December 23, 2022 – Volume 21, Issue 50

The NIEER Newsletter will be on hiatus until Jan. 6, 2023. Happy Holidays!



22 of the 75 Largest Cities Earn Highest Marks in High-Quality Pre-K Access

Twenty two of the nation’s 75 largest cities received a gold medal from CityHealth for their efforts in 2022 to provide high-quality, accessible pre-K programs. Another 12 earned silver and 30 bronze, according to the 2022 Policy Assessment released by CityHealth, an initiative of the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. Providing high-quality, accessible pre-K is one of 12 areas in which CityHealth evaluates cities. In partnership with NIEER, CityHealth uses the State of Preschool Yearbook benchmarks to assign medals for high-quality, accessible pre-K. Read the full report here.


Early-Life Stature, Preschool Cognitive Development, Schooling Attainment, and Cognitive Functioning in Adulthood: A Prospective Study In Four Birth Cohorts

Although early-life stature has been an indicator of child and adult cognitive outcomes, a global study found that adult IQ and schooling outcomes are better explained by early IQ. The study, published in The Lancet Global Health, using longitudinal data from 2,614 people in Brazil, Guatemala, the Philippines, and South Africa found the associations between early-life stature and later outcomes were almost entirely reduced when controlling for child IQ and schooling. “If we are serious about improving long-term cognitive outcomes, we need to start investing in factors that influence early cognitive development directly, in addition to ongoing efforts to promote child nutrition and health,” the researchers concluded. Read it here.



Build Equitable Systems for Tomorrow’s Children (BEST) Professional Learning Community

NIEER will host a nine-month peer learning community (PLC) in 2023. The vision of the PLC, Build Equitable Systems for Tomorrow’s (BEST) Children, is for states to create (and improve upon) an equitable system of high-quality early care and education and family support services for young children from birth through early elementary grades. PLC participants will learn with and from each other about how to meet the needs of young children and families through aligned and coherent policy and funding. The PLC will be discussed at the Bright Spots Webinar on Jan. 18; a letter of intent is due by Jan. 23. Contact NIEER senior research fellow Lori Connors-Tadros for more information at


Indirect Effects of Coaching on Pre-K Students’ Engagement and Literacy Skill as a Function of Improved Teacher-Student Interaction

Enhancing pre-K teachers’ interactions with students through coaching indirectly improved student learning, researchers at the University of Virginia found through analysis of a randomized control trial. Coaches who completed more cycles of feedback regarding interactions showed greater improvements in emotionally supportive interactions with students, thereby impacting students’ positive classroom engagement.  Read the study, by Robert C. Pianta, Daniel Lipscomb, and Erik Ruzek, here.

Effects of Face Masks and Acoustical Environments on Speech Recognition by Preschool Children in an Auralised Classroom

Wearing face masks in class reduced preschoolers’ speech recognition, and affected children ages 4 and 5 more than 6-year-olds, researchers reported. Reducing reverberation time and noise levels in the classroom improved preschoolers’ recognition. “Appropriate acoustics for classrooms and clear speech by teachers are recommended for better speech recognition in preschools, which usually facilitate children’s language-and-speech development,” they wrote. Read the study, by Miji Kwon and Wonyoung Yang, here.


The Impact of Story-Inspired Programming on Preschool Children’s Computational Thinking: A Multi-Group Experiment

Preschoolers who learned computational thinking (CT) using story-inspired robot programming or story-inspired tablet programming showed improved CT scores compared to children in an “unplugged” CT learning experience, researchers in Hong Kong reported. They found gender and family socioeconomic effects did not influence the benefits of the story-inspired programming. Read the study here.

Assessing Global and Math-Specific Teacher-Child Interaction Quality in Early Childcare Settings: A Systematic Literature Review of Instruments Used in Research

A systematic literature review identified 55 instruments used for assessing global and/or math-specific interaction quality in childcare settings. Researchers in Germany found more tools that measure global aspects of teacher-child interactions rather than math-specific aspects. Read the abstract here.