WWC review of this study

Chapter 2: Bright Beginnings and Creative Curriculum: Vanderbilt University. In Effects of preschool curriculum programs on school readiness (pp. 41–54, Appendix C, and Appendix D)

Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research (PCER) Consortium (2008). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    198
     Students
    , grade
    PK
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: November 2013

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 48%
    Male: 52%
  • Race
    Black
    6%
    White
    80%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    11%
    Not Hispanic
    89%
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: March 2013

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

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

Bright Beginnings vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
198 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
More Outcomes

Child Math Assessment-Abbreviated (CMA-A) Composite score

Bright Beginnings vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
198 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Building Blocks Shape Composition Task

Bright Beginnings vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
198 students

N/A

N/A

No

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

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

Bright Beginnings vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
197 students

9.6

9.11

No

--
More Outcomes

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III (PPTV-III)

Bright Beginnings vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
195 students

96.31

93.93

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

Bright Beginnings vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
198 students

N/A

N/A

No

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

Test of Early Reading Ability III (TERA-III)

Bright Beginnings vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
198 students

N/A

N/A

No

 
 
13
More Outcomes

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

Bright Beginnings vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
198 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

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

Bright Beginnings vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Preschool children;
198 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 48%
    Male: 52%
  • Race
    Black
    7%
    White
    80%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    11%
    Not Hispanic
    89%
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Tennessee

Setting

The study was conducted in 14 full-day preschool classrooms (seven Bright Beginnings and seven comparison) in public schools from seven county school districts in Tennessee.

Study sample

This randomized controlled study, conducted during the 2003–04 and 2004–05 school years, included three groups: Bright Beginnings, The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, and a comparison group. Study authors recruited 36 full-day preschool classrooms in 28 public schools. The authors then grouped classrooms into sets of three classrooms with similar demographic characteristics (urban/rural, percentages of races other than White, percentage receiving free lunch) and achievement (reading, language, math, and science achievement scores). Within each triplet, one classroom was randomly assigned to The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, one to Bright Beginnings, and one to the comparison group. In cases where a preschool had multiple classrooms, all classrooms in a preschool were assigned to the same study condition. (Three of the preschools each included two classrooms; the remaining preschools each had one classroom.) After randomization, 21 of the 36 classrooms (seven from each of the three groups) were randomly selected to participate during the following year in the national PCER study of Bright Beginnings and The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool. All 36 classrooms participated in the local investigator’s pilot study during the first year. Following the pilot year, and prior to starting the national PCER study, eight of the 21 originally assigned classrooms dropped out of the study, leaving five Bright Beginnings, four The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, and four comparison classrooms (attrition of 29%, 43%, and 43%, respectively). The eight dropout classrooms were replaced by randomly selecting eight of the 15 classrooms that had not been selected to participate in the national PCER study, including two Bright Beginnings, three The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, and three comparison classrooms, restoring the sample of classrooms to seven in each of the three intervention groups. This study of Bright Beginnings included 14 of the 21 classrooms (seven Bright Beginnings and seven comparison, while the remaining seven were assigned to The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool) and a total of 208 children at baseline (103 Bright Beginnings and 105 comparison), while the analysis sample included 98 Bright Beginnings children and 100 comparison children. At baseline, children in the study averaged 4.5 years of age; 52% were male; and 80% were White, 11% were Hispanic, and 7% were African American. A higher percentage of parents in the comparison group reported that their child had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) relative to those assigned to Bright Beginnings (33% vs. 13%), a difference that was statistically significant, but did not exceed the 25% upper limit on acceptable baseline differences between groups that is indicated in the WWC Early Childhood Education review protocol. In this study, the Bright Beginnings intervention had been in place for a full (pilot) year when the evaluation year started. Although the PCER Consortium (2008) study used a randomized controlled trial design to assign classrooms to intervention or comparison conditions in the pilot year, the authors analyzed data from the second year of implementation, when children who had been in the classrooms at random assignment had moved to kindergarten, and a new class of children had replaced them. Thus, the study has high attrition at the child level, and for that reason, must demonstrate baseline equivalence between the intervention and comparison samples of children used in the analyses of outcomes. An author query was conducted to obtain the study data necessary to establish equivalence at baseline for one outcome measure in each domain. Study authors provided data to establish baseline equivalence of the analytic sample of children in the two groups at the end of the preschool year, but data to establish baseline equivalence at the end of kindergarten were not available.

Intervention Group

Teachers in the intervention group used the Bright Beginnings curriculum with their students. Bright Beginnings is an integrated curriculum with a focus on language and early literacy, based in part on the High/Scope® and The Creative Curriculum® models, with an added focus on skills designed to promote school literacy. Bright Beginnings includes nine curriculum units: language and literacy, mathematics, social and personal development, healthful living, scientific thinking, social studies, creative arts, physical development, and technology. In the PCER study, each classroom’s fidelity to the curriculum was rated on a four-point scale, ranging from “not at all” (0) to “high” (3). The average score for the Bright Beginnings classrooms was 1.88 on the measure.

Comparison Group

Teachers in the comparison condition did not use a specific curriculum; rather, each teacher used a variety of teacher-developed curricula with a focus on basic school readiness. The specific features of those curricula are not described in this study. Their classrooms were rated with the same fidelity measure used in the Bright Beginnings classrooms, which ranged from 0 to 3. The average score for the comparison classrooms using this measure was 2.0.

Outcome descriptions

The outcome domains assessed were oral language, print knowledge, phonological processing, and math. Oral language was assessed with the PPVT-III and the TOLD-P:3 Grammatic Understanding subtest. Print knowledge was assessed with the TERA-3, the WJ-III Letter-Word Identification subtest, and the WJ-III Spelling subtest. Phonological processing was assessed with the Pre-CTOPPP Elision subtest. Math was assessed with the WJ-III Applied Problems subtest, the CMA-A, and the Building Blocks Shape Composition task. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

Bright Beginnings was implemented in intervention schools in fall 2002 (pilot-study year) and in fall 2003 for additional teachers participating in the national PCER evaluation year. Intervention group teachers received 2.5 full days of curriculum training prior to the start of the preschool year and had access to ongoing curriculum implementation support throughout the school year. Onsite consultation to teachers was provided four times during the school year, twice by trained Tennessee staff members and twice by curriculum trainers. Consultation visits typically included a classroom observation, an opportunity for teachers to ask questions about the curriculum, and implementation feedback from the trainer. No specific additional professional development activities for comparison group teachers are described.

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: March 2013

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

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

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. None

Posttest

Preschool children;
193 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
More Outcomes

Child Math Assessment-Abbreviated (CMA-A) Composite score

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. None

Posttest

Preschool children;
193 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Building Blocks Shape Composition Task

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. None

Posttest

Preschool children;
193 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)

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. None

Posttest

Preschool children;
192 students

98.06

93.93

No

--
More Outcomes

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

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. None

Posttest

Preschool children;
193 students

9.44

9.11

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

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. None

Posttest

Preschool children;
193 students

10.34

10.38

No

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

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

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. None

Posttest

Preschool children;
193 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
More Outcomes

Test of Early Reading Ability III (TERA-III)

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. None

Posttest

Preschool children;
193 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

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

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. None

Posttest

Preschool children;
193 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 48%
    Male: 52%
  • Race
    Black
    7%
    White
    80%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    11%
    Not Hispanic
    89%
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Tennessee

Setting

The study was conducted in 14 full-day preschool classes (7 The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, 7 comparison) in public schools in seven county school districts in Tennessee.

Study sample

This randomized controlled study, conducted during the 2003–04 and 2004–05 school years, included three groups: The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Bright Beginnings, and a comparison group. Study authors recruited 36 full-day preschool classrooms in 28 public schools. The authors then blocked the classrooms into groups of three with similar composite factors for demographic characteristics (urban/rural, percentages of races other than White) and achievement (percentage receiving free lunch, reading, language, math, and science achievement scores). Within each block, one classroom was randomly assigned to The Creative Curriculum ® for Preschool, one to Bright Beginnings, and one to the comparison group. In cases where a preschool had multiple classrooms, all classrooms in a preschool were assigned to the same study condition. (Three of the preschools each included two classrooms; the remaining preschools each had one classroom.) After randomization, 21 of the 36 classrooms (seven classrooms from each of the three groups) were randomly selected to participate during the following year in the national PCER evaluation year of The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool and Bright Beginnings. Fifteen classrooms remained—these classrooms and the other 21 classrooms would participate in the local investigator’s pilot-year study during the first year. Following the pilot year, eight of the 21 classrooms originally assigned to participate in the national PCER evaluation year dropped out, leaving four The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, five Bright Beginnings, and four comparison classrooms (attrition of 43%, 29%, and 43%, respectively). These eight dropout classrooms were replaced by randomly selecting from the 15 classrooms that had not been selected to participate in the national PCER evaluation year, including two Bright Beginnings, three The Creative Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, and three comparison classrooms, restoring the sample of classrooms to seven in each of the three groups. This study of The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool included 14 of the 21 classrooms (seven The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool and seven comparison), while the remaining seven were assigned to Bright Beginnings) and a total of 206 children at baseline (101 The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool and 105 comparison), while the analysis sample included 93 The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool children and 100 comparison children. At baseline, children in the study averaged 4.5 years of age; 52% were male; and 80% were White, 11% were Hispanic, and 7% were African American. In this study, The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool intervention had been in place for a full year (the pilot year) when the evaluation year started. Although this study used a randomized controlled trial design to assign classrooms to intervention or comparison conditions in the pilot year, the authors analyzed data from the second year of implementation (national PCER evaluation year), when children who had been in the classrooms at random assignment had moved to kindergarten and a new class of children had replaced them. Thus, the study has high attrition at the child level and must demonstrate baseline equivalence between the intervention and comparison group samples of children used in the analyses of outcomes. An author query was conducted to obtain the study data necessary to establish equivalence at baseline for one outcome measure in each domain (i.e., unadjusted means and standard deviations of the outcome measures for the intervention and comparison groups). The pretest data provided for each domain were used to establish baseline equivalence for the domain. Baseline equivalence was established from the data provided by the study authors. Baseline equivalence of the analytic sample of children in the two groups at the end of kindergarten was not available, so findings from the kindergarten follow-up are not reported.

Intervention Group

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool is a comprehensive preschool curriculum for children ages 3–5. The curriculum addresses four areas of development: social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language. The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool requires the physical space of the classroom to be structured into 10 interest areas (blocks, dramatic play, toys and games, art, library, discovery, sand and water, music and movement, cooking, and computers). Curriculum content includes literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts, technology, and a focus on skills such as observing, exploring, and problem solving. Teachers conduct ongoing child assessments employing a Developmental Checklist. In this study, each classroom’s fidelity to the curriculum was rated on a four-point scale ranging from 0 (not at all) to 3 (high). The average score for The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool classrooms was 2.14 on this measure.

Comparison Group

Teachers in the comparison condition did not use a specific curriculum; rather, each teacher used a variety of teacher-developed curricula. The specific features of those curricula are not described in the PCER Consortium (2008) study (Chapter 2). The classrooms in the comparison group were rated with the same fidelity measure used in The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool classrooms, which was a four-point scale ranging from 0 to 3. The average score for the comparison classrooms using this measure was 2.0.

Outcome descriptions

The outcome domains assessed were children’s oral language, print knowledge, phonological processing, and math. Oral language was assessed with the PPVT-III and the TOLD-P:3 Grammatic Understanding subtest. Print knowledge was assessed with the TERA-3, the WJ-III Letter-Word Identification subtest, and the WJ-III Spelling subtest. Phonological processing was assessed with the Pre-CTOPPP Elision subtest. Math was assessed with the WJ-III Applied Problems subtest, the CMA-A, and the Building Blocks Shape Composition task. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool was implemented in intervention schools in fall 2002 (pilot-study year) and in fall 2003 for additional teachers participating in the intervention year. Intervention group teachers received 2.5 full days of curriculum training prior to the start of the preschool year and had access to ongoing curriculum implementation support throughout the school year. Onsite consultation to teachers was provided four times during the school year, twice by trained Tennessee staff members and twice by curriculum trainers. Consultation visits typically included a classroom observation, an opportunity for teachers to ask questions about the curriculum, and implementation feedback from the trainer. No specific additional professional development activities for comparison group teachers are described.

 

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