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IES Grant

Title: Atlanta 323: Partnership for School Readiness and Achievement from Age 3 to Grade 3
Center: NCER Year: 2017
Principal Investigator: Patton-Terry, Nicole Awardee: Florida State University
Program: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (07/01/2017 – 06/30/2019) Award Amount: $400,000
Type: Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Award Number: R305H180062

Previous Award Number: R305H170054
Previous Awardee: Georgia State University

Co-Principal Investigator: Sydney Ahearn (Atlanta Public Schools)

Partner Institutions: Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and Georgia State University (GSU)

Purpose: Children from low-income backgrounds, especially children of color, are at greater risk for poor academic achievement and school failure. The academic achievement gap is present before school entry and often widens during the school years. Atlanta 323: The Partnership for School Readiness and Achievement from Age 3 to Grade 3 (Atlanta 323 for short) will address early learning achievement gaps and improve Atlanta Public School's (APS) capacity to implement an effective preschool through 3rd grade (P3) early childhood system.

Partnership Activities: The partners will focus on developing a research infrastructure that will allow APS and its stakeholders to create an integrated longitudinal P3 data system and utilize data to make decisions around the P3 system. Activities will include (1) establishing the partnership, (2) building the P3 data system, (3) developing agreements with center-based Georgia Pre-K providers to share student-level data and participate in research studies, (4) conducting secondary data analyses to examine the school readiness of students who attend APS Georgia Pre-K and the associations between pre-k experiences and student achievement in K–3, (5) sharing research findings with diverse stakeholders, and (6) engaging local stakeholders to develop design-research teams to respond to research findings.

Setting: This project will take place in Atlanta Public Schools, Georgia.

Population/Sample: The sample will include center-based Georgia Pre-K providers. The student sample will include approximately 5,000 students from APS Pre-K–3rd grade classrooms and more than 1,000 students from non-APS, center-based Georgia Pre-K classrooms whose students matriculate into APS K–3 classrooms.

Initial Research: The research activities will be completed in two phases and the partners will conduct two studies. The partners will build an integrated longitudinal P3 database that links administratively available student-level data from Pre-K–3rd grade on three groups of APS students: those who attended Georgia (GA) Pre-K in APS, those who attended GA Pre-K in an external early education center, and those who did not attend GA Pre-K. In Year 1/ Phase 1, the partners will gather, store, analyze, and link current and previous Pre-K and K–3 student-level data for children who attend APS GA Pre-K. They will also establish data sharing agreements and expand the partnership to engage additional partners. For Study 1, the partners will use data from students in APS Pre-K–3rd grade to conduct descriptive analyses to investigate school readiness and early achievement for students who attend APS Georgia Pre-K programs. In year 2/Phase 2, the partners will gather and integrate data from non-APS, center-based GA Pre-K providers into the P3 database. For Study 2, the partners will use data from both APS and non-APS GA Pre-K providers to compare pre-K and kindergarten readiness and K–3 achievement across all three groups of students and to explore what components of readiness predict K–3 achievement. At the end of year 2, the partners will share study findings with practitioner and research audiences and create a research agenda for future Atlanta 323 projects.

Outcomes: The partnership will develop an integrated longitudinal P3 database and conduct preliminary P3 research studies of associations between children's pre-k experience and kindergarten readiness. Findings from the preliminary studies will be shared with APS staff and used to inform policies and practices for P3 education. The research and partnership activities are expected to lead to improvements in APS's capacity to (1) use P3 data to make instructional, programmatic, and policy decisions, (2) conduct additional P3 research studies, and (3) engage new partners for ongoing research and partnership to address challenges that emerge from the P3 research findings.