Research Report

Evaluation of the Philadelphia PreK Program


Read the Classroom Qual 2023 Report Read the Classroom Qual 2022 Report 

Read the Classroom Qual 2021 Report Read the Classroom Qual 2020 Report

Read the Classroom Qual 2019 Report  Read the Classroom Qual 2018 Report

Philadelphia’s Preschool Program (PHLpreK) has recently concluded its seventh year, following its initiation after a 2015 referendum approving the creation of a universal pre-K program for children ages 3 and 4. NIEER has been evaluating the program since its inception, focusing on program quality, components, and children's learning and development. The 2023 report highlights consistently high to moderate quality in emotional support and classroom organization, despite the program’s expansion. However, instructional support scores remain low. For the first time since 2018-19, the evaluation assessed children's developmental gains, showing improvements in executive functions and literacy, but lower gains in receptive vocabulary and mathematics compared to pre-pandemic cohorts. The report underscores the importance of continuous improvement and data-driven strategies to enhance preschool quality and effectiveness

The Authors

Erin Harmeyer is an Assistant Research Professor at NIEER. Her research interests include family childcare quality; caregiver-child interactions; and the academic readiness skills of preschool-age children.

Dr. Milagros Nores is the Co-Director for Research and Associate Research Professor at the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). With a profound expertise in early childhood evaluation, informing data-driven policy and programming, cost and benefits of early interventions, evaluation design, equity, and English language learners, she has established herself as a leading researcher in the field of early care and education.

Dr. Zijia Li is an Assistant Research Professor at the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER). Her research interests are early care and education policy and quality, quantitative research design and evaluation tool development for field research that informs early education policy, and psychometric theories and applications in early education.

As a Research Project Coordinator, Carmen Espinosa deploys and manages data collection efforts among data collection personnel. Carmen works to build strong, supportive relationships with educators and policymakers in the projects assigned.


The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, conducts and disseminates independent research and analysis to inform early childhood education policy.