WWC review of this study

Effects of preschool curriculum programs on school readiness (NCER 2008-2009). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.

Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research (PCER) Consortium (2008). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED502153

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    274
     Students
    , grade
    PK
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: October 2008

Mathematics achievement outcomes—Statistically significant negative effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Shape Composition

Ready, Set, Leap!® vs. High/Scope approach

Posttest

Preschoolers;
273 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
More Outcomes

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Applied Problems subtest

Ready, Set, Leap!® vs. High/Scope approach

Posttest

Preschoolers;
251 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Child Math Assessment-Abbreviated (CMA-A) Composite

Ready, Set, Leap!® vs. High/Scope approach

Posttest

Preschoolers;
274 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
Oral language outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III (PPVT-III)

Ready, Set, Leap!® vs. High/Scope approach

Posttest

Preschoolers;
260 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
More Outcomes

Test of Language Development - Primary III (TOLD-PIII): Grammatic Understanding subtest

Ready, Set, Leap!® vs. High/Scope approach

Posttest

Preschoolers;
258 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
Phonological processing outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (Pre-CTOPPP): Elision subtest

Ready, Set, Leap!® vs. High/Scope approach

Posttest

Preschoolers;
262 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
Print knowledge outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Test of Early Reading Ability (TERA)

Ready, Set, Leap!® vs. High/Scope approach

Posttest

Preschoolers;
257 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
More Outcomes

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Spelling subtest

Ready, Set, Leap!® vs. High/Scope approach

Posttest

Preschoolers;
236 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Letter-Word Identification subtest

Ready, Set, Leap!® vs. High/Scope approach

Posttest

Preschoolers;
257 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 46%
    Male: 54%
  • Race
    Black
    79%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    20%
    Not Hispanic
    80%

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    New Jersey

Setting

The study took place in 21 full-day preschools in an urban area of New Jersey. All of the preschools in the study had National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) certification.

Study sample

Thirty-nine classrooms from 21 schools were randomly assigned either to an intervention (21 classrooms from 11 schools) or a comparison (18 classrooms from 10 schools) group. Before random assignment, schools that had similar characteristics, such as teachers’ experience, school location, or a score on a state report card, were placed in blocks. Random assignment then was conducted within each block. The study began with 286 preschool children (149 in the intervention group and 137 in the comparison group). The response rate was 96% in the fall and 92% in the spring of the prekindergarten year. At pretest, the mean age of the children in the intervention group was 4.5 years; 52% were male; 82% were African-American and 18% Hispanic. At pretest, the mean age of the children in the comparison group was 4.5 years; 57% were male; 75% were African-American and 23% Hispanic. Differences between the intervention and comparison groups on these characteristics were not statistically significant.

Intervention Group

Ready, Set, Leap!® is a prekindergarten curriculum that focuses on developing early reading skills, such as phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, and letter–sound correspondence. The curriculum is structured around 9 thematic units, each with 120 lessons plans for large- and small-group instruction. The research team used multiple sources to assess implementation of the curriculum, including coaching visits, site coordinator ratings, and class observations. This information was used to create a four-point scale of fidelity from “Not at all” (0) to “High” (3). The treatment classrooms received an average rating of 1.9.

Comparison Group

The comparison classrooms used what the study authors described as a “High/Scope approach.” According to the developer’s website (www.highscope.org), High/Scope is a flexible framework for setting up and managing a preschool classroom. “Active learning” is a central tenet of the approach in which children are encouraged to learn through direct, hands-on experiences. Adults support that learning through scaffolding and interaction, using techniques such as focusing on children’s strengths and problem solving. Implementation of the comparison curriculum was evaluated using the same procedures described for the intervention classrooms. The comparison classrooms received an average rating of 2.0 (out of 3).

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcome domains assessed were the children’s oral language, print knowledge, phonological processing, and math. Oral language was assessed with the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III (PPVT-III) and the Test of Language Development-Primary III (TOLD-P:3) Grammatic Understanding subtest. Print knowledge was assessed with the Test of Early Reading Ability-III (TERA-3), Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ III) Letter-Word Identification subtest, and the WJ III Spelling subtest. Phonological processing was assessed with the Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (Pre-CTOPPP) Elision subtest. Math was assessed with the WJ III Applied Problems subtest, the Child Math Assessment-Abbreviated (CMA-A), and the Building Blocks, Shape Composition task. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix A2.1-2.5.

Support for implementation

The intervention group teachers received four full days of training on the Ready, Set, Leap!® curriculum over the course of the year.

 

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