About the Strengthening the Early Education Continuum Alliance
Alliance members from Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are working together to improve early education and outcomes for the youngest students in the Mid-Atlantic region by strengthening the quality, alignment, and interpretability of data from birth through grade 3.
Strengthening the Early Education Research Alliance
Planned and ongoing activities
The REL will provide coaching to Delaware staff on recommendations to improve early childhood teacher education and compensation, as well as the successes and challenges other states have had implementing education and compensation initiatives.
The REL conducted a systematic evidence review on the effectiveness of play as a teaching practice for young children in pre-kindergarten through third grade using the ESSA non-regulatory framework for evidence. Read more here.
The REL coordinated and collaborated with staff from the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning to (1) determine what constitutes a strong or weak evaluation study according to the ESSA framework for evidence, and (2) identify existing evidence on the effectiveness of play as a teaching strategy for young children, communicate the evidence to school leaders and teachers, and determine prospects for expanding the evidence on the effectiveness of teaching strategies of interest. Read the memo here.
The REL conducted a study for the MSDE to address a critical need to better understand its schools’ contributions to student learning in the early elementary grades as a part of its accountability system under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The early grades lay an important foundation for students’ future academic success. Yet, as is the case for nearly every state, MSDE lacks a measure of how well its schools are supporting the academic growth of its youngest students, from kindergarten to grade 3. A K–3 school-level growth measure was estimated and examined. The research team identified some concerns about the measure’s validity and precision that suggest it should be used for accountability with caution. Other key report findings include:
- The overall Kindergarten Readiness Assessment score performs about as well in predicting grade 3 achievement as combinations of kindergarten readiness subscores.
- Schools’ grade K–3 growth estimates are likely less valid than schools’ grade 3–4 growth estimates but have a similar level of precision.
- K–3 growth estimates are more precise for larger schools than for smaller ones.
- Administering the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment to a subset of students in each classroom (as opposed to all students) greatly reduces the precision of schools’ K–3 growth estimates.
Using kindergarten entry assessments to measure whether Philadelphia’s students are on-track for reading proficiently (284 KB)
The REL developed a fact sheet summarizing our work with the School District of Philadelphia on school readiness indicators.
REL Mid-Atlantic partnered with the School District of Philadelphia (SDP), the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning to develop an indicator of school readiness at kindergarten entry that could measure intermediate progress towards Philadelphia's goal of increasing the percentage of grade 4 students who can read on grade level by 2020. Key report findings include:
- Higher Kindergarten Entry Inventory scores predicted grade 3 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment proficiency
- The study identified a threshold that accurately predicted the actual grade 3 proficiency rate
Delaware is working to refine its quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) for early childhood care and education settings to ensure consistency in quality within each level, distinguish quality between levels, and ensure the validity of the ratings. This workshop provided research-based coaching to inform the QRIS redesign efforts and changes to its tiered reimbursement structure. The workshop discussed research evidence to inform decisions about the issues with which the redesign team is grappling and provide information on the experiences other states face in modifying their QRIS. View the archived event resources to view recordings from the workshop presentations.
- Assess the extent of chronic absenteeism in the early grades and its association with other school outcomes, and identify evidence-based strategies to reduce absenteeism.
- Use assessments from pre-kindergarten through grade 3 to better understand students' achievement levels, support needed, and learning growth.
What Our Stakeholders Are Saying
The Value of the Go-Learn-Grow Toolkit on Improving Absenteeism in the Early Grades
- Dr. Robin Moore, Principal at Roland Rogers Elementary School, Vice President of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and a REL Mid-Atlantic Governing Board member
Building Blocks: How One State is Working to Measure and Improve Schools’ Contributions to Early Learning
Mon Mar 02 2020
Measuring Whether Kindergarteners Are On-Track for Reading Proficiently
Mon Feb 03 2020
Advancing the Field: Improving Education and Compensation for Early Childhood Education Teachers
Mon Jan 07 2019
States and Districts Can Make Greater Use of Kindergarten Assessments to Understand Students’ Knowledge, Skills, and Growth
Mon Jul 02 2018
Measure and Learn: Combatting Chronic Absenteeism in the Early Grades (Part 2)
Mon May 07 2018
Missing School and the Risk of Falling Behind: Chronic Absenteeism in the Early Grades (Part 1)
Mon Apr 23 2018
|Name||Title||Organizational affiliation||Organization location|
|Pamala Alfaro||Education Associate||Delaware Department of Education||Delaware|
|Grace Becica||Education Program Development Specialist||New Jersey Department of Education||New Jersey|
|Jenny Bogoni||Executive Director - Read by 4th Campaign||School District of Philadelphia||Pennsylvania|
|Nicolae Borota||Manager, Division of Early Childhood Education||New Jersey Department of Education||New Jersey|
|Diane Castelbuono||Deputy Chief, Office of Early Childhood Education||School District of Philadelphia||Pennsylvania|
|John Fisher-Klein||Education Associate||Delaware Department of Education||Delaware|
|Monica Gant||Chief Academic Officer, Academic Support||Delaware Department of Education||Delaware|
|Caitlin Gleason||Education Associate||Delaware Department of Education||Delaware|
|Tonya Hall-Coston||Director, Division of Early Childhood Education and Family Engagement||New Jersey Department of Education||New Jersey|
|Kathy Kelly||Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development||Delaware Department of Education||Delaware|
|Christina Koutsourades||Education Specialist||Delaware Department of Education||Delaware|
|Kimberly Krzanowski||Executive Director||Delaware Department of Education Office of Early Learning||Delaware|
|Charlie Mitchell||Research Assessment Specialist||Maryland State Department of Education||Maryland|
|Katie Mosher||Research Specialist||School District of Philadelphia||Pennsylvania|
|Maryanne Olley||Early Education Advisor, Office of Child Development and Early Learning||Pennsylvania Department of Education||Pennsylvania|
|Eric Rodney||Education Program Development Specialist||New Jersey Department of Education||New Jersey|
|Kristyn Stewart||Senior Research Associate||School District of Philadelphia||Pennsylvania|
|Manuel Torres||Research Scientist||New Jersey Department of Education||New Jersey|
|Judith Walker||Early Learning Branch Chief||Maryland State Department of Education||Maryland|
|Wendi Webster-O’Dell||Coordinator for Parent and Family Engagement in Student Learning||New Jersey Department of Education||New Jersey|
|Barry Wiestling||Early Childhood Education Advisor||Pennsylvania Department of Human Services||Pennsylvania|
|Deborah Wise||Chief, Bureau of Early Learning Services||Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning||Pennsylvania|