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

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. Click here for the list by author’s last name. 

Preschool Curricula and Professional Dvelopment Features for Getting to High-Quality Implementation at scale: A Comparative Review Across Five Trials
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.
Authors: Christina Weiland, Meghan McCormick, Shira Mattera, Michelle Maier, Pamela Morris

Estimating the Consequences of Norway's National Scale-Up of Early Childhood Education and Care (Beginning in Infancy) for Early Language Skills
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.
Authors: Eric Dearing, Henrik Zachrisson, Arnstein Mykletun, Claudio Toppelberg

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

Impact of In-Service Professional Development Programs for Early Childhood Teachers on Quality Ratings and Child Outcomes: A Meta-analysis
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.
Authors: Franziska Egert, Ruben G. Fukkink, Andrea G. Eckhardt

Impacts of Early Childhood Education on Medium- and Long-Term Educational Outcomes
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. 
Authors: Dana McCoy, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Greg Duncan, Holly Schindler, Katherine Magnuson, Rui Yang, Andrew Koepp, Jack Shonkoff

Will Public Pre-K Really Close Achievement Gaps? Gaps in Prekindergarten Quality Between Students and Across States?
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. 
Author: Rachel Valentino

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

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

Trends in Income-Related Gaps in Enrollment in Early Childhood Education: 1968 to 2013
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.
Authors: Katherine Magnuson, Jane Waldfogel

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

Science Achievement Gaps Begin Very Early, Persist, and Are Largely Explained by Modifiable Factors
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. 
Authors: Paul L. Morgan, George Farkas, Marianne M. HillemeierSteve Maczuga

Early Grade Teacher Effectiveness and Pre-K Effect Persistence
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.
Authors: Walker A. Swain, Matthew G. Springer, Kerry G. Hofer

Impact of North Carolina’s Early Childhood Initiatives on Special Education Placements in Third Grade
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.
Authors: Clara G. Muschkin, Helen F. Ladd, Kenneth A. Dodge

Assessing Approaches to Learning in School Readiness
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).
Authors: Otilia C. Barbu, David B. Yaden, Deborah Levine-Donnerstein, Ronald W. Marx

Head Start at Ages 3 and 4 Versus Head Start Followed by State Pre-K: Which Is More Effective?
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.
Authors: Jade Marcus Jenkins, George Farkas, Greg J. Duncan, Margaret Burchinal, Deborah Lowe Vandell

What’s Past Is Prologue: Relations Between Early Mathematics Knowledge and High School Achievement
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.
Authors: Tyler W. Watts, Greg J. Duncan, Robert S. Siegler, Pamela E. Davis-Kean

Academic Content, Student Learning, and the Persistence of Preschool Effects
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.
Authors: Amy Claessens, Mimi Engel, F. Chris Curran

What Do Early Childhood Programs Do? What Could They Do?
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.
Author: Timothy J. Bartik 

An Integrated Curriculum to Improve Mathematics, Language, and Literacy for Head Start Children
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.
Authors: John W. Fantuzzo, Vivian L. Gadsden, Paul A. McDermott

The Effects of Vocabulary Intervention on Young Children’s Word Learning: A Meta-Analysis
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.
Authors: Loren M. Marulis, Susan B. Neuman

Where is NELP Leading Preschool Literacy Instruction? Potential Positives and Pitfalls
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.
Authors: William H. TealeKathleen A. Paciga

Interactive Book Reading in Early Education: A Tool to Stimulate Print Knowledge as Well as Oral Language
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.
Authors: Suzanne E. Mol, Adriana G. Bus, Maria T. de Jong

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
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).
Author: W. Steven Barnett

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
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.
Author: Susan B. Neuman

Misplaced Fears: Fact and Fancy in Standardized Childhood
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.
Author: W. Steven Barnett

“Are We Getting it Right?” The Controversy Over Universal Pre-K
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.
Author: Susan B. Neuman

Where I Stand on Standardization
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.
Author: Lilian G. Katz

Experimental Evaluation of the Effects of a Research-Based Preschool Mathematics Curriculum
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.
Authors: Douglas H. Clements, Julie Sarama

Early Education Policy Alternatives: Comparing Quality and Outcomes of Head Start and State Prekindergarten
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.
Authors: Gary T. Henry, Craig S. Gordon, Dana K. Rickman

Updating the Economic Impacts of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program
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.
Authors: Milagros Nores, Clive R. Belfield, W. Steven Barnett, Lawrence Schweinhart 

Inequality in Preschool Education and School Readiness
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.
Authors:Katherine A. MagnusonMarcia K. MeyersChristopher J. RuhmJane Waldfogel

By Author

Barbu, Otilia C.

Bassok, Daphna -

Barnett, W. Steven -

Bartik, Timothy J. -

Belfield, Clive R. -

Bierman, Karen L. -

Bonnes Bowne, Jocelyn - no email available

Burchinal, Margaret -

Bus, Adriana G. -

Claessens, Amy -

Clements, Douglas H. -

Curran, F. Chris -

Davis-Kean, Pamela E. -

Dearing, Eric. -

de Jong, Maria T. -

Dodge, Kenneth A. -

Domitrovich, Celene E. -

Duncan, Greg J. -

Eckhardt, Andrea G. -

Egert, Franziska - 

Engel, Mimi -

Fantuzzo, John W. -

Farkas, George -

Fukkink, Ruben G. -  

Gadsden, Vivian L. -

Gest, Scott D. -

Gill, Sukhdeep -

Gordon, Craig S. - 

Greenberg, Erica H. - 

Henry, Gary T. -

Hillemeier, Marianne M. 

Hofer, Kerry G.

Hoffman, Jessica L. -

Jenkins, Jade Marcus -

Jones, Damon -

Katz, Lilian G. -

Koepp, Andrew. - 

Ladd, Helen F. -

Latham, Scott -

Levine-Donnerstein, Deborah -

Maczuga, Steve -

Magnuson, Katherine A. -

Maier, Michelle -

Mattera, Shira -

Marulis, Loren M. -

Marx, Ronald W. -

McCormick Meghan. -

McCoy, Dana. - 

McDermott, Paul A. -

Meyers, Marcia K. -

Morgan, Paul -

Mol, Suzanne E. - no email available

Morris, Pamela. -

Muschkin, Clara G. -

Mykletun, Arnstein. -

Neuman, Susan B. -

 Nores, Milagros -

Paciga, Kathleen A. -

Rickman, Dana K. -

Rorem, Anna - 

Ruhm, Christopher J. -
-Inequality in Preschool Education and School Readiness 

Sarama, Julie -

Siegler, Robert S. -

Teale, William H. -

Schindler, Holly -

Schweinhart, Lawrence -

Shonkoff, Jack. 

Springer, Matthew G. -

Swain, Walker A.

Toppelberg, Claudio. - 

Valentino, Rachel - 

Vandell, Deborah Lowe -

Waldfogel, Jane -

Watts, Tyler W. -

Weiland, Christina. -

Welsh, Janet A. -

Yaden, David B. -

Yang, Rui. -

Yoshikawa, Hirokazu

Zachrisson, Henrick 

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