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

12/15/2009

This preliminary review of the published and unpublished papers on these federally-funded intervention evaluations suggests that there is evidence for positive effects of some of the selected interventions on some of the important early childhood language and literacy outcomes. However, evidence from these studies is not sufficient to inform policy makers about ways in which to assemble the critical ingredients necessary for more widespread and consistent success in raising young children's literacy outcomes. Many inter-related factors influence the effectiveness of interventions, some of which are just beginning to be understood. In addition, the experimental studies supported by these federal initiatives have proven that it is possible to conduct rigorous studies in early childhood settings and have moved the field forward in terms of methodology. Ongoing improvements and attention to new issues arising from these more rigorous methodologies will, however, be necessary. Both in terms of substance and methodology, therefore, the studies examined here constitute an important contribution to the knowledge base that informs early language and literacy education. Research on the characteristics of high quality programs that are both developmentally appropriate and successful in bridging the achievement gap will be in demand from legislators and policy makers as they are called upon to make informed decisions about early learning systems.

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