January 7, 2022 – Volume 21, Issue 1


Research Highlights from 2021

NIEER produced a host of publications in 2021, 10 of which are of enduring interest to broad audiences. To invite you to revisit (or discover them for the first time) each is presented with a link and brief description below:

Effects of New Jersey’s Abbott Preschool Program on Children’s Achievement, Grade Retention, and Special Education Through Tenth Grade

New Jersey’s preschool program is found to have persistent effects on achievement and grade retention through grade 10. Achievement effects were larger from 2 years of preschool.   

Impacts of the Pandemic on Young Children and Their Parents: Initial Findings from NIEER’s May-June 2021 Preschool Learning Activities Survey

NIEER’s surveys of nationally representative samples of parents of children ages 3 to 5 found severe disruption of ECE and home learning, and negative impacts on child development.

Effective State Offices of Early Learning: Structural Features, Enabling Conditions, and Key Functions in Four States

This report examined the characteristics, organizational capacities, and functions of effective state offices of early learning, identifying twelve keys to improve effectiveness of state agencies.

Early Education: Why Quality Preschool is Worth the Investment

[Included in Public Health Under Siege: Improving Policy in Turbulent Times]

Reviewed the reasons city leaders invest in pre-K, why quality matters, and how to develop policies that facilitate effective implementation improves outcomes for children in cities.

Activity Settings, Content, and Pedagogical Strategies in Preschool Classrooms: Do These Influence the Interactions we Observe?

The study assessed the associations between two different perspectives on assessing preschool classroom processes: quality as measured by the CLASS and by EduSnap.

Including Family Child Care in State and City-Funded Pre-K Systems: Opportunities and Challenges

Lessons learned from 10 states and four major cities that funded FCCs as part of state pre-K in 2019-2020, identifying opportunities, challenges and recommendations state or city leaders.

Impacts of the New Mexico PreK Initiative by Children’s Race/Ethnicity. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 54 (1), 194-203

Researchers found positive effects of New Mexico’s pre-K program on young children’s language, literacy, and math skills at kindergarten entry that varied by ethnicity. 

Who Participates in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems?

 Based on a nationally representative survey of ECE centers, the study examined QRIS policy implementation, predictors of participation, and the extent to which QRIS is equity enhancing.

 A Time Use Study of Site Support Personnel in New York City’s UPK Program

 Time diary analysis of support personnel in NYC UPK yields 2 key lessons: (1) time use varies with roles & responsibilities; and, (2) wide ranging responsibilities require considerable planning.

The State of Preschool Yearbook 2020 

In 2019-20, 44 states, DC, and Guam funded preschool programs served 34% of 4’s and 6% of 3’s; three programs met new quality benchmarks; and, real spending increased by $300 million.


NIEER Senior co-Director W. Steven Barnett was ranked 52nd among the top 200 university-based scholars in the U.S. who did the most in 2021 to shape educational practice and policy, according to the 2022 RHSU [Rick Hess Straight Up] Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings published on Education Week’s website Jan. 5.

“Simply being included in this list of 200 scholars is an accomplishment, given the 20,000 or more who might qualify,” wrote Hess, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the director of the think tank’s Education Policy Studies. Read more here.


Supporting Families’ Access to Child Care and Early Education: A Descriptive Profile of States’ Consumer Education Websites

A review of states’ websites for helping parents make informed choices about early childhood education (ECE) options found most have significant shortcomings.

Researchers examined ECE consumer education websites for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to the federally funded study, the websites can be difficult to find and navigate. Only eight provided comprehensive information that was “easy to find, addressed affordability, informed child development, and met parent’s needs.” Only six states integrated consumer education websites into a single site.

States’ websites provided information about child care assistance, but not necessarily details about publicly available options. About half listed information on other available financial assistance. Only a handful provided price information for individual providers. The study funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families can be read here.

Preschool Executive Function and Adult Outcomes: A Developmental Cascade Model

Using data from a large nationwide study, researchers examined associations between preschoolers’ EF and adult educational attainment, impulse control, and general health. The study found direct and cascading influences on adult functioning. The study was written by: Sammy F. Ahmed and Pamela E. Davis-Kean of the University of Michigan; Megan Kuhfeld of Northwest Evaluation Association in Oregon; Tyler W. Watts of Columbia University in New York; and Deborah Lowe Vandell of the University of California, Irvine. Read the abstract here.

Parents’ Perceptions of Education and Culture as a Context of Parental Stress: A Study of Parents of Preschool Children in Hong Kong

Preschooler parents’ perceptions of education are associated with stress levels, according to a study of 6,454 parents of preschool children in Hong Kong. Parents “with an assertive perception of children’s cognitive skills, discipline, coercion, and competition,” had higher stress than those with a “responsive perception of children’s non-cognitive skills, self-management, autonomy and cooperation in education,” they wrote. However, parents between the extremes were the most stressed. The study by Hua Guo of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Stephen Wing Kai Chiu of The Education University of Hong Kong can be read here.

Measuring Implicit Gender Stereotypes Using the Preschool Auditory Stroop

Researchers had children ages 3 to 7 listen first to human voices and then to computer-generated voices. In both cases, children responded faster when female-stereotypical words were spoken by female voices and male-stereotypical words with male voices, the researchers reported. The study was authored by: Antonya Marie Gonzaleza of Western Washington University; Katharina Block of New York University; Hee Jae Julie Oh of McGill University in Canada; and Riley Bizzotto and Andrew Scott Baron of the University of British Columbia in Canada. Read the abstract here.

Incremental Validity of Multi-Method and Multi-Informant Evaluations in the Clinical Diagnosis of Preschool ADHD

Researchers in Taiwan studied 70 children ages 5 to 7, 38 of whom were diagnosed with ADHD to investigate the validity of measurement techniques individually and in combinations in differentiating preschool children with ADHD from those with typical development. They found that a combination of specific electroencephalogram (EEG) data, Conners’ Kiddie Continuous Performance Test (K-CPT), and the Disruptive Behavior Disorder Rating Scale (DBDRS) provided the best probability scores and discriminative validity. Read the abstract here.