December 4, 2020 – Volume 19, Issue 46

New Research Examines Educator Preparation Programs
Nationwide research sponsored by the Early Educator Investment Collaborative and conducted by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, Bellwether Education Partners, and NIEER analyses trends, opportunities, and challenges in workforce policies and educator preparation programs across all 50 states with a follow-up in-depth study of ten key states. The research is presented in three distinct reports:
  • 50-State Early Educator Policy and Practice Research. A comprehensive exploration of issues the field faces to determine why states struggle to make progress for the early educator workforce, where progress should be made and what barriers need to be overcome.
  • Early Educator Preparation Landscape. A detailed look at on-the-ground experiences that demonstrate why reform is so difficult.
  • Early Educator Preparation and Compensation Policies: Voices from 10 States. A deeper look at educator preparation systems — their role in the early care and education system and why institutions of higher education and states need to consider this key component.
Guidance to Help Schools Restart and Recover
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released a resource guide for recovery in school year 2020-21. Restart and Recovery – Considerations for Teaching and Learning: PreK to 3rd Grade covers three areas for navigating this school year: 1) Systems Conditions; 2) Well-Being and Connections; and 3) Early Learning and Academics. This document complements Restart and Recovery: Considerations for Teaching and Learning, published by the CCSSO in July 2020 to provide guidance and resources for system support of all current teaching modes.
Patrice L. Engle Dissertation Grant Accepting Applications
Students pursuing a career in global early child development who are from or doing research in low- or middle-income countries may be eligible for a $5,000 grant to support dissertation research and a two-year student membership in the Society for Research in Child Development.
The Patrice L. Engle Dissertation Grant has supported 32 student scholars conducting research in all parts of the world.
The application deadline is June 30, 2021. For details and application procedures, visit the Patrice L. Engle Dissertation Grant web page.
NIEER Debuts New Website
Thanks to input from this newsletter’s readers, NIEER recently debuted its new website. The site is easier to navigate and our most recent publications are conveniently accessible from the homepage. As always, we welcome your suggestions to make our site an even more valuable resource for early childhood education and infant and toddler care public policy research.
NIEER’S GG Weisenfeld has a new blog article that offers ideas for families to support their children’s learning at home. Weisenfeld’s suggestions were spurred by NIEER’s recent survey of home learning activities that raised concerns about a decline in shared book reading in the home at a time when many children are missing out on face-to-face preschool.
Researchers Princess-Melissa Washington-Nortey, Fa Zhang, Yaoying Xu, Amber Brown Ruiz, Chin-Chih Chen and Christine Spence of Virginia Commonwealth University conducted a comprehensive review of the impact of social interaction on language development among preschoolers who are English language learners. Their evaluation was based on 10 studies published between 2008 and 2019. According to the researchers, their findings reveal that children can engage in complex speech while interacting with peers despite their limited language capabilities. They noted, however, that “the nature and frequency of interactions, as well as the unique skill sets of communication partners may affect their development of relevant language skills.”
Margaret Burchinal of the University of Virginia and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill colleagues Kylie Garber, Tiffany Foster, Mary Bratsch-Hines, Ximena Franco, and Ellen Peisner-Feinberg examined whether early care and education (ECE) models should include more specific types of ECE experiences in an effort to expand definitions of ECE quality. The study involved 366 children from rural counties in a southeastern state attending 63 randomly selected state-funded prekindergarten classes.
The researchers report that: “(1) different ECE dimensions related to gains in different outcomes; (2) ECE quality measures based on observing the selected experiences of individual children provide as strong or stronger associations with child outcomes than do ratings of teacher-child interactions; and (3) it may be necessary to measure experiences of individual children if those experiences are likely to vary markedly among children in the same classroom.”
Researchers Vi-Nhuan Le of NORC at the University of Chicago, Diana Schaack and Kristie Kauerz of the University of Colorado Denver, Marina Mendoza of the Denver Preschool Program, and Stephanie Stout-Oswald of the University of Denver examined outcomes of the Denver Preschool Program (DPP), which publicly funds preschool for 4-year-olds.
They found “DPP participants were more likely to read at grade level and less likely to be retained or to be chronically absent than their similarly-situated non-DPP peers.” They noted that “the absolute magnitude of the effect sizes for reading achievement and chronic absenteeism ranged from 0.21 to 0.28, and were considered substantively important.”
Researchers Sophie Nicole Cave and Sophie von Stumm of the University of York, United Kingdom, say education researchers are underutilizing vast social science data amassed over decades from British longitudinal population cohort studies. They explain the benefit of secondary data analysis for educational science, and provide researchers a guide of what’s available. Cave and von Stumm identify eight studies from the past 40 years that collected scholastic performance data during primary and secondary schooling: (1) Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents And Children (ALSPAC), (2) Twins Early Development Study (TEDS), (3) Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education Project (EPPSE), (4) Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), (5) Born in Bradford (BiB), (6) Next Steps (LYSPE1), (7) Understanding Society (US), and (8) Our Future (LYSPE2).” Study participants, born between 1989 and 2010, were subject to follow-ups at least once and as many as 68 times over seven to 29 years, according to the article.
For each of the eight studies, Cave and von Stumm provide summaries, review the assessed variables and describe the process for accessing the data. They say they hope to “encourage and support education researchers to widely utilize existing population cohort studies to further advance education science in Britain and elsewhere.”
David M. Blau of The Ohio State University reviewed studies of universal preschool programs in Europe that found they have “substantial short- and long-run benefits to disadvantaged children, but relatively modest benefits to more advantaged children.” Blau said the results may have implications for preschool policy in the U.S., where there is “little reliable evidence on the medium and long run effects of universal preschool programs.” Universal programs are open to all age-eligible children. Targeted preschool programs, which are limited to children from lower-income families, have been intensively studied in the U.S., and demonstrate “substantial beneficial impacts on child development and subsequent adult outcomes for disadvantaged children.”
The week’s key stories on early childhood education.
Engaging Research Innovations & Challenges (EnRICH) presents a webinar on COVID-19 and Children’s Well-Being: A Rapid Research Agenda, on Monday, Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. EST. Register here.
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education conducts academic research to inform policy supporting high-quality, early education for all young children, promoting the physical, cognitive, and social development children need to succeed in school and later life. NIEER provides independent, research-based analysis and technical assistance to policymakers, journalists, researchers, and educators.