Research Report

West Virginia Classroom Observations

The WV Pre-K program serves 66% of the state’s four-year-olds, ranking 6th nationally for access (Barnett et al., 2017). West Virginia meets all 10 NIEER quality benchmarks due to a new requirement for assistant teachers to hold a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Additionally, WV meets 9 out of 10 of NIEER’s more robust benchmarks, including class size, teacher qualifications, and monitoring. 

The passage of SB 146 (2016) enhanced the program by mandating at least 25 hours of weekly instruction. A report by Wechsler et al. (2016) praised the program’s design, continuous quality improvement, early learning standards, and integration into the K-12 funding formula. 

In 2015, NIEER and Marshall University began a five-year evaluation of the WV Pre-K program. Initial findings show positive impacts on children’s learning and development, especially for lower-income children. However, classroom quality varied, with some areas needing improvement. 


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.