National Academies Press: OpenBook

Building Educational Equity Indicator Systems: A Guidebook for States and School Districts (2020)

Chapter: INDICATORS OF EQUITY RELATED TO PRE-K EDUCATION

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Suggested Citation:"INDICATORS OF EQUITY RELATED TO PRE-K EDUCATION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Building Educational Equity Indicator Systems: A Guidebook for States and School Districts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25833.
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INDICATORS OF EQUITY RELATED TO
PRE-K EDUCATION


Early childhood experiences set the stage for later academic success. “Kindergarten readiness” refers to the broad set of foundational skills, behaviors, and knowledge that enable children to successfully transition into kindergarten and achieve academic success throughout the primary grades. Monitoring these skills is important because large differences between different groups of students become apparent well before children enter kindergarten, and they can have lasting effects. These differences are largely associated with family socioeconomic status, parental levels of education, and the extent to which English is spoken in the home. Identifying and addressing disparities at the earliest time possible in children’s lives can help education systems prepare all students for future success.

Participation in early childhood education is a strong predictor of kindergarten readiness, and one of the most important out-of-home experiences that young children have. Early learning programs are important for helping children develop the behaviors and competencies they will need to do well in kindergarten. Participating for at least 2 years before entering kindergarten may be expected to benefit all children. Yet access and enrollment are markedly less for children from lower-income families, children whose parents have less education, and children whose parents are not proficient in English.


For more detail and supporting research:

See pages 52-57 and 86-89 of Monitoring Educational Equity

Suggested Citation:"INDICATORS OF EQUITY RELATED TO PRE-K EDUCATION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Building Educational Equity Indicator Systems: A Guidebook for States and School Districts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25833.
×

Indicator:

Disparities in Access to and Participation in High-Quality Pre-K Programs

While participation in almost any preschool program can be beneficial, participation in high-quality programs is even more important. Dimensions of quality include classroom resources, curriculum, interaction quality between teacher and children, and teachers’ credentials and experience. These dimensions can be difficult to measure, so program licensure is often used as a proxy for quality because it can be tracked relatively easily and is relatively comparable within states. State quality rating and improvement systems may be used as direct measures of quality, though they would not be comparable with each other. To increase comparability, these systems could be aligned with surveys from the National Institute of Early Education Research at Rutgers University, which are available to license.

Access to high-quality early childhood programs is only half of the equation, however: families also must enroll their children to reap the long-term benefits. Children from less advantaged backgrounds, who could benefit most from programs, are often the least likely to be enrolled.

What to Measure What Data to Use Examples of Data Collection Instruments Some Considerations and Challenges
Availability of licensed pre-K programs* to children from different groups (proxy for quality) State licensing agencies for early childhood programs by zip code No data collection instruments needed: indicator can be based on calculations of existing data Ensuring that data can be disaggregated by characteristics that are important to equity
Group differences in participation in licensed pre-K programs* (proxy for quality) Disaggregated enrollment data from licensed centers

* Licensed pre-K programs include those offered by school districts, Head Start programs, and other state-licensed programs.

Suggested Citation:"INDICATORS OF EQUITY RELATED TO PRE-K EDUCATION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Building Educational Equity Indicator Systems: A Guidebook for States and School Districts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25833.
×

Indicator:

Disparities in Academic Readiness

Achievement in the preschool and early childhood years refers mainly to a set of reading- and math-related skills, such as recognizing all letters, counting to 20, writing one’s own name, and reading words in a book. Research has shown that between-group differences in academic readiness are strongly related to family levels of education and home language.

At the national level, there is ongoing work to develop a common kindergarten readiness indicator that can be disaggregated by such characteristics as race/ethnicity, income, and parental education; this effort is being led by Child Trends (see https://www.childtrends.org). Until that work is completed, states and school districts can assess academic readiness by using publicly or commercially available assessments or developing their own.

What to Measure What Data to Use Examples of Data Collection Instruments Some Considerations and Challenges

Group differences in reading and literacy skills

  • Identification of upper- and lowercase letters
  • Decoding skills (e.g., beginning to associate sounds with letters at the beginning and end of words)
Assessments of early literacy and numeracy skills Publicly available questionnaires from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: Kindergarten (ECLS-K) (National Center for Education Statistics)

State-developed or -adopted assessments*
Identifying an assessment tool that can be used to compare readiness within and across states

Group differences in numeracy and math skills

  • Ability to recognize numbers and shapes and compare relative sizes
  • Counting and sequencing skills
  • Ability to perform some addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tasks

*For specific examples, see http://ceelo.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/ceelo_fast_fact_kea_state_scan_2017_01_for_web.pdf.

Suggested Citation:"INDICATORS OF EQUITY RELATED TO PRE-K EDUCATION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Building Educational Equity Indicator Systems: A Guidebook for States and School Districts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25833.
×

Indicator:

Disparities in Self-Regulation and Attention Skills

Nearly all experts agree that being able to sit in a classroom and pay attention are essential behaviors for school learning. These skills are part of a larger set of skills called cognitive self-regulation, which generally refers to a person’s ability to evaluate the steps and actions required to meet a desired goal and to control their behavior to reach that goal. Cognitive self-regulation is a broad concept with multiple, overlapping components, and there is no single, agreed-upon definition. Group differences in cognitive and self-regulation skills are associated with family socioeconomic levels.

What to Measure What Data to Use Examples of Data Collection Instruments Some Considerations and Challenges

Group differences in self-regulation and attention skills.

Ability to:

  • sit still
  • concentrate on tasks
  • persist at a task despite minor setbacks or frustrations
  • listen and follow directions
  • work independently
Kindergarten readiness assessments that include behavioral and social components Parent and teacher instruments from ECLS-K-2011 (National Center for Education Statistics)

Locally adopted assessments (e.g. Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, used by Maryland and Ohio, Desired Results Developmental Profile, used by California and Illinois)

State developed assessments*
Ensuring that assessments accurately measure the desired aspects of readiness

Defining levels of readiness based on assessment scores

*For specific examples, see http://ceelo.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/ceelo_fast_fact_kea_state_scan_2017_01_for_web.pdf.

Suggested Citation:"INDICATORS OF EQUITY RELATED TO PRE-K EDUCATION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Building Educational Equity Indicator Systems: A Guidebook for States and School Districts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25833.
×

FOR FURTHER READING:


G.J. Duncan and K. Magnuson. (2011). The nature and impact of early achievement skills, attention and behavior problems. In G.J. Duncan and R.J. Murnane (Eds.), Whither Opportunity: Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Chances (pp. 47-69). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

M. Burchinal, K. Magnuson, D. Powell, and S.S. Hong. (2015). Early childcare and education. In M.H. Bornstein, T. Leventhal, and R.M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science: Ecological Settings and Processes (pp. 223-267). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Suggested Citation:"INDICATORS OF EQUITY RELATED TO PRE-K EDUCATION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Building Educational Equity Indicator Systems: A Guidebook for States and School Districts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25833.
×
Page 6
Suggested Citation:"INDICATORS OF EQUITY RELATED TO PRE-K EDUCATION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Building Educational Equity Indicator Systems: A Guidebook for States and School Districts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25833.
×
Page 7
Suggested Citation:"INDICATORS OF EQUITY RELATED TO PRE-K EDUCATION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Building Educational Equity Indicator Systems: A Guidebook for States and School Districts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25833.
×
Page 8
Suggested Citation:"INDICATORS OF EQUITY RELATED TO PRE-K EDUCATION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Building Educational Equity Indicator Systems: A Guidebook for States and School Districts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25833.
×
Page 9
Suggested Citation:"INDICATORS OF EQUITY RELATED TO PRE-K EDUCATION." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Building Educational Equity Indicator Systems: A Guidebook for States and School Districts. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25833.
×
Page 10
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How can states and schools use data to support their efforts to improve educational equity? Building Educational Equity Indicator Systems: A Guidebook for States and School Districts, provides information to help state and school district leaders develop ways of tracking educational equity within their preK – 12 systems.

The guidebook expands on the indicators of educational equity identified in the 2019 National Academies report, Monitoring Educational Equity, showing education leaders how they can measure educational equity within their states and school districts. Some of the indicators focus on student outcomes, such as kindergarten readiness or educational attainment, while others focus on student access to opportunities and resources, such as effective instruction and rigorous curriculum. Together, the indicators provide a robust picture of the outcomes and opportunities that are central to educational equity from preK through grade 12.

For each indicator of educational equity identified in the report, the guidebook describes what leaders should measure and what data to use, provides examples of data collection instruments, and offers considerations and challenges to keep in mind. The guidebook is meant to help education leaders catalogue data they already collect and identify new data sources to help them fill gaps.

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