By Debra J. Ackerman and W. Steven Barnett
NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 11, July 2006)
Although positive gains have been produced by high-quality preschool programs, the quality of programs currently available is far from uniform, with the vast majority considered to be mediocre. The effectiveness of preschool programs could be significantly improved if they more closely replicated models that have had strong impacts and if formative evaluations were implemented to provide regular feedback to program staff regarding how well programs work. This policy brief reviews research on the inputs contributing to quality, features of programs that impact children’s learning and development, and current state policies related to these characteristics, and makes recommendations on how to increase effectiveness.