They further suggest that high pedagogical quality in early childhood education and care (ECEC) is related to developmental outcomes in young children.


Center for Law and Social Policy

CLASP is seeking a director for its six-person child care and early education team working to increase access to high-quality child care and early education for low-income children and families. The team focuses on policies that support child development and the needs of low-income working parents as well as break down barriers due to race, ethnicity, language, and immigration status.

To apply, send a cover letter and resume to and use the subject line: Child Care and Early Education Director.


Alabama Early Childhood Education Conference 2019

January 3-4, 2019
Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center
Mobile, AL

The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education invites presenter proposals for the 2019 Alabama Early Childhood Conference, expected to draw more than 3,000 caregivers, educators, principals, directors and advocates. The conference theme is “Our Future is Here,” focusing on the importance of quality early care and education for the whole-child in establishing a strong foundation for a lifetime of success. Deadline to submit a proposal is Friday July 6, 2018. Applicants will notified by Monday, July 16, 2018.

Early Education News Roundup

ICYMI: Read this week’s key stories on early childhood education issues.

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