October 30, 2020 – Volume 19, Issue 42

HOT TOPICS

NIEER’S New Research on Bilingual Instruction

A study co-authored by former and current NIEER faculty Alexandra Fiegueras-Daniel (now at Bank Street) and Zijia Li (and recently published by Early Childhood Research Quarterly) explores the effectiveness of different teacher and assistant teacher combinations based on their capacity to provide supports for learning to young Hispanic students in their home language. Findings of the article (Figueras-Daniel, A., & Li, Z. (2021). Evidence of support for dual language learners in a study of bilingual staffing patterns using the Classroom Assessment of Supports for Emergent Bilingual Acquisition (CASEBA). Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 54, 271-285. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2020.09.011) include:

  • The Classroom Assessment for Emergent Bilingual Acquisition (CASEBA; Freedson, Figueras-Daniel, & Frede, 2009) was able to detect significant variations in classroom practices among various staff language configurations that the ECERS-R did not capture.
  • The CASEBA was able to discern differences among the practices of three staff language configurations relative to supports for DLLs, finding that supports were more pronounced in classrooms where a lead teacher spoke Spanish.
  • None of the groups scored better than another on English language support items indicating a need for specific attention to nurturing English language development in very specific ways.
  • Staff language groups were not associated with children’s receptive language scores in English or Spanish.
  • The Assistant Teacher Supports Home Languagesubscale of the CASEBA was associated with English receptive language scores.

Information about CASEBA, which was developed at NIEER, and its application for academic use is available on NIEER’s website.

 

NIEER Data Snapshot Explores State DLL Population and Policies

NIEER’s Karin Garver has authored a new data snapshot that asks if there is a connection between the size of a state’s young dual language learner (DLL) population and the public preschool policies and capacities in place to support them.

According to Garver, “In many states, there is little alignment between the population of preschool DLLs, state preschool policies to enroll and support the development of preschool DLLs, and state capacity to provide informed guidance and oversight.”

Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Resources

 

NC Child has launched a new website for Lead Free NC in time for Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.

The site provides tools for families to identify and address potential lead hazards in their home. Among the site’s tools is the NC Housing Lead Risk Map, newly developed by NC Child in partnership with the Duke Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.

Lead Free NC is a campaign to help families explore their local lead risk and connect to resources for lead prevention and treatment.

The Government Accounting Office has made four recommendations to federal agencies to promote lead testing of water in child care facilities and to improve collaboration across the federal government to do so.

The recommendations were made in a report that includes results of a survey of drinking water testing practices at Head Start centers. GAO estimates:

  • 26% tested for lead in their drinking water; 10% of those found lead and all took action to remediate
  • 43% had not tested
  • 31% did not know if they had tested

See the full report.

 

State ECE Officials: Yearbook Survey Deadline Today

If you’ve returned your survey for the 2020 State of Preschool Yearbook, thank you.

If not, please do so before the end of the day.

Have questions? Need an extension? Contact us at yearbook@nieer.org.

You may also view our webinar for tips on using the survey platform and completing the survey.

We are grateful to states and territories for their active and vital participation in our yearly survey of state-funded preschool programs.

NIEER’s 2020 State of Preschool Yearbook is generously supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the PNC Bank Foundation.

 

NIEER ACTIVITIES

Steven Barnett and G.G. Weisenfeld delivered the convocation address at the European Early Childhood Education Research Association convocation on the early learning impacts of the corona pandemic in the United States.

The same day they delivered a presentation at the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education 2020 Roundtable on addressing equity in ECE systems during the pandemic.

 

NIEER OPPORTUNITIES

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.

 

ECE RESEARCH

Longitudinally Adaptive Assessment and Instruction Increase Numerical Skills of Preschool Children

University of Chicago researchers (Stephen W. Raudenbush, Marc Hernandez, Susan Goldin-Meadow, Christina Carrazza, Alan Foley, Debbie Leslie, Janet E. Sorkin, and Susan C. Levin) designed a procedure for teachers “to assess the skills of each child and tailor instruction to child-specific levels of skill. The procedure is iterative: Assess, teach, reassess, and teach, with three assessments per school year.”

The assessments enabled teachers to make informed evaluations and decisions “for the next phase of instruction.”

The researchers found “children in classrooms randomly assigned to this procedure gained substantially more in their numerical proficiency than did children in control classrooms.”

 

Recitation and Listening to Nursery Rhymes in the Familiarization with a Literacy Language in Kindergarteners: Not Kids’ Stuff

Researchers from the University of Haifa and the Bar-Ilan University wanted to know if “structured activities in MSA [Modern Standard Arabic] would advance kindergarteners’ MSA aptitude by the end of the school year.”

The “structured activities” involved students either repeatedly reciting or listening to nursery rhymes.

Comparing the achievement of students who experienced the structured activity intervention to a control group of peers who experienced a “nonlinguistic activity of similar length,” the students who received the intervention “improved their performance at the postintervention assessment in all tests of MSA aptitude and outperformed the control group in receptive and expressive vocabulary and listening comprehension.”

The researchers suggest their results “highlight the contribution of structured interventions based on rhyme repetition to MSA proficiency of kindergarteners” and “that reciting may be superior to listening in advancing language proficiency in preschoolers.”

 

Benefits of Playing Numerical Card Games on Head Start Children’s Mathematical Skills

Nicole R. Scalise and Geetha B. Ramani of the University of Maryland and Emily N. Dauber of Rutgers University—Newark examined “the effectiveness of numerical card games in improving children’s numerical and executive functioning skills.” Their results “suggest that a brief, low-cost intervention can successfully improve the numerical skills of low-income children.”

 

The Prevention of Anxiety and Depression in Early Childhood

Natalie Baughman, Susan L Prescott, and Rosanna Rooney from Australia reviewed research on interventions for preventing anxiety and depression in early childhood. They focused on “interventions that could be delivered universally in the school context to children aged 4-6 years or their parents.” While finding only six programs fitting the criteria, the results “suggest that intervention and prevention efforts in early childhood are needed and can be effective in terms of reducing the burden associated with internalizing symptoms in childhood, at least in the short term.”

 

Leveraging Self-Determination Theory to Understand which Preschool Teachers Benefit Most from a Professional Development Intervention

MyTeachingPartner (MTP) is an effective professional development intervention for preschool teachers, “however, previous research has suggested that both teacher and contextual factors may moderate the effectiveness of PD interventions like MTP.”

Seeking to learn which preschool teachers will benefit the most from an MTP intervention, Benjamin L. Bayly of the Pennsylvania State University and Eleanor Dizon, Gitanjali Shrestha, Crystal Lederhos Smith, Senait Tekle, and Brittany Rhoades Cooper of Washington State University “identified subgroups of teachers … based on the fulfillment of their three basic needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness” and then “tested the effect of MTP, latent class membership, and the MTP by latent class interaction on the quality of teacher emotional and instructional support.”

Finding “MTP was most effective for instructional support for teachers from the Confident and Supported class,” their “results suggest teacher and contextual factors in concert are important in optimizing the effectiveness of PD.”

 

OPPORTUNITIES