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An experimental study evaluating professional development activities within a state funded pre-kindergarten program


This paper describes the implementation and evaluation for scaling up a comprehensive early childhood teacher professional development program into 11 communities across 2 years with funding through state legislative actions. The comprehensive program had four major components based on results from a previous multi-condition random assignment study across four states. The previous results demonstrated that the most optimum approach for supporting children’s school readiness included: (1) teacher on-line professional development with facilitation, (2) classroom mentoring, (3) implementation of a research-based curriculum, and (4) technology-driven progress monitoring that informed instruction. The comprehensive professional development program was evaluated in a new state program designed to bring childcare, Head Start, and public school pre-kindergarten together into integrated partnerships. In Year 1, 220 teachers serving 3834 children were randomly assigned to either receive the comprehensive program or not. Teachers who served as controls in Year 1 received the program in Year 2, and those who received the program in Year 1 participated for an additional year in Year 2, allowing for examination of the effects of one versus 2 years of participation. The program improved teachers instructional practices relative to controls, and a second year of participation resulted in greater gains in children’s language and literacy. Results support the need for well-integrated, comprehensive professional development for early childhood educators.

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This work would not have been possible without the efforts of our trainers, mentors, teachers, and research associates.

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Correspondence to Susan H. Landry.


Appendix A

See Table 6.

Table 6 Description of TBRS content areas and sample question

Appendix B

See Table 7.

Table 7 Tests of teacher condition difference on TBRS scales at pretest in Years 1 and 2

Appendix C

See Table 8.

Table 8 Model parameters from the prediction of TBRS scores in year, control teachers versus 1st year teachers (Objective 1)

Appendix D

See Table 9.

Table 9 Tests of group differences on children’s scores at pretest in Year 2

Appendix E

See Table 10.

Table 10 Model parameters from the prediction of Year 2 children’s outcomes comparing 1st year and 2nd year program teachers (Objective 2)

Appendix F

See Table 11.

Table 11 Model parameters from the prediction of TBRS scores for the same teachers who were controls versus 1st year program teachers (Objective 3)

Appendix G

See Table 12.

Table 12 Model parameters from the prediction of children’s outcomes for the same teachers who were controls versus 1st year program teachers (Objective 3)

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Landry, S.H., Swank, P.R., Anthony, J.L. et al. An experimental study evaluating professional development activities within a state funded pre-kindergarten program. Read Writ 24, 971–1010 (2011).

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  • Early education
  • Professional development
  • Pre-kindergarten
  • State initiative
  • Early reading