teacher and students

Program Evaluations

We rigorously evaluate the impact and variation of early childhood programs nationwide. Our evaluations aim to uncover strengths and weaknesses to inform data-driven targeted improvements.

Early Childhood Programs and Child Development in Indiana

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) recently conducted a comprehensive evaluation of early childhood programs in Indiana (IN) spanning from spring 2021 to the summer of 2022. This research, commissioned by Early Learning Indiana (ELI), provides valuable, research-based insights into the quality of 321 classrooms within 206 programs across the state. It also delves into the developmental progress of 715 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in these classrooms. Despite the disruptive influence of the pandemic on program operations, the study unveiled stability in independent quality assessments over two consecutive years, from 2021 to 2022. The study found that, on average, children experienced warm, caring, and supportive environments. Nevertheless, the research also highlighted a persistent challenge given the consistently low levels of observed language and instructional support for all age groups, suggesting areas where improvement is needed. 

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PHLpre-K

Generously funded by the William Penn Foundation, NIEER undertook a multi-year, multi-site evaluation of Philadelphia's pre-kindergarten program, known as PHLpre-K. Through a combination of research methods and designs, this evaluation thoroughly assesses the program's components and overall quality. Importantly, it examines the program's impact on children's learning and development. By rigorously evaluating Philadelphia's pre-K program as the program expands, this project contributes invaluable insights for enhancing preschool programs in the city, ultimately benefiting the city's youngest learners. 

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The AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program for Diverse Cultures

NIEER engaged in a comprehensive program evaluation of the Adaptation of AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program. This evaluation encompassed the study of program implementation, cultural adaptations, and the impacts on both children and parents through a randomized controlled trial. Funding for this project was generously provided by AVANCE, Inc. (with the primary funder being the W.K. Kellogg Foundation) and by the Heising-Simons Foundation. Through rigorous examination of processes and impact this evaluation aimed to uncover the adaptability and short term effects of the AVANCE program in various culturally distinct settings . 

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The Creative Curriculum® from Teaching Strategies’ Ecosystem

NIEER has embarked on a comprehensive three-year project to rigorously evaluate The Creative Curriculum® Ecosystem from Teaching Strategies in its high-fidelity form. This initiative seeks to delve into the implementation of this curriculum and its enhanced support to assess its effectiveness in preschool classrooms. Early childhood programs’ impact on children’s cognitive and socioemotional development depends significantly on program quality. The study evaluates The Creative Curriculum® digital plus print model in its high-fidelity form: it is connected to assessment and family engagement workflows via a digital platform and supported through professional development. NIEER will compare it to The Creative Curriculum® print model and other commonly used curricula. The study is assessing the extent to which variations in levels of support to the curricula are associated with differences in observed teaching practices, children’s experiences, and children’s learning and development. The research includes an embedded cluster-randomized controlled trial to induce exogenous variation in implementation fidelity within districts. The research will provide invaluable insights into optimizing early childhood education through curriculum enhancements. 

West Virginia

NIEER conducted a combined set of evaluations (RDDs and Longitudinal) of West Virginia’s Universal Pre-K program spanning from 2015 through 2022. This work as a partnership with Marshall University and West Virginia’s Department of Education (which generously funded this work). This comprehensive state evaluation examined student outcomes, including vocabulary, literacy, math, and executive functions. Classroom quality was consistently observed and assessed to inform efforts for continuous improvement and the provision of high-quality early childhood education. With a focus on outcomes and classroom practices, these evaluations contributed significantly to enhancing West Virginia’s Pre-K program and ultimately benefiting young children's learning and development. 

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NIEER Research Library

The National Institute for Early Education Research's comprehensive research library serves as a valuable resource for educators, policymakers, researchers, and anyone interested in the field of early childhood education. The library is a repository of research reports, policy briefs, academic papers, and other publications related to early childhood education. Many of the resources in the NIEER Research Library are made available for free as downloadable PDFs or accessible through links.

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