State Evaluation

Evaluating Indiana’s Publicly-Funded Preschool Pilot

With close to 255,000 preschool-aged children in Indiana, it is critical to have data to guide the decisions made on their behalf. The Early Childhood Center's (ECC) three-year commitment to preschool children, teachers, administrators and the state funders yielded information that could be used to make decisions for the future of Indiana's young children.

In 2014 the ECC embarked on a state-wide evaluation of the Early Education Matching Grant (EEMG), Indiana's pilot effort to fund early education for 4-year old children of families living in poverty,.

The Early Childhood Center (ECC) team evaluated the efforts of the EEMG in four areas research tells us are important factors for successful early childhood education: children's gains in learning; social behavioral functioning; family engagement; and classroom quality.

Preschool teacher helping upset students.

A total of 870 randomly selected children in a total of approximately 100 classrooms were evaluated at the beginning and end of each of three program years using a variety of evidence-based standardized instruments which assessed not only academic and school readiness skills, but also teachers' assessment of child skills and the families' perceptions of their child's social behavioral functioning. Classroom quality was measured in the fall and the spring using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). Feedback was shared with the classroom teachers including a brief technical assistance session highlighting potential areas for improved practice. ECC staff supported families and programs to fill out measures of family engagement. Finally, a follow-up survey of kindergarten teachers addressing some children's progress during their kindergarten year, and kindergarten retention data completed the evaluation process.