The study took place in 12 full-day preschools in a single school district in a large, Mid-Atlantic city.
A total of 194 preschool students were included in the study. The 194 students were in 20 classrooms in 12 schools. Approximately 10 students in each classroom were randomly chosen to participate in the study. Approximately half of the students were male, and 62% were Black, 29% were White, and 9% were another race. The ethnicity of the students in the sample was not reported. English learners and students on Individualized Education Plans were excluded from the study. The researchers randomly assigned eight schools to the intervention group and eight schools to the comparison group (four schools left the study, two from the intervention group and two from the comparison group, after random assignment).
Teachers in the intervention condition implemented the MyTeachingPartner-Math and Science curricula for prekindergarten instruction and also received enhanced supports for implementing the curricula described under support for implementation below. This intervention is referred to as MyTeachingPartner-Math and Science Plus Teacher Support. MyTeachingPartner-Math and Science are prekindergarten instructional curricula that make use of student-centered, structured inquiry in math and science. Topics addressed in the curricula include numbers, operations, geometry, measurement, life science, earth science, and physical science. Teachers were expected to offer two activities each week from the MyTeachingPartner-Math curriculum and two activities from the MyTeachingPartner-Science curriculum. Each activity had an expected class duration of 15-20 minutes. Each activity also had a four-step inquiry format, and teachers were provided with an activity script, questions, adaptations, and extensions for each activity. These activities were offered for 33 weeks across the school year. Activities were offered in whole-class or small-group format with additional weekly activity centers alternating between a math center and a science center each week. Classroom activities were supplemented with activity manipulatives and with preschool-appropriate books that highlighted math and science topics. The study did not describe whether teachers implemented all the activities for the planned amount of time.
Students in the comparison group received business-as-usual preschool instruction in math and science, which was the HighScope preschool curriculum. Other math and science activities in classrooms were informed by the state preschool learning standards. Comparison teachers may have participated in other business-as-usual training and professional development offered by their schools or school districts. Supplemental findings compare the enhanced MyTeachingPartner-Math and Science Plus Teacher Support to the basic version of MyTeachingPartner-Math and Science without additional teacher support.
Support for implementation
Teachers in the intervention condition received enhanced implementation supports that may not be provided with the basic MyTeachingPartner-Math and Science curricula. These included a full day workshop prior to the 2009-10 school year, and seven 2.5 hour professional development workshops. In total, these activities provided up to 24 hours of professional learning for teachers. Teachers could access additional instructional supports online, including demonstration videos and brief teaching tip sheets. Additional materials were also embedded within the curricula and included support for asking open-ended questions, activity scripts, activity extensions, and strategies to differentiate activities for different student ability levels.