Conducted by the University of Washington in partnership with DEL, the purpose of the Early Achievers Standards Validation Study was to examine how Early Achievers’ quality standards are related to outcomes for children, and to help inform potential adjustments to the Early Achievers quality rating and improvement system.
More about the study:
· Only a handful of states have attempted this kind of evaluation. Washington is once again leading the nation!
· The sample size is approximately 100 sites and 761 children ages 8 months to 71 months.
· Data for this evaluation were collected in 2014 and 2015.
· Children from low income households start out, on average, performing lower than those in higher income families.
· Infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children make greater gains in sites with higher-level Early Achievers ratings than in sites with lower ratings across a range of outcomes, including language and fine motor development, even after controlling for other factors that influence educational achievement.
· Specific components of Early Achievers scoring show that we’re on the right track.
o Measures of instructional support, classroom organization, and emotional support are associated with gains in language, early math, and early writing among pre-school children.
o Measures of supportive learning environment are associated with gains in skills needed for language, cognitive, and social-emotional development among infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children.
· A majority of teachers and directors participating in the evaluation reported being satisfied/very satisfied with the Early Achievers rating process, and most reported positive changes in program practices since enrollment in Early Achievers.
Recommendations for the future:
- More professional development opportunities should be available, including professional development in supporting dual language learners, positive behavior supports (reduce expulsion) and support for provider well-being.
- Continue to and increase support for implementation of research-based curricula including training and coaching to fidelity.
- Environmental Rating Scale—improve the scoring system so that providers receive points for all eligible elements of quality.
- Consider ways to streamline data collection and data entry in the Early Achievers rating process. Provide ongoing evaluation of Early Achievers and quality standards related to child outcomes.