WWC review of this study

Chapter 3: Creative Curriculum: University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In Effects of preschool curriculum programs on school readiness (pp. 55–64). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U. S. Department of Education.

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 
    171
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: November 2013

Meets WWC standards with reservations


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 54%
    Male: 46%
  • Race
    Black
    85%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    8%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    92%

Reviewed: March 2013

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
General Mathematics Achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Building Blocks Shape Composition Task

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. teacher-developed, nonspecific curricula

Posttest

preschool children;
169 students

1.42

1.25

No

--
More Outcomes

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

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. teacher-developed, nonspecific curricula

Posttest

preschool children;
169 students

94.07

89.45

No

--

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

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. teacher-developed, nonspecific curricula

Posttest

preschool children;
170 students

0.42

0.44

No

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

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III (PPVT-III)

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. teacher-developed, nonspecific curricula

Posttest

preschool children;
165 students

86.64

85.42

No

--
More Outcomes

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

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. teacher-developed, nonspecific curricula

Posttest

preschool children;
169 students

7.70

8.44

No

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

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

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. teacher-developed, nonspecific curricula

Posttest

preschool children;
171 students

8.38

8.19

No

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

Test of Early Reading Ability III (TERA-III)

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. teacher-developed, nonspecific curricula

Posttest

preschool children;
170 students

85.81

86.39

No

--
More Outcomes

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

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. teacher-developed, nonspecific curricula

Posttest

preschool children;
169 students

99.87

101.74

No

--

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

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, Fourth Edition vs. teacher-developed, nonspecific curricula

Posttest

preschool children;
169 students

87.39

91.95

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 54%
    Male: 46%
    • B
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    Georgia, North Carolina
  • Race
    Black
    85%
    White
    3%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    8%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    92%

Setting

The study was conducted in 18 full-day Head Start preschool classrooms in five Head Start centers (two centers with 10 classrooms in Georgia and three centers with eight classrooms in North Carolina).

Study sample

This randomized controlled study, conducted during the 2003–04 and 2004–05 school years, included an intervention group that implemented The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool and a comparison group that used teacher-developed curricula with a focus on basic school readiness. The specific features of the comparison curricula are not described in the PCER Consortium (2008) study (Chapter 3). Both teachers and children were randomized within the centers. In 2002–03, the pilot year of the study, 20 teachers (10 in Georgia and 10 in North Carolina) were grouped by education and teacher certification status and then randomly assigned within each group to intervention or comparison conditions. Each of the five participating Head Start centers included both The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool and comparison classrooms. At the end of the pilot year, researchers dropped two North Carolina classrooms because they participated in the state’s More at Four program, had degreed teachers, and had high rates of teacher attrition. In the following year, which was the national PCER evaluation year, children within each center were sorted into blocks on the basis of gender, disability status, and ethnicity, and then randomly assigned to either The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool or comparison classrooms. At baseline, the study included 18 classrooms (nine The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool and nine comparison) and 194 children (97 The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool and 97 comparison). The spring follow-up data collection included 171 children (90 The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool and 81 comparison). Overall attrition at the spring followup was 11.9%. At baseline, children in the study were 4.5 years of age on average; 46% were boys; and 85% were African American, 8% were Hispanic, and 3% were White.

Intervention Group

Teachers in the intervention group implemented The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, 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 using a Developmental Checklist. In this 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 Creative Curriculum ® for Preschool classrooms was 2.11 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 3). Comparison classrooms were rated with the same four-point fidelity scale used in The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool classrooms, which ranged from 0 to 3. The average score for the comparison classrooms using this measure was 1.5.

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

Teachers in the intervention group were in their second year of implementing the program at the time of the evaluation. The research team provided refresher training to the intervention group teachers. Four (North Carolina) or five (Georgia) training periods were provided to teachers in full- or half-day sessions so that teachers in both states received the same total amount of training. Training topics included choosing and planning in-depth study topics, providing materials and interactions for content learning, and observation-based assessment of children’s learning. Training included a mix of lecture, small group projects, video viewing, and hands-on practical applications. Technical assistance was provided to teachers throughout the school year.

 

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