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IES Grant

Title: Project Construct: A Catalyst for Early Achievement
Center: NCER Year: 2003
Principal Investigator: Thornburg, Kathy Awardee: University of Missouri, Columbia
Program: Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years Award Amount: $1,161,335
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305J030103

This research team is assessing the efficacy of Project Construct, a curriculum shaped by research about children's thinking. Project Construct is based on the idea that children actively construct their own knowledge through "hands-on, minds-on" learning experiences. In this study, investigators are examining the impact of Project Construct on students' general knowledge, language, mathematical, and socio-emotional development. Participating schools are located in one metropolitan and several other Missouri communities.

Classrooms in full-day, private day care centers were randomly assigned to use either Project Construct or the teachers' current regular curricular approach. In addition to examining child outcomes, the researchers are examining teachers' beliefs and practices and the ways in which teachers' prior experience (e.g., level of education) and professional development are related to child outcomes. Teachers using Project Construct receive the standard training for the project, including instruction in three training modules, two follow-up workshops, and four half-day on-site consultations. Teachers not using Project Construct continue to use the curricular approach already in place. The researchers are interviewing teachers to find out how their beliefs change over time, particularly when trained to use Project Construct. The children and teachers in the study come from diverse racial, ethnic, and income levels. The study includes 288 children in 24 pre-kindergarten classrooms.


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.