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State preschool program evaluations and research

Author: Daniel Ferguson
Publication Date: June 2016

Many states with preschool programs, as well as other interested organizations and individuals, have undertaken research and evaluation efforts to improve their understanding of state preschool program implementation, results, and impacts. A 2004 review by Gilliam and Zigler examined state efforts to evaluate preschool programs from 1997 to 2003. Their definition of an evaluation required that it "focus on a state-funded prekindergarten system...[and] provide data by which program impacts on child outcomes can be reasonably estimated (even if the methods are weak), and evaluate a statewide sample" (p. 6). This Research-to-Policy Resource List provides a comprehensive list of evaluations and research in the Research Connections collection on state preschool programs identified in the 2016 NIEER state preschool yearbook. The criteria used to compile this list are broader than those used by Gilliam and Zigler; this list also includes publications that examine program quality, workforce and provider characteristics, estimates of program economic returns, and features of program service delivery. Additionally, for a publication to be included, its findings must identify which state the program is in. (author abstract)

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