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IES Grant

Title: Evaluation of the Language-Focused Curriculum
Center: NCER Year: 2003
Principal Investigator: Justice, Laura Awardee: University of Virginia
Program: Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years Award Amount: $1,426,418
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305J030084

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the efficacy of The Language-Focused Curriculum on preschool children's learning. The Language-Focused Curriculum is designed to improve at-risk children's language development. Evidence suggests that early language delays may lead to later problems in literacy skills and social relations. This research team is investigating whether the Language-Focused Curriculum fosters children's oral language development, thereby reducing the chances of later language and social difficulties. The study takes place in half-day Head Start Program classrooms in central Virginia.

Half of the classrooms were randomly assigned to the Language-Focused Curriculum; in the remaining classrooms teachers continue to use their regular curriculum. The researchers are collecting data on the children's language skills before and after the pre-K year, at the end of kindergarten, and at the end of first grade. In addition, the researchers are examining the effect of the curriculum on teacher-child relationships and children's literacy and social skills. The relations between social, family, and child characteristics and child outcomes are also being examined. The study involves 12 classrooms and 195 4-year-old children from low-income families.


Book, edition specified

Justice, L.M., Pence, K., and Wiggins, A. (2008). Training Teachers to Use the Language-Focused Curriculum. (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

IES published report (GPO)

Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research Consortium (2008). Effects of Preschool Curriculum Programs on School Readiness (NCER 2008–2009). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Research. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Bowles, R.P., Skibbe, L.E., and Justice, L.M. (2011). Analysis of Letter Name Knowledge Using Rasch Measurement. Journal of Applied Measurement, 12(4): 387–399.

Cottone, E. (2012). Preschoolers' Emergent Literacy Skills: The Mediating Role of Maternal Reading Beliefs. Early Education and Development, 23(3): 351–372.

Justice, L.M., Cottone, E.A., Mashburn, A., and Rimm-Kaufman, S.E. (2008). Relationships Between Teachers and Preschoolers who are at Risk: Contribution of Children's Language Skills, Temperamentally Based Attributes, and Gender. Early Education and Development, 19(4): 600–621.

Justice, L.M., Mashburn, A., Pence, K., and Wiggins, A. (2008). Experimental Evaluation of a Preschool Language Curriculum: Influence on Children's Expressive Language Skills. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 51(4): 983–1001.

Justice, L.M., Pence, K., Bowles, R., and Wiggins, A.K. (2006). An Investigation of Four Hypotheses Concerning the Order by Which 4–Year-Old Children Learn the Alphabet Letters. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 21(3): 374–389.

Logan, J.R., Piasta, S.B., Justice, L.M., Schatschneider, C., and Petrill, S. (2011). Children's Attendance Rates and Quality of Teacher-Child Interactions in At-Risk Preschool Classrooms: Contribution to Children's Expressive Language Growth. Child and Youth Care Forum, 40(6): 457–477.

Massey, S., Pence, K.L., Justice, L.M., and Bowles, R.P. (2008). Abstract Questioning in the Preschool Classroom. Early Education and Development, 19(2): 340–360.

Massey, S.L., Pence, K.L., Justice, L.M., and Bowles, R.P. (2008). Educators' Use of Cognitively Challenging Questions in Economically Disadvantaged Preschool Classroom Contexts. Early Education and Development, 19(2): 340–360.

Mcginty, A., Justice, L.M., and Rimm-Kaufman, S.E. (2008). Sense of School Community for Preschool Teachers Serving At-Risk Pupils. Early Education and Development, 19(2): 361–384.

Pence, K., Beckman, A., Justice, L.M., and Bowles, R. (2009). Preschoolers' Exposure to Language Stimulation in Classrooms Serving At-Risk Children: The Contribution of Group Size and Activity Context. Early Education and Development, 20(1): 53–79.

Pence, K., Justice, L.M., and Wiggins, A. (2008). Preschool Teachers' Fidelity of Implementation for a Language-Rich Preschool Curriculum. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 39: 329–341.

Rudasill, K.M., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., Justice, L.M. and Pence, K. (2006). Temperament and Language Skills as Predictors of Teacher-Child Relationship Quality in Preschool. Early Education and Development, 17(2): 271–291.

Turnbull, K., Bowles, R.P., Skibbe, L.E., Justice, L.M., and Wiggins, A.K. (2010). Theoretical Explanations for Preschoolers' Lowercase Alphabet Knowledge. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53(6): 1757–1768.