Performance Improvement 2008. Will Targeted Training Improve Teaching Practices For School Readiness of At-Risk, Low-Income Children?


The study looked at two kinds of teacher training outcomes: teacher behavior, interactions with children, and aspects of the classroom environment that support children´s language and literacy development; and children´s language and pre-literacy skills. Teacher behavior was measured through direct observation; children´s development was measured by their performance on a standardized assessment. Project Upgrade was a two-year experimental test of the effectiveness of three different language and literacy interventions implemented in child care centers in Miami-Dade County, Florida, that served children from low-income families. One hundred and sixty-two centers were randomly assigned to one of three research-based curricula or to a control group that continued with its existing program. The curricula, while grounded in a common set of research findings, differed in intensity, pedagogic strategies and use of technology. In each center, one classroom that served four-year-old children was selected for the study.

Teachers who received targeted training and technical assistance were able to improve young children´s development of language skills. The interventions led to changes in teachers´ behaviors and interactions with children, including substantial increases in the time spent on language and literacy activities. The impact was generally stronger for teachers whose primary language was Spanish than for their English-speaking counterparts. Two of the three interventions affected language and literacy development more greatly for children in classrooms with Spanish-speaking teachers. The two interventions that affected children´s language and literacy skills brought children close to or above national norms on three of the four language and literacy skills measured, representing between four and nine months of developmental growth.

Report Title: Findings from Project Upgrade in Miami Dade County,
Agency Sponsor:
ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Federal Contact:
Ivelisse Martinez-Beck, 202-690-7885
Abt Associates Inc.
PIC ID: 8585

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