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IES Grant

Title: Strengthening the Research Architecture for High Quality Universal Pre-K: Leveraging the Opportunity of a Historic Expansion
Center: NCER Year: 2014
Principal Investigator: Raver, Cybele Awardee: New York University
Program: Unsolicited and Other Awards      [Program Details]
Award Period: 1 year (10/1/2014-9/30/2015) Award Amount: $100,000
Type: Other Goal Award Number: R305U140002

Co-Principal Investigator: Pamela Morris

Purpose: Senior education leaders in New York City (NYC) are currently undertaking one of the most rapidly and broadly deployed education policy initiatives in the nation, dramatically expanding universal pre-kindergarten opportunities for the city’s preschool-aged children. The purpose of this project is to provide quantitative and capacity-building solutions to two pressing problems faced by the NYC Department of Education (DOE) in the face of this historic expansion. The first is that the NYC DOE’s research architecture is not yet sufficiently robust to take the “pulse” of universal pre-kindergarten as it undergoes such a dramatic transformation. The second is that moving from knowledge gained through research to implications for practice is often simply too slow and too cumbersome to fully benefit education leaders in large urban education systems.

Project Activities: Researchers will collaborate with senior education leaders in NYC to strengthen NYC DOE’s research architecture by (1) collecting direct assessments of young children’s school readiness (including early language, math, and self-regulation skills), (2) linking child-data with the NYC DOE’s developing system of classroom- and site-level data, and (3) training teachers to administer direct assessments of school readiness measures using an innovative “1-on-1” brief tutorial and coaching session. In addition, the project team will hold a series of meetings between the research team and the NYC DOE with the goal of identifying “bright contrast” education experiments that will capitalize on the research architecture that is being developed.

Products: The project will result in an improved research infrastructure that enables the NYC DOE to quantitatively monitor and assess the potential benefits or costs of this education policy initiative.

Structured Abstract

Setting: Participants will be recruited from urban schools in New York City, NY.

Sample: The study participants will include approximately 880 children nested within approximately 160 classrooms drawn from both school-based and community based organization (CBO) universal pre-kindergarten sites.

Intervention: Due to the nature of this study, an intervention will not be developed. Researchers will collaborate with senior leaders in education in NYC to strengthen the research architecture of the NYC DOE by presenting and completing child school readiness assessments, linking data results with NYC DOE’s classroom and site-level data, and providing teacher training to administer assessments using personalized training sessions, including a tutorial and coaching session.

Research Design and Methods: The research team will conduct a descriptive study to address policy relevant research questions of interest to the NYC DOE. In this study, children’s academic and behavioral school readiness will be measured through a variety of assessments. Child assessments will be administered in the late fall (to the full sample) and late spring (to a subset of the sample) of the pre-kindergarten year. Assessments will be performed by highly trained, bilingual (English/Spanish) graduate students. A small group of teachers will be provided with training on a subset of direct assessments components in individualized “personalized in-service” training sessions, using Tablet PC technology. After training, teachers will be guided to assess one child’s skills across the subset of measures. Afterwards, teachers will be asked to assess acceptability, feasibility, and usability of the data collection effort.

Control Condition: The project does not require a control condition.

Key Measures: Child-level direct assessments will include the Pre-language Assessment Scale, Receptive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test, Woodcock-Johnson Applied Problems, Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders task, Self-Ordered Pointing, and Spatial Conflict Arrows. The assessor will fill out the Preschool Self-Regulation Assessment Assessor Report to describe the levels of attention, emotion, and behavioral regulation demonstrated by the child during the assessment session. For the teacher training component of the study, teacher reports will be used to measure acceptability, feasibility, and usability of the data collection effort.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will analyze the data using descriptive statistics as well as simple 3-level hierarchical linear models (representing children clustered in sites, clustered in NYC boroughs).


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Daneri, M.P, Sulik, M.J., Raver, C.C., and Morris, P.A. (2017). Observers' Reports of Self-Regulation: Measurement Invariance Across Sex, Low-Income Status, and Race/Ethnicity. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.