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Accountability comes to preschool: Florida's approach to evaluating pre-kindergarten programs based on their graduates' kindergarten assessments
Miller, Luke, September, 2015
Charlottesville: University of Virginia, EdPolicyWorks.

This policy brief describes one state's experience using child assessment data to evaluate the quality of early childhood providers. In 2005, Florida introduced its Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program, a free, universal preschool initiative. VPK currently serves about 75 percent of the state's 4-year-olds, and is a national leader with respect to preschool access. Since its inception, Florida has evaluated the quality of VPK programs based on their participants' score on an assessment administered at the beginning of kindergarten. This memo describes Florida's unique approach to program-level accountability and also highlights some potential unintended consequences of Florida's early childhood accountability system. In particular, we focus on the lack of a pre-test and the related possibility of mislabeling programs "low performing." (author abstract)

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Aced out: Censorship of qualitative research in the age of "scientifically based research"
Ceglowski, Deborah A., October, 2011
Qualitative Inquiry, 17(8), 679-686

In this manuscript, we examine three layers of censorship related to the publication of qualitative research studies: (a) the global level of federal legislation and the definition of the "gold standard" of educational research, (b) the decline in the number of qualitative studies published in a top-tiered early childhood educational research journal after implementation of the Reading Excellence Act and No Child Left Behind, and (c) a local story of our experience in submitting a qualitative study for review. In the final section, we discuss the implications of these three levels of censorship. (author abstract)

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Ages & Stages project: Evaluation for DHS/DCCECE
Whiteside-Mansell, Leanne, 2011
Little Rock: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

This project assessed the feasibility of the Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) to identify children 6 months to 5 years at risk for developmental delay in home- and center-based childcare facilities throughout Arkansas. The ASQ project had three goals: 1) Increase the knowledge of childcare providers 2) Integrate the ASQ into early childcare programs 3) Identify parent, provider and physician barriers to on-going use of the ASQ. The UAMS evaluation of the ASQ project addressed each of these three goals using both quantitative and qualitative methods. (author abstract)

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Ages & Stages project: Evaluation for DHS/DCCECE [Executive summary]
Whiteside-Mansell, Leanne, 2011
Little Rock: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

This project assessed the feasibility of the Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) to identify children 6 months to 5 years at risk for developmental delay in home- and center-based childcare facilities throughout Arkansas. The ASQ project had three goals: 1) Increase the knowledge of childcare providers 2) Integrate the ASQ into early childcare programs 3) Identify parent, provider and physician barriers to on-going use of the ASQ. The UAMS evaluation of the ASQ project addressed each of these three goals using both quantitative and qualitative methods. (author abstract)

Executive Summary


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All you ever want to know about the public CCDF Administrative Data Series [PowerPoint]
Aschaffenburg, Karen, 15 August, 2012
New York: Child Care & Early Education Research Connections

This powerpoint presentation accompanies a webinar that describes the public CCDF Administrative Data Series, explains how to use the data, and reviews the ACF-801 data reporting requirements. It portrays several concrete research questions with an analytic strategy. Finally, it summarizes an effective research/analysis process.

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Analysis methods including price conversions and the exclusion of facilities not in the priced child care market
Weber, Roberta B. (Bobbie), September, 2008
New York: Child Care & Early Education Research Connections

This webinar describes the complications presented by price conversions (for example, hourly prices to monthly prices) in child care market rate surveys. It also addresses the issue of accounting for child care sites not in the priced child care market and which are excluded from consideration in market rate surveys.

Webinars


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An analytic study of the professional development research in early childhood education
Schachter, Rachel E., November, 2015
Early Education and Development, 26(8), 1057-1085

The goal of this study was to examine empirical research on the design, delivery, and measurement of the effects of professional development (PD) for early childhood educators in order to provide insight into what the field has accomplished as well as suggest directions for future PD programs and research. Through the use of rigorous inclusion criteria outlined by S. M. Wilson, R. E. Floden, and J. Ferrini-Mundy (2001), 73 studies were included and analyzed. On average, 25% (M = 12.68, SD = 9.99) of references in each study were specifically about PD. The majority of studies (n = 39) targeted some form of language and literacy instruction, whereas only 5 studies targeted math and 1 study targeted science. A total of 35 different delivery mechanisms were used to provide PD, with 40 studies including some form of coaching and 45 including training workshops. The studies used a wide range of methods to measure PD-related outcomes: 51% (n = 37) of studies examined changes in teacher practice, 18% (n = 13) measured changes in teachers' knowledge, 40% (n = 29) measured changes in children's learning, and 11% (n = 8) measured changes in children's behavior. Practice or Policy: Based on the results of this study, there are 4 major ways in which PD for early childhood educators can be developed. Researchers and providers of PD should (a) continue to draw from multiple resources to inform PD implementation designs, (b) include more diversity in the content of instruction targeted by PD, (c) experiment with innovative formats for delivering PD, and (d) create better means of evaluating PD. (author abstract)

Literature Review


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Assessing children's school readiness in LA County neighborhoods
First 5 LA,
Los Angeles: First 5 LA.

When a community embarks on initiatives to improve population-level outcomes, one of the first orders of business is to designate the names and geographic boundaries of the community as a whole and of the specific neighborhoods within the community. Some areas of L.A. engaged residents in a boundary-definition process to ensure that the neighborhood boundaries had meaning for residents as they sought to make changes in their family and neighborhood spheres of influence. Other areas of LA are using predefined boundaries, often established by local governments. Collecting population data to represent all neighborhoods in the community is the goal, but the strategy for reaching that goal varies by community. With sufficient buy-in from key leaders and a clear plan for reaching all the elementary schools that serve the community, communities can achieve full EDI participation of the population quickly. Some communities begin by targeting a subset of schools or neighborhoods and then expand data collection over time. The EDI data reported in this brief are from the 19 L.A. County neighborhoods that achieved at least 70 percent participation as of July 2013, along with aggregate EDI data for L.A. County, Orange County and the U.S. (author abstract)

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Assessing the Implementation and Cost of High Quality Early Care and Education (ECE-ICHQ)
Kirby, Gretchen, 2014
Mathematica Policy Research

Growing evidence about the benefits of high quality care for young children, particularly low-income children, has garnered a strong commitment at both the federal and state levels to improve the quality of early care and education (ECE) programs. Yet, in an environment of competing demands and limited resources, policymakers, administrators, and other key stakeholders lack the information needed to effectively target funds to increase quality in ECE. The existing research base about the association between the costs and quality of ECE is not sufficient to inform these decisions. The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), has launched the Assessing the Implementation and Cost of High-Quality ECE (ECE-ICHQ) project. The goal of the project is to create a technically sound, feasible, and useful instrument that will provide consistent and systematic measures of the implementation and costs of quality to help fill the knowledge gap about the cost of providing and improving quality in ECE. The unique contribution of the project is its focus on documenting implementation by using an implementation science lens (parsing out context and implementation inputs and activities) to identify the cost ingredients of quality and to measure differences in implementation and context that may matter to costs.

Administration for Children and Families/OPRE Projects


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Assessing kindergarten readiness in Pennsylvania: How can the Kindergarten Entry Inventory boost skills of young students?
Public Citizens for Children and Youth, January, 2015
Philadelphia: Public Citizens for Children and Youth.

In collaboration with United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) examined the Pennsylvania Entry Inventory and utilization of similar tools with a select group of schools in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties that were involved in the pilot testing of the Pennsylvania KEI. This brief summarizes the findings from the 2012 pilot test of the Inventory and offers recommendations for how to improve the pace of school districts adopting it, ensure appropriate utilization of the data and spur improvement in both the K-12 and early learning sectors. (author abstract)

Reports & Papers


Assessing quality in family and provider/teacher relationships: Using the Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality (FPTRQ) measures in conjunction with Strengthening Families (TM) and the Head Start Parent, Family and Community engagement frameworks and self-assessment tools: A research-to-practice brief
Porter, Toni, April, 2015
(OPRE Report 2015-56). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

This research-to-practice brief is intended to help policymakers, program managers, and practitioners learn how the newly released Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality(FPTRQ) measures can be used to complement or supplement two approaches, Strengthening Families (TM) and the Head Start Parent, Family and Community Engagement (PFCE) frameworks, and their related self-assessments, that have been frequently used by Early Care and Education (ECE) stakeholders to support their work with families and to assess their programs, providers and teachers in these efforts. It is based on a systematic review of the Strengthening Families (TM) and the Head Start PFCE frameworks and self-assessment tools, and their alignment with the FPTRQ conceptual model and measures. (author abstract)

Other


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Assessing teacher beliefs about early literacy curriculum implementation
McKenney, Susan E., 2015
Early Child Development and Care, (), 1-14

Against the backdrop of growing international concern for a narrowing view of early literacy, this study was initiated to determine how teachers of four-year-olds view their task of fostering early literacy. This paper reports on the first steps to design and validate an instrument which captures teachers' perceptions of early literacy content goals; developmentally appropriate and effective pedagogical practices related to each content goal; and their own competencies to offer a suitable environment for developing early literacy. The content validity of the instrument was evaluated by an expert screening; the reliability and practicality of the instrument were assessed through a pilot study involving 20 teachers from 2 countries. Validation findings indicate that the instrument appears to be reliable. The findings from the pilot run show that teachers focus on decoding skills most; there is some attention to book orientation and understanding, and relatively little to the functions of written language. (author abstract)

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Assessing teachers' skills in detecting and identifying effective interactions in the classroom: Theory and measurement
Jamil, Faiza M., March, 2015
Elementary School Journal, 115(3), 407-432

Contemporary education reforms focus on assessing teachers' performance and developing selection mechanisms for hiring effective teachers. Tools that enable the prediction of teachers' classroom performance promote schools' ability to hire teachers more likely to be successful in the classroom. In addition, these assessment tools can be used for teacher training and preparation that contributes to improved student performance. This article summarizes the theoretical and empirical support for a direct assessment of teachers' skill in detecting and identifying effective classroom interactions--the Video Assessment of Interaction and Learning (VAIL). Findings from a study of 270 preschool teachers suggest that the VAIL reliably measures teachers' interaction detection and identification skills. Teachers who can accurately detect effective interactions on video exemplars tend to have more years of education and display more effective interactions with the students in their classroom. Findings are discussed in terms of the implications for teacher selection, preparation, and training. (author abstract)

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Benchmarks for Quality Improvement Self-Assessment Tool
National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement, January, 2015
Fairfax, VA: National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement.

The Benchmarks for Quality Improvement (BQI) were developed by the Office of Child Care (OCC) to support your planning and implementation of early learning quality improvement systems. OCC recognizes that States and Territories are using quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) as a framework for organizing, guiding, and gauging the progress of quality initiatives. Therefore, this self-assessment tool is organized around the five elements of a QRIS: 1. Program Standards, 2. Supports for Programs and Practitioners, 3. Financial Incentives, 4. Quality Assurance and Monitoring, and 5. Consumer Education. The purpose of the BQI Self-Assessment Tool is to help you assess your current status and measure your progress in implementing program quality improvement systems. It is our hope that this tool will assist you in identifying areas that you would prioritize for moving forward. (author abstract)

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The brainification of early childhood education and other challenges to academic rigour
Vandenbroeck, Michel, February, 2014
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 22(1), 1-3

This commentary touches upon several controversial issues encountered in the publication of early childhood research. The author identifies the following general challenges: the conflicts of interested faced by researchers affiliated with programs they are researching, the bias unwittingly caused by the "publish-or-perish" imperative, and the preference for new research over verification research. The author then discusses several controversies related specifically to early childhood policymakers' use of knowledge from the field of Neuroscience, specifically on the topic of brain pliability. He identifies challenges to the claims of neuroscience researchers that educational interventions delivered before children's brains are fully formed are more cost-effective than interventions provided after this developmental phase. The commentary also outlines several steps the European Early Childhood Education Research Journal is taking to increase the rigor of articles it puslishes.

Other


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"Censorship", Early Childhood Research Quarterly and qualitative research: Not so much aced out as an own goal?
Chattoe-Brown, Edmund, Q2 2015
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 31(), 163-171

As its starting point, this article investigates claims published in Qualitative Inquiry by Ceglowski, Bacigalupa, and Peck (2011) that Early Childhood Research Quarterly censored qualitative research. Unfortunately they assert rather than demonstrate political bias against qualitative research, fail to show that its publication in Early Childhood Research Quarterly has actually declined and ignore alternate hypotheses compatible with their data. After breaking their argument into parts, I find their censorship claims completely unsupported by evidence. However, this article has two larger aims. The first is to show how mistaking hypotheses for evidence, arguing unconvincingly from quantitative data, and failing to consider alternative interpretations of evidence weaken qualitative research, lowering its credibility within social science. The second is to consider the wider academic ramifications of publishing a peer-reviewed journal article that totally fails to support its claims. Based on these concerns, the article offers some practical advice to avoid the negative outcomes demonstrated by the publication of Ceglowski, Bacigalupa, and Peck and considers the scientific implications of this rebuttal to their claims having been rejected previously by Qualitative Inquiry. (author abstract)

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Center-Based Provider Survey [PowerPoint]
National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 2015
(NSECE Downloadable Presentation III). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation.

This presentation focuses on the Center-Based Provider Survey used in the NSECE. Examined aspects of the survey include: data collection; topics covered by the survey; provider data; survey respondents; levels of observation; and key differences across the categories of survey files.

Other


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Challenges of planning a birth-to-three evaluation: A universal early childhood system evaluation
Leow, Christine S., June, 2014
Journal of Early Childhood Research, 12(2), 128-138

In an effort to bring rigorous research into the education and social sciences field, the past decade had seen an increase in the advocacy of randomized controlled trials. The argument in favor of using randomized controlled trial is that one can evaluate the impact of an intervention in comparison to a control group with confidence during a summative evaluation. However, before coming to the stage of conducting a randomized controlled trial, extensive effort in planning and conducting process evaluation is needed. This article examines the perspective of an early childhood evaluation in the United States, and particularly highlights the challenges that arise when a state's whole system is being evaluated, where the system consists of a variety of program models and the provision of early childhood services is universal in the system. The challenges are highlighted so that future evaluators will be aware of such issues in planning their universal systemwide evaluation. (author abstract)

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Choice of data sources and data collection methods
Weber, Roberta B. (Bobbie), 16 September, 2008
(3rd in series of Child Care Market Rate Survey webinars). New York: Child Care & Early Education Research Connections.

This webinar is a discussion of methodology used in the Guidance for Validating Child Care Market Rate Surveys project. It includes an assessment of the methods used to study the effects of data sources and data collection methods on resulting measurements of child care prices.

Webinars


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Collecting information from Head Start and Early Head Start grantees on implementation of the school readiness goals requirements: Survey items for program leadership, teachers, and administrative data collection
Rohacek, Monica, April, 2015
(OPRE Report #2015-36). Washington, DC: Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

Though Head Start has a long history of efforts focused on preparing children for school and assessing children's development, it is only since December 2011 that Head Start regulations specifically require grantees to set school readiness goals and track progress toward those goals. To gain an understanding of how programs and child and family outcomes may change in response to the specific focus on school readiness goals, it is important to begin with how grantees are interpreting and responding to the new requirements. This report serves as a resource for future national surveys or data collection efforts that aim to understand the kinds of goals grantees set, how they collect and analyze data to track progress, ways the goals are being used at the local level, and factors that can support meaningful implementation of the school readiness goals requirements. (author abstract)

Other


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Conditions for effective application of analysis of symmetrically-predicted endogenous subgroups
Peck, Laura, December, 2015
American Journal of Evaluation, 36(4), 532-546

Several analytic strategies exist for opening up the "black box" to reveal more about what drives policy and program impacts. This article focuses on one of these strategies: the Analysis of Symmetrically-Predicted Endogenous Subgroups (ASPES). ASPES uses exogenous baseline data to identify endogenously-defined subgroups, keeping the analysis of some postrandomization choice, event, or milestone grounded in the strength of experimental design. Building on lessons from prior applications of ASPES and also adding some new analyses, this article focuses on four specific practical considerations: first-stage prediction success, assumption credibility, data availability, and sample size. Discussion implies the optimal conditions for effective application of ASPES and points to future research that can enhance the overall tool kit of "what works" analyses. (author abstract)

Other


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Confidentiality issues: Addressing questions about sharing data among organizations
Thornburg, Kathy R., 21 April, 2014
Washington, DC: Early Learning Challenge Technical Assistance Program.

This brief summarizes a webinar on confidentiality issues faced by early childhood education programs that manage, view, and share data on children and/or interface with integrated and longitudinal data systems. It addresses select restrictions in place under Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), and includes a list of commonly-asked questions and answers on the topic as well as a record of those asked and answered during the webinar.

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Confirmatory factor structure of the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children--Second Edition with preschool children: Too young for differentiation?
Potvin, Deborah C. H., September, 2015
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 33(6), 522-533

With an age range from 3 to 13 years, the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children--Second Edition (KABC-II) offers an appealing option for the assessment of cognitive abilities for children. Although independent research has provided evidence of the construct validity of the KABC-II for school-age children, previous studies have rarely included an examination of preschool-age children. This study used confirmatory factor analysis to investigate the structure of the KABC-II in preschool children in relation to the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory of intelligence. By examining competing models based on CHC theory, this study found that the constructs measured by the KABC-II subtests matched those specified within the manual, for children ages 4 through 5. In addition, these results suggested that Gf and Gv are in fact distinct broad abilities for this age group. These findings provide support for differentiated cognitive abilities within young children. (author abstract)

Reports & Papers


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Construct validity evidence for Bracken School Readiness Assessment, Third Edition, Spanish form scores
Ortiz, Arlene, February, 2015
Psychology in the Schools, 52(2), 208-221

Convergent and discriminant validity evidence was examined for scores on the Spanish Record Form of the Bracken School Readiness Assessment, Third Edition (BSRA-3). Participants included a sample of 68 Hispanic, Spanish-speaking children ages 4 to 5 years enrolled in preschool programs in Puerto Rico. Scores obtained from the BSRA-3 Spanish Record Form were compared with scores from the Nonverbal Index of the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, Second Edition, and the Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales, Second Edition. As expected, the correlation between school readiness scores and nonverbal intelligence was significant and moderate in the positive direction and the correlations between school readiness scores and behaviors were low. Discriminant validity evidence for BSRA-3 scores was demonstrated using Steiger's Z test to compare correlations of similar and dissimilar constructs. As hypothesized, significant results emerged. (author abstract)

Reports & Papers


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Continuity of child care subsidy receipt: Why definitions of spells and gaps matter: Technical brief
Krafft, Caroline, December, 2014
(Child Trends Publication No. 2015-55). Bethesda, MD: Child Trends.

In this brief, we use administrative data from one state's child care subsidy program to demonstrate how the overall patterns of subsidy continuity are influenced by the time unit used and by the definition of the end of a subsidy spell. The examples presented here demonstrate that the proportion of children with short spells varies depending on the spell definition. The length of subsidy spells can vary substantially based on the definition of a break, because many children have short interruptions in subsidy receipt. Furthermore, we show that one must be cautious in comparing results about subsidy continuity across states that use different time units. In our example, the median spell length using monthly data was longer by approximately one month compared to the median based on weekly data. Additionally, a four-week break in subsidy participation is not equivalent to a break of one calendar month when developing measures of continuity. (author abstract)

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Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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