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Policy Analysis

NIEER Pre-K Data Snapshot: State Policies that Support Curriculum in Preschool


May 24, 2018
Quality and CurriculumState & Local
GG Weisenfeld

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) researches and disseminates an annual report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs throughout the United States. NIEER’s State of Preschool yearbook is the only national report on state-funded preschool programs with detailed information on enrollment, funding, teacher qualifications, and other policies related to quality, such as the presence of a qualified teacher and assistant, small class size, and low student-to-teacher ratio.

In 2016, NIEER introduced a new quality standards benchmark which assesses whether states have policies to support programs in curriculum selection and implementation, such as training or ongoing technical assistance. This new benchmark reflects emerging evidence that use of comprehensive and integrated curriculum models, when implementation is supported to ensure fidelity, has positive effects on children’s learning.

To meet this new curriculum supports benchmark, states are not expected to require programs use a specific curriculum–but restricting options may be one avenue for ensuring the state can provide adequate support. The benchmark focuses on supporting programs in first choosing a curriculum and then implementing it with fidelity. See Table 1 for a list of programs meeting the curriculum benchmark in 2016-2017.