Proceedings from a Working Meeting on School Readiness Research: Guiding the Synthesis of Early Childhood Research. Directions for Research

12/15/2009

Drawing from the discussions of the four themes, a set of recommendations emerged for future research:

  • Planned variation studies are important for starting to disentangle aspects of interventions and professional development approaches that lead to improvements in classroom environments and child outcomes. For example, planned variation studies could examine the differential impact of professional development in the form of workshops versus one-on-one coaching versus workshops plus coaching.  However, there are a number of issues and challenges related to conducting planned variation studies that have been noted and need to be weighed against what can be learned from them (e.g., cost and sample size requirements).
  • Secondary analysis of existing large-scale, longitudinal databases, such as the ECLS-B or the ECLS-K, may be able to provide important data on the trajectory of children's development on the emergence of the school readiness gap in infancy and toddlerhood, the extent to which the gap persists or widens over time, and factors influencing the size and persistence of the gap.
  • Current conceptualizations and operational definitions of dosage need to be examined.  Secondary analysis of existing databases needs to be explored as a basis for looking at dosage effects.  Ultimately, new studies need to be designed to evaluate the impact of dosage of the intervention or professional development on sustained outcomes in educator/caregiver behaviors and practices as well as child outcomes.
  • Research needs to examine outcomes for the populations of children who are learning English as a second language and whether there are specific instructional practices that are effective with these students. Although some of the current set of studies include English Language Learning children as a subgroup in their analyses, it is important to expand this body of work, and also a need for more research on caregivers/educators who are learning English.

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