Trending Topic Research File: Early Education
Trending Topic Research File: Early Education
 
Early Education
Print

Trending Topic Research File

Early education, including preschool, prekindergarten, and programs such as Head Start, is a robust area of education research. In recent years, AERA’s journals - through research articles, essays, and book reviews and responses - have examined many aspects of the early education, including:

  • Curricular and instructional models
  • Effect on reading and math skills
  • Persistence of effects

The following compendium of open-access articles are inclusive of all substantive AERA journal content regarding early education published since 2004. This page will be updated as new articles are published. 

AERA Journal Articles

Note: Articles are listed below in reverse chronological order of publication.

Finding Rigor Within a Large-Scale Expansion of Preschool to Test Impacts of a Professional Development Program
Natalia M. Rojas, Pamela Morris, Amudha Balaraman
AERA Open, December 2020.
This study aims to examine the impact of investments in PD within the context of an expansion of universal preschool in one of the nation’s largest school districts.

Elusive Longer-Run Impacts of Head Start: Replications Within and Across Cohorts
Remy Pages, Dylan J. Lukes, Drew H. Bailey, Greg J. Duncan
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, August 2020.
This study replicated and extended Deming’s evaluation of Head Start’s life cycle skill formation impacts in three ways.

Can Center-Based Care Reduce Summer Slowdown Prior to Kindergarten? Exploring Variation by Family Income, Race/Ethnicity, and Dual Language Learner Status
Meghan P. McCormick, Mirjana Pralica, Paola Guerrero-Rosada, Christina Weiland, JoAnn Hsueh, Barbara Condliffe, Jason Sachs, Catherine Snow
American Educational Research Journal, July 2020.
Researchers found that growth in skills slowed during summer for all children, but the patterns varied by domain and group.

Exploring the Impacts of an Early Childhood Educational Intervention on Later School Selection
Tyler Watts, Deanna Ibrahim, Alaa Khader, Chen Li, Jill Gandhi, Cybele Raver
Educational Researcher, June 2020.
Researchers found that adolescents who participated in an early childhood educational intervention program were more likely to opt out of their assigned neighborhood school and attend schools with better indicators of academic performance.

Trends in Children’s Academic Skills at School Entry: 2010 to 2017
Megan Kuhfeld, James Soland, Christine Pitts, Margaret Burchinal
Educational Researcher, June 2020.
Researchers found that kindergarteners in 2017 had moderately lower math and reading skills than in 2010, but that inequalities at school entry by race/ethnicity and school poverty level have decreased during this period.

Helping Parents Navigate the Early Childhood Education Enrollment Process: Experimental Evidence From New Orleans
Lindsay Weixler, Jon Valant, Daphna Bassok, Justin B. Doromal, Alica Gerry
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, June 2020.
Researchers found that text message reminders increased verification rates by seven percentage points (regardless of tone) and that personalized messages increased enrollment rates for some groups.

A Meta-Analytic Review of Preschool Social and Emotional Learning Interventions
Dana Murano, Jeremy E. Sawyer, Anastasiya A. Lipnevich
Review of Educational Research, March 2020.
Researchers found that preschool children benefit from social and emotional learning interventions in different contexts, particularly children who are identified as being in need of early intervention.

Using Escribo Play Video Games to Improve Phonological Awareness, Early Reading, and Writing in Preschool
Americo N. Amorim, Lieny Jeon, Yolanda Abel, Eduardo F. Felisberto, Leopoldo N. F. Barbosa, Natália Martins Dias
Educational Researcher, March 2020.
Researchers found that the experimental classrooms that used the 20 games in a game-enhanced educational program for 3 months gained 68% in their reading scores compared to control classrooms.

Preschool Mathematics Intervention Can Significantly Improve Student Learning Trajectories Through Elementary School
Denis Dumas, Daniel McNeish, Julie Sarama, Douglas Clements
AERA Open, October 2019.
Researchers found that students who receive a short-term intervention in preschool exhibit significantly steeper growth curves as they approach their eventual skill level.

Digital or Print? A Comparison of Preschoolers’ Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Engagement From a Print Book and an e-Book
Stephanie M. Reich, Joanna C. Yau, Ying Xu, Tallin Muskat, Jessica Uvalle, Daniela Cannata
AERA Open, September 2019.
Researchers found that e-books offer many, but not all, of the same educational affordance as print books.

The Effects of Full-Day Prekindergarten: Experimental Evidence of Impacts on Children’s School Readiness
Allison Atteberry, Daphna Bassok, Vivian C. Wong
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, September 2019.
Researchers found that the full-day pre-K offer produced substantial, positive effects on children’s receptive vocabulary skills and teacher-reported measures of cognition, literacy, math, physical, and socioemotional development.

The Moderating Effect of Neighborhood Poverty on Preschool Effectiveness: Evidence From the Tennessee Voluntary Prekindergarten Experiment
Francis A. Pearman, II
American Educational Research Journal, September 2019.
The study found that pre-K had no measurable impact on children’s third-grade math achievement regardless of children’s neighborhood conditions. However, pre-K significantly improved third-grade reading achievement for children living in high-poverty neighborhoods.

Are All Head Start Classrooms Created Equal? Variation in Classroom Quality Within Head Start Centers and Implications for Accountability Systems
Terri J. Sabol, Emily C. Ross, Allison Frost
American Educational Research Journal, July 2019.
Researchers found that average center-level quality was not related to children’s development. However, differences in within-center classroom instructional quality were related to children’s academic and social skills.

Educational and Fun? Parent Versus Preschooler Perceptions and Co-Use of Digital and Print Media
Gabrielle A. Strouse, Lisa A. Newland, Daniel J. Mourlam
AERA Open, July 2019.
This study highlighted a contrast between how parents and children view media and suggests that parents might better facilitate children’s digital media use by creating more interactive digital media co-use opportunities.

A Digital Early Spelling Game: The Role of Auditory and Visual Support
Adi Elimelech, Dorit Aram
AERA Open, June 2019.
Researchers found that a digital game can help preschoolers progress in their spelling skills without the support of an adult. Auditory support is important, and the visual support significantly adds to children’s spelling performance.

Exploring Associations Between Playgroup Attendance and Early Childhood Development at School Entry in Australia: A Cross-Sectional Population-Level Study
Alanna Sincovich, Tess Gregory, Yasmin Harman-Smith, Sally Anne Brinkman
American Educational Research Journal, June 2019.
Researchers found that children who attended playgroup had better development at school entry relative to those who had not attended playgroup.

Motion and Sound in Animated Storybooks for Preschoolers’ Visual Attention and Mandarin Language Learning: An Eye-Tracking Study With Bilingual Children
He Sun, Jieying Loh, Adam Charles Roberts
AERA Open, May 2019.
Researchers found that children in the animated condition outperform their counterparts in total fixation duration, target word production, and storytelling of one of the stories.

Participation in Georgia’s Pre-K as a Predictor of Third-Grade Standardized Test Scores
Diane M. Early, Weilin Li, Kelly L. Maxwell, Bentley D. Ponder
AERA Open, May 2019.
Researchers found that among children enrolled in free or reduced-price lunch, participation in Georgia’s Pre-K was associated with higher test scores and greater likelihood of scoring proficient or above; however, the opposite was true for children not enrolled in free or reduced-price lunch.

Evaluating the Efficacy of a Learning Trajectory for Early Shape Composition
Douglas H. Clements, Julie Sarama, Arthur J. Baroody, Candace Joswick, Christopher B. Wolfe
American Educational Research Journal, April 2019.
Researchers evaluated a hypothesis of learning trajectories that instruction should be presented (only) one learning trajectory level beyond a child’s present level in the domain of early shape composition.

Forestalling Preschool Expulsion: A Mixed-Method Exploration of the Potential Protective Role of Teachers’ Perceptions of Parents
Courtney A. Zulauf, Katherine M. Zinsser
American Educational Research Journal, March 2019.
Researchers found that teachers who had more negative perceptions of parents and perceived less center support working with parents were more likely to have requested a removal of a child in the past year.

Is Teacher Qualification Associated With the Quality of the Early Childhood Education and Care Environment? A Meta-Analytic Review
Matthew Manning, Gabriel T. W. Wong, Christopher M. Fleming, Susanne Garvis
Review of Educational Research, March 2019.
Researchers found that higher teacher qualifications are significantly correlated with higher quality ECEC environments.

Impact of a Parent Text Messaging Program on Pre-Kindergarteners’ Literacy Development
Sonia Q. Cabell, Tricia A. Zucker, Jamie DeCoster, Stefanie B. Copp, Susan Landry
AERA Open, February 2019.
Researchers found that children entering the school year with higher skill levels benefited from a language/literacy text messaging program while those with lower initial skill levels benefited from a health/well-being text messaging program.

Classroom Quality, Classroom Composition, and Age at Entry: Experiences in Early Childhood Education and Care and Single and Dual Language Learners’ German Vocabulary
Katharina Kohl, Jessica A. Willard, Alexandru Agache, Lilly-Marlen Bihler, Birgit Leyendecker
AERA Open, February 2019.
Researchers found that classroom process quality predicted German vocabulary only for DLLs with low exposure to German in the family.

Advanced Content Coverage at Kindergarten: Are There Trade-Offs Between Academic Achievement and Social-Emotional Skills?
Vi-Nhuan Le, Diana Schaack, Kristen Neishi, Marc W. Hernandez, Rolf Blank
American Educational Research Journal, January 2019.
Researchers found that greater exposure to advanced content was associated with better interpersonal skills, better approaches to learning, better attentional focus, and lower externalizing behaviors.

Are Content-Specific Curricula Differentially Effective in Head Start or State Prekindergarten Classrooms?
Tutrang Nguyen, Jade Marcus Jenkins, Anamarie Auger Whitaker
AERA Open, June 2018.
Researchers found that children in both Head Start and public pre-K classrooms benefit from targeted, content-specific curricula.

New Findings on Impact Variation From the Head Start Impact Study: Informing the Scale-Up of Early Childhood Programs
Pamela A. Morris, Maia Connors, Allison Friedman-Krauss, Dana Charles McCoy, Christina Weiland, Avi Feller, Lindsay Page, Howard Bloom, Hirokazu Yoshikawa
AERA Open, April 2018.
Researchers found that the topline Head Start Impact Study results of Head Start’s average impacts mask substantial variation in its effectiveness and that one key source of that variation was in the counterfactual experiences and the context of Head Start sites.

State Prekindergarten Effects on Early Learning at Kindergarten Entry: An Analysis of Eight State Programs
W. Steven Barnett, Kwanghee Jung, Allison Friedman-Krauss, Ellen C. Frede, Milagros Nores, Jason T. Hustedt, Carollee Howes, Marijata Daniel-Echols
AERA Open, March 2018.
The study finds differences in effect sizes of eight state-funded pre-K programs and suggests that pre-K programs should attend more to enhancing learning beyond simple literacy skills.

Are Parents’ Ratings and Satisfaction With Preschools Related to Program Features?
Daphna Bassok, Anna J. Markowitz, Daniel Player, Michelle Zagardo
AERA Open, March 2018.
Researchers found little correspondence between parents’ evaluations of program characteristics and any external measures of those same characteristics.

Classroom Age Composition and Preschoolers’ School Readiness: The Implications of Classroom Quality and Teacher Qualifications
Kelly M. Purtell, Arya Ansari
AERA Open, February 2018.
Researchers found that the association between age composition and children’s academic skills was dependent on classroom quality and that classroom quality was less predictive of children’s skills in mixed-age classrooms.

Will Public Pre-K Really Close Achievement Gaps? Gaps in Prekindergarten Quality Between Students and Across States
Rachel Valentino
American Educational Research Journal, September 2017.
Researchers found large “quality gaps” in public pre-K between poor, minority students and non-poor, non-minority students.

A Meta-Analysis of Class Sizes and Ratios in Early Childhood Education Programs: Are Thresholds of Quality Associated With Greater Impacts on Cognitive, Achievement, and Socioemotional Outcomes?
Jocelyn Bonnes Bowne, Katherine A. Magnuson, Holly S. Schindler, Greg J. Duncan, Hirokazu Yoshikawa
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, February 2017.
Researchers found that both class size and child–teacher ratio showed nonlinear relationships with cognitive and achievement effect sizes.

Natural Window of Opportunity? Low-Income Parents’ Responses to Their Children’s Impending Kindergarten Entry
Christina Weiland, Dana Charles McCoy, Elizabeth Grace, Soojin Oh Park
AERA Open, January 2017.
Researchers found that low-income parents react to the impending kindergarten transition by increasing their provision of parent–child language and literacy activities but not related materials.

Kids Today: The Rise in Children’s Academic Skills at Kindergarten Entry
Daphna Bassok, Scott Latham
Educational Researcher, January 2017.
Researchers found that students in the more recent cohort entered kindergarten with stronger math and literacy skills.

Preschool Curricula and Professional Dvelopment Features for Getting to High-Quality Implementation at scale: A Comparative Review Across Five Trials
Christina Weiland, Meghan McCormick, Shira Mattera, Michelle Maier, Pamela Morris
AERA Open, March 2018.
Researchers performed a cross-study review across five diverse large-scale evaluations to identify common features that have characterized successful implementations of the "strongest hope" model for improving instructional quality in large-scale public preschool programs.

Estimating the Consequences of Norway's National Scale-Up of Early Childhood Education and Care (Beginning in Infancy) for Early Language Skills
Eric Dearing, Henrik Zachrisson, Arnstein Mykletun, Claudio Toppelberg
AERA Open, February 2018.
Researchers investigated the consequences of Norway's universal early childhood education and care (ECEC) scale-up for children's early language skills, exploiting variation in ECEC coverage across birth cohots and municipalities in a population-based sample.

Public Preferences for Targeted and Universal Preschool
Erica H. Greenberg
AERA Open, January 2018.
Researchers examined a nationally representative poll of preferences for targeted and universal preschool. 

Impact of In-Service Professional Development Programs for Early Childhood Teachers on Quality Ratings and Child Outcomes: A Meta-analysis
Franziska Egert, Ruben G. Fukkink, Andrea G. Eckhardt
Reveiw of Educational Research, January 2018.
Reachers summarized findings from (quasi)-experimental studies that evaluated in-service training effects for ECEC professionals on external quality ratings and child development.

Impacts of Early Childhood Education on Medium- and Long-Term Educational Outcomes
Dana McCoy, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Greg Duncan, Holly Schindler, Katherine Magnuson, Rui Yang, Andrew Koepp, Jack Shonkoff
Educational Researcher, November 2017.
Reachers use meta-analysis of 22 high-quality experimental and quasi-experimental studies conducted between 1960 and 2016 to find that on average, participation in early childhood education (ECE) leads to statistically significant reductions in special education place and grade retention. 

Will Public Pre-K Really Close Achievement Gaps? Gaps in Prekindergarten Quality Between Students and Across States?
Rachel Valentino
American Educational Research Journal, September 2017.
Reachers found large "quality gaps" in public pre-K between poor, minority students and non-poor, non-minority students, ranging from 0.3 to 0.7 SD on a range of classroom observational measures. 

Head Start at Ages 3 and 4 Versus Head Start Followed by State Pre-K: Which is more Effective?
George Farkas, Greg Duncan, Margaret Burchinal, Deborah Lowe Vandell
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis June 2016
Analyzing data from two nationally representative kindergarten cohort, researchers examined the mathematics content teachers cover in kindergarten. 

Mathematics Content Coverage and Student Learning in Kindergarten
Mimi Engel, Amy Claessens, Tyler Watts, George Farkas
Educational Research, June 2016.
Analyzing data from two nationally representative kindergarten cohort, researchers examined the mathematics content teachers cover in kindergarten. 

Trends in Income-Related Gaps in Enrollment in Early Childhood Education: 1968 to 2013
Katherine Magnuson, Jane Waldfogel
AERA Open, May 2016.
Researchers used data from the 1968-2013 October current Population Survey to document trends in 3- and 4-year-old children's enrollment in center-based early childhood education, focusing on gaps in enrollment among children from low-,middle-,and high-income families.

Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?
Daphna Bassok, Scott Latham, Anna Rorem
AERA Open, January 2016.
Researchers compare public school kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010 using two large, nationally representative data sets. 

Science Achievement Gaps Begin Very Early, Persist, and Are Largely Explained by Modifiable Factors
Paul L. Morgan, George Farkas, Marianne M. Hillemeier, Steve Maczuga
Educational Researcher, January 2016.
Researchers examined the age of onset, overt-time dynamics, and mechisms underlying science achievement gaps in U.S. elementary and middle schools. 

Early Grade Teacher Effectiveness and Pre-K Effect Persistence
Walker A. Swain, Matthew G. Springer, Kerry G. Hofer
AERA Open ,December 2015.
Authors found a positive interaction between teaching quality and state pre-K exposure through comparing student-level data from a statewide pre-K experiment with records of teacher observation scores.

Impact of North Carolina’s Early Childhood Initiatives on Special Education Placements in Third Grade
Clara G. Muschkin, Helen F. Ladd, Kenneth A. Dodge
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, December 2015.
Research found that access to state-supported early childhood programs significantly reduces the likelihood that children will be placed in special education in the third grade, academically benefiting students and resulting in considerable cost savings to school districts.

Assessing Approaches to Learning in School Readiness
Otilia C. Barbu, David B. Yaden, Deborah Levine-Donnerstein, Ronald W. Marx
AERA Open, July 2015.
Results of this study indicated an overlap of 55% to 72% variance between the domains of the psychometric properties of the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA) and a 13-item approach to learning rating scale (AtL) derived from the Arizona Early Learning Standards (AELS).

Head Start at Ages 3 and 4 Versus Head Start Followed by State Pre-K: Which Is More Effective?
Jade Marcus Jenkins, George Farkas, Greg J. Duncan, Margaret Burchinal, Deborah Lowe Vandell
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, July 2015.
Researchers found that children attending Head Start at age 3 develop stronger pre-reading skills in a high-quality pre-kindergarten at age 4 compared with attending Head Start at age 4.

What’s Past Is Prologue: Relations Between Early Mathematics Knowledge and High School Achievement
Tyler W. Watts, Greg J. Duncan, Robert S. Siegler, Pamela E. Davis-Kean
Education Researcher, September 2014.
Researchers found that preschool mathematics ability predicts mathematics achievement through age 15, even after accounting for early reading, cognitive skills, and family and child characteristics but that growth in mathematical ability between age 54 months and first grade is an even stronger predictor of adolescent mathematics achievement.

Academic Content, Student Learning, and the Persistence of Preschool Effects
Amy Claessens, Mimi Engel, F. Chris Curran
American Educational Research Journal, November 2013.
Using nationally representative data, the authors examine the association between reading and mathematics, finding that children benefit from exposure to advanced content regardless of whether they attended preschool.

What Do Early Childhood Programs Do? What Could They Do?
Timothy J. Bartik 
Educational Researcher, January/February 2012.
This review of Childhood Programs and Practices in the First Decade of Life: A Human Capital Integration (Arthur J. Reynolds, Arthur J. Rolnick, Michelle M. Englund, Judy A. Temple) notes that the book provides a vast amount of information in early childhood programs and their benefits, but that a synthesis giving policy makers a clear menu of choice is missing.

An Integrated Curriculum to Improve Mathematics, Language, and Literacy for Head Start Children
John W. Fantuzzo, Vivian L. Gadsden, Paul A. McDermott
American Educational Research Journal, June 2011.
Two curriculum programs – Evidence-Based Programs for Integrated Curricula (EPIC), which focuses on comprehensive mathematics, language, and literacy skills, and the Developmental Learning Materials Early Childhood Express – produced significant growth rates in literacy for students in Head Start classrooms.

The Effects of Vocabulary Intervention on Young Children’s Word Learning: A Meta-Analysis
Loren M. Marulis, Susan B. Neuman
Review of Educational Research, September 2010.
Researchers found that although they may improve oral language skills, vocabulary interventions even in the preschool and kindergarten years are not sufficiently powerful to close the gap between middle- and upper-income and at-risk children.

Where is NELP Leading Preschool Literacy Instruction? Potential Positives and Pitfalls
William H. Teale, Kathleen A. Paciga
Educational Researcher, May 2010.
This article argues that the influences of the National Early Literacy Panel (NELP 2008) report on prekindergarten and kindergarten classroom instructional practice is both insufficiently clear and overly narrow with respect to what preschool teachers should be focusing on instructionally in early literary.

Interactive Book Reading in Early Education: A Tool to Stimulate Print Knowledge as Well as Oral Language
Suzanne E. Mol, Adriana G. Bus, Maria T. de Jong
Review of Education Research, June 2009.
This study of preschool and kindergarten classrooms examines to what extent interactive storybook reading stimulates vocabulary and print knowledge, the two pillars of learning to read, finding implications that both quality and frequency of book reading in classrooms and are important.

Fostering High-Quality Teaching with an Enriched Curriculum and Professional Development Support: The Head Start REDI Program
American Educational Research Journal, June 2009.
The results of this randomized controlled trial test of lead and assistant Head Start teachers supported the conclusion that enriched curriculum components and professional development support can produce improvements in multiple domains of teaching quality.
Authors: Celene E. Domitrovich, Scott D. Gest, Sukhdeep Gill, Karen L. Bierman, Janet A. Welsh, Damon Jones

A Response to “Where I Stand on Standardization” by Lilian G. Katz and to “‘Are We Getting it Right?’ The Controversy Over Universal Pre-K” by Susan B. Neuman
W. Steven Barnett
Educational Researcher, January 2009.
Reviewer Barnett compares and contrasts the opinions of other reviewers and reiterates his concerns about the facts presented in  Standardized Childhood: The Political and Cultural Struggle Over Early Education (Bruce Stanford).

A Response to “Where I Stand on Standardization” by Lilian G. Katz and to “Misplaced Fears: Fact and Fancy in Standardized Childhood by W. Steven Barnett
Susan B. Neuman
Educational Researcher, January 2009.
In response to colleagues’ more negative reviews of Standardized Childhood: The Political and Cultural Struggle Over Early Education (Bruce Stanford), Neuman applauds Fuller’s willingness to be controversial and raise questions about resolving problems in early education.

Misplaced Fears: Fact and Fancy in Standardized Childhood
W. Steven Barnett
Educational Researcher, January 2009.
This review of Standardized Childhood: The Political and Cultural Struggle Over Early Education (Bruce Stanford) focuses on errors the reviewer finds in the research literature and in the book’s claims about early education costs and benefits.

“Are We Getting it Right?” The Controversy Over Universal Pre-K
Susan B. Neuman
Educational Researcher, January 2009.
This review of Standardized Childhood: The Political and Cultural Struggle Over Early Education (Bruce Stanford) considers the book one of the most thorough and thought-provoking analyses of the struggle over early education.

Where I Stand on Standardization
Lilian G. Katz
Educational Researcher, January 2009.
This review of Standardized Childhood: The Political and Cultural Struggle Over Early Education (Bruce Stanford) finds the book to be a rich although confusing exploration of the issues involved in the universal availability of preschool education.

Experimental Evaluation of the Effects of a Research-Based Preschool Mathematics Curriculum
Douglas H. Clements, Julie Sarama
American Educational Research Journal, June 2008.
Early interventions were found to help preschoolers develop a foundation of mathematics knowledge in this randomized-trails study of thirty-six preschool classrooms’ use of a comprehensive model of research-based curricula development.

Early Education Policy Alternatives: Comparing Quality and Outcomes of Head Start and State Prekindergarten
Gary T. Henry, Craig S. Gordon, Dana K. Rickman
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, March 2006.
This study finds that a group of children who were eligible for Head Start but attended state prekindergarten were at least as well prepared as similar children who attended Head Start.

Updating the Economic Impacts of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program
Milagros Nores, Clive R. Belfield, W. Steven Barnett, Lawrence Schweinhart 
Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, September 2005.
This cost-benefit ratio for the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program, an intensive preschool intervention for at-risk children in Ypsilanti, Michigan, renders outcomes such as educational attainment, earnings, criminal activity, and welfare receipt in money terms.

Inequality in Preschool Education and School Readiness
Katherine A. Magnuson, Marcia K. Meyers, Christopher J. Ruhm, Jane Waldfogel
American Education Research Journal, March 2004.
Controlling for family background and other factors, this study found that children who attended a center or school-based preschool program the year before entering kindergarten performed better on assessments of reading and math skills.

 
Designed by Weber-Shandwick   Powered by eNOAH