The Institute of Education Studies has just launched new research network focused on developing “reliable information and useful tools” for early educators and policymakers wishing to improve early-childhood education.
“The Early Learning Network will study what is happening in early education programs across the country and how successfully children are making the transition from preschool to elementary school,” said Ruth C. Neild, delegated director of IES, in a Jan. 19 statement. “The Network will seek to identify what policymakers and practitioners can do to improve early-learning programs so students are prepared for long-term success in school.”
The network consists of seven research teams that will conduct three studies, with a focus on disadvantaged students. Here are the descriptions of the three studies:
- A descriptive study of school transitions: A study of state and/or local policies and practices that are designed to support children as they move from preschool into the early elementary school grades, and between grades in elementary school;
- Classroom factors associated with school readiness: A classroom observation study to identify factors that are associated with children’s school readiness skills and achievement, including curriculum, instructional practices, classroom climate, and teacher, student, and peer interactions; and
- A longitudinal study of achievement: A study that will follow the academic progress of a cohort of students over time and identify factors impacting their achievement, including, but not limited to, attendance in preschool and types of preschool programs; parental involvement; continuity in learning goals and expectations, and instruction.
Each of the seven teams received a five-year grant to conduct their portion of the research. Grantees include Susan Sheridan of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Margaret Burchinal, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Carol Conner of the University of California, Irvine; JoAnn Hsueh of MDRC, Laura Justice of The Ohio State University; and Robert Pianta of the University of Virginia.
Most grants were for $4.5 million. The funds come from the Institute of Education Sciences itself, an independent research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, and the Preschool Development Grants program, overseen by the U.S. Department of Education.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.