November 20, 2020 – Volume 19, Issue 45

NIEER Newsletter will be on hiatus next week for Thanksgiving. From everyone at NIEER, enjoy a safe Thanksgiving.




Cost-Effective Scalable Interventions for Infant-Toddler Development in Low-Income Contexts

A cluster-randomized trial in India finds persistent effects of parenting programs on the cognitive and language development of infants and toddlers. The study, published in Pediatrics, investigated the cost-effectiveness of nutrition education and nutritional education combined with weekly home visits or with weekly parent group meetings. Children were enrolled in the study before age one and the programs continued for two years. Nutrition education had no effects on development. Both the home visits and parent sessions had positive impacts on child development 24 months after baseline. However, the group meetings were much less expensive to provide than the home visits for equivalent outcomes. The intervention model, based on “Reach Up and Learn,” focused on mother-child play. The researchers conclude that the more cost-effective group sessions model is genuinely scalable and “replicable in other poor rural Indian contexts” with potential for application in other Asian countries.




NIEER Conducts Exploratory Study of Time Diaries

NIEER’S Milagros Nores explores how time-diaries can help us understand “the pandemic’s impacts on educational activities” in a research paper now available on

Looking at “how well time-diary data correspond to more typical survey data and how well diaries allow us to assess differences among children in their daily routines,” Nores finds “time diaries provide finer grained and perhaps better information on the amount of time spent in various learning experiences and the degree of which these are enriched by parental involvement than typical questions about parent engagement.”

Nores says, “The results also illustrate the usefulness of diaries for understanding children’s daily experiences, in particular the educational content, activities and learning processes in which they engage.”




Costs of the Boston Public Prekindergarten Program

Researchers Sarah Kabay (Innovations for Poverty Action, New York, USA), Christina Weiland, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa (both at the University of Michigan) investigated “public-sector expenditures for the city of Boston’s public prekindergarten program,” which they note is “a particularly high-quality program.” The researchers examined “how costs change over time, how costs are distributed across different levels of the education system, and how costs can be adjusted in order to calculate nationally representative estimates.” They suggest their findings “are relevant for localities interested in learning from existing prekindergarten programs and can also serve as an example of cost analysis in education research.”


Higher-Quality Elementary Schools Sustain the Prekindergarten Boost: Evidence from an Exploration of Variation in the Boston Prekindergarten Program’s Impacts

Researchers Rebecca Unterman (MDRC) and Christina Weiland (University of Michigan) examined “lottery data from applicants to oversubscribed schools in Boston Public Schools (BPS) prekindergarten program to estimate variation in the effects of the program across school sites through the end of third grade.”

In their working paper, they report “academic proficiency of third-graders within the schools for which prekindergarten children completed is most strongly associated with prekindergarten program effects. Prekindergarten gains persisted if students applied to and won a seat in a higher-quality elementary school.”

They further report their “findings appear to be driven by the schools themselves and not by student selection in higher-scoring schools, nor by the counterfactual.” They suggest “policymakers and practitioners interested in sustained gains may need to also invest in improving the quality of children’s K-3 experience.”


Relationship between Screen Time and Sleep among Finnish Preschool Children: Results from the DAGIS Study

Researchers examined “the associations between screen time, the time used on different screen devices, and sleep in a sample of Finnish preschool children” based on 2015–2016 data from 736 children aged 3–6 years. They found “increased screen time was associated with later bedtimes and shorter sleep duration among preschool children.” Additionally, they report “adverse associations with sleep outcomes were found for each screen device.” They suggest paying attention “to promoting balanced use of screens and regular sleep habits in young children.”


Assessing Preschool English Learners’ Receptive and Expressive Language Ability to Inform Instruction

Researchers Ahyoung Alicia Kim, Mark Chapman, Gordon Blaine West, Bingjie Zheng, and M. Elizabeth Cranley, all from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, explored how “how preschool educators could assess dual language learners’ (DLLs) using formative instruments in school settings.” They report “educators found the formative instruments helpful in understanding DLLs’ language proficiency and believed that such an understanding could inform their instruction.” The researchers suggest their “results provide implications for assessing DLLs’ English language ability using age appropriate instruments.”


Predictors of School Mobility from Public School Pre-k to Kindergarten

Researchers Jordan E. Greenburg (George Mason), Caitlin Hines (Georgetown), and Adam Winsler (George Mason) investigated “switching schools between public school pre-k and kindergarten.” They found “black children and those receiving free or reduced lunch were more likely to switch” and “lower school quality in public school pre-k increased the odds of switching.”




“Building Equitable Futures for Oklahoma’s Children: An Early Childhood Research and Policy Series,” 1-4 p.m., Dec. 9, Jan. 13, and Feb 10, sponsored by the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness and the University of Oklahoma’s Early Childhood Education Institute. Register.




Postdoctoral Associate in Early Childhood Policy and Research

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education seeks a postdoctoral associate.

NIEER conducts and communicates research to support high-quality, effective early childhood education from infancy through the primary grades. Our aim is to stimulate policymaking that will enhance children’s learning, development, and well-being.

The postdoctoral associate will work directly with NIEER’s co-directors on research in collaboration with university and community partners. The associate will contribute to policy analysis, field research, and technical assistance to inform ECE policy and practice. The post-doctoral associate will author and co-author policy briefs and journal articles, support dissemination, and participate in grant writing and communications with potential project sponsors.

The ideal candidate will have a doctoral degree by the hire date in a discipline related to Early Childhood Education. This position will involve ECE conceptual knowledge and research expertise to design, conduct, oversee, and interpret research and to interface with elected and appointed officials as well as philanthropic partners. In addition, the candidate would need relevant professional experience in the field and/or policy research and demonstrated knowledge and expertise in ECE practice and policy. For more information, please see the full job posting.


OPRE Considering Graduate Dissertation Grants in 2021

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation has forecasted and is considering funding Child Care, Head Start, and Behavioral Interventions graduate student dissertation grants in 2021.

Visit for the Child Care Dissertation GrantsHead Start Dissertation Grants, and Behavioral Interventions Scholars estimated application due dates and subscribe to email notifications. The ACF Grants & Funding home page contains the latest published funding opportunity announcements.




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.