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A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum (2024)

Chapter: 8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection

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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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Suggested Citation:"8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27429.
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STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-1 AND SELECTION 8 State- and Program-Level Curriculum Decision Making and Selection Across the country, curriculum is selected, adopted, and implemented in multiple ways. From state policy makers to family child care providers, curriculum is researched, developed, and piloted with the goal of enriching children’s early learning experiences. Specifically, how curriculum is developed and implemented varies from state to state. Many states have adopted standards, and commercial curriculum is developed based on those standards. In some cases, curriculum may also be developed locally by teachers or child care providers to meet the needs of their students and their specific communities. Preschool children aged 3–5, participate in a variety of program types. The United States has a mixed delivery system for early childhood programs. A mixed delivery system combines different program types, such as center-based programs, which may be located in schools or community programs, and home-based programs. Each type of program is governed with different polices, regulations and funding mechanisms, including private-pay tuition; foundation grants or university sponsorship; publicly funded prekindergarten, Head Start, and child care subsidies; and other public funding streams. Programs are blended together in order to maximize access or enhance quality (Morris & Smith, 2021). In 2016, 49 percent of preschool-age children were in center-based care, 8 percent were in home-based care, 2 percent had multiple care arrangements, and the remaining 41 percent were cared for by parents or relatives (National Center for Education Statistics, 2017). Funding streams are complex to describe because many programs receive more than one type of funding. In 2019, 76 percent of center-based programs and 62 percent of licensed home-based programs received some form of public funding (Datta et al., 2021a; Datta et al., 2021b). The complexity of the early childhood system and the diversity of program options lead to great variability in children’s preschool experiences. This chapter presents evidence on the stakeholders involved in the selection and adoption of preschool curriculum; the criteria used, as well as early learning standards and how they inform implementation and fidelity; and implications for assessment. Data examined within this chapter include information reported in the National Institute for Early Education Research’s (NIEER’s) annual State of Preschool surveys (e.g., Friedman-Krauss et al., 2023) about the supports that states have in place around curriculum selection and implementation in state- funded pre-K. The chapter includes discussion on which states meet NIEER’s Curriculum Supports quality standards benchmarks and how these standards are met. 23 It is worth noting that 23 Portions of this chapter are adapted from a paper commissioned by the committee for this study (Friedman- Krauss, 2023). Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-2 AND SELECTION the data are more limited for family child care settings—a key area for future research; when possible, information from these contexts is included. HOW ARE CURRICULUM DECISIONS MADE? Preschool programs differ in the standards and requirements they are subject to, with important implications for preschool quality. Given the complexity of the early childhood system, the specific program standards and requirements that apply to a program are largely determined by the program’s type, location, and funding sources. Operational requirements are often determined by the state in which a program is located—exceptions being preschool programs located in tribal jurisdictions that adhere to tribal and federal requirements, and Head Start programs. Broader Curriculum Selection and Standards Curriculum standards and requirements, as well as broader early childhood systems and structures, vary by location and program funding stream. Preschool programs are often free to select any curriculum they choose or develop their own curriculum, although their curriculum decisions may be impacted by funding requirements or other program standards they are subject to. These standards may include state or federal early learning standards, which identify developmental and learning goals for preschool in several content domains. For instance, Head Start programs must align their curricula with funding requirements in the Head Start Program Performance Standards and the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. State-Level Selection Each state has unique rules about program licensing or registration, as well as which types of programs are required to have a license or registration to operate. Licensing or registration requirements typically focus on facilities, health and safety, staffing requirements, and other basic operating rules, and they are mainly aimed at protecting children from harm rather than advancing child development and early learning (see National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, 2020a). Programs are also required to comply with regulations and standards specific to initiatives they participate in and receive funding from, including federal initiatives (such as Head Start), state initiatives (such as prekindergarten), and other grants or entitlements. Requirements for these initiatives typically go beyond licensing standards and often focus on programming and quality of care and instruction; however, the specific content and requirements of these standards varies by initiative (Friedman-Krauss et al., 2022). For an example of statewide requirements, California Preschool Learning Foundations outline key knowledge and skills that most developing children can achieve when provided with the kinds of interactions, instruction, and environments that research has shown will promote early learning and development. The foundations can provide early childhood educators, parents, and Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-3 AND SELECTION the public with a clear understanding of the wide range of knowledge and skills that preschool children typically attain when given the benefits of a high-quality preschool program. 24 Many states also offer quality rating and improvement systems that rate programs according to quality standards and provide supports for increasing ratings over time; participation is usually voluntary or is required only for programs receiving certain types of public funding (National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, 2020b). As a result of different program locations and funding streams, some preschool programs in the United States are exempt from any requirements or standards; others must meet basic licensing requirements related to staffing and safety but no other standards, and still others are required to meet program quality standards related to instruction and other aspects of programming. This variability in program standards and requirements has important implications for program quality. NIEER’s State of Preschool Yearbook (Friedman-Krauss et al., 2023) assesses each state- funded public preschool program’s policies around supports for curriculum selection and implementation. To meet this quality standards benchmark, which NIEER considers a minimum for programs that support children’s development and learning, programs must provide at least one support for selecting a curriculum and at least one support for implementing the chosen curriculum. Supports for curriculum implementation include, for example, offering guidance on selecting evidence-based curriculum model(s), offering a list of state-approved and/or recommended curricula, requiring programs to adopt a specific curriculum, and requiring alignment of the chosen curriculum with the state’s early learning and development standards. Examples of state supports for curriculum implementation include training on the selected curriculum, ongoing technical assistance on curriculum implementation, and specific funding to support curriculum implementation or training. During the 2021–2022 school year, 56 out of 62 (90%) state-funded pre-K programs met NIEER’s Curriculum Supports benchmark (Friedman-Krauss et al., 2023). State preschool programs have made some progress in providing more supports for curriculum implementation over the last 7 years (when NIEER started tracking it) (see Figure 8-1). During the 2015–2016 school year—the first year this benchmark was assessed—46 out of 58 (79%) of state-funded preschool programs met the Curriculum Supports benchmark (Barnett et al., 2017). Among the six state-funded preschool programs that currently do not meet NIEER’s Curriculum Supports benchmark, all do provide supports for selecting a curriculum but do not provide support for implementation. 24 For more information, see https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/psfoundations.asp Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-4 AND SELECTION 100% 92% 87% 90% 90% 87% 90% 90% 79% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 FIGURE 8-1 Percent of state-funded preschool programs meeting the curriculum supports benchmark each year. NOTE: The total number of state-funded programs and the actual programs change each year so lower percentages do not necessarily mean programs are losing benchmarks. SOURCE: Friedman-Krauss et al., 2023. Turning first to supports for selecting a curriculum, in 2021–2022, 55 out of 62 (89%) state-funded preschool programs reported offering guidance on criteria for selecting an evidence- based curriculum for preschool classrooms. This was the most commonly reported type of support (see Table 8-1). Fifty-three (85%) programs require that the selected curriculum is aligned with the state’s early learning and development standards. Thirty-three (33%) reported providing a list of either state-approved or recommended curricula (or both). Only 14 (23%) require all sites to use a specific curriculum. Table 8-1 also shows which state-funded preschool programs reported providing three different supports for curriculum implementation. Forty-four (71%) programs reported that a state’s office of early learning or department of education provided training on the curriculum. Forty-four (71%) states also reported providing funding specifically to support curriculum implementation and/or training on implementing the curriculum. And 43 programs reported that the state delivers ongoing technical assistance on curriculum implementation. Overall, in most states, even preschool programs that are subject to state or federal program standards have significant flexibility in their curriculum choices. Furthermore, states and localities vary in their structural and systems-level determinants of program quality and access, such as program funding, child eligibility requirements, and early childhood systems design and leadership. Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING AND SELECTION 8-5 TABLE 8-1 Supports for Curriculum Selection and Implementation Used by State-Funded Preschool Programs in 2021–2022 State/Program Supports for Curriculum Selection Supports for Curriculum Implementation Other Supports* Provides Requires Guidance on Requires training alignment of Delivers ongoing Provides funding criteria for List of adoption of sponsored by List of state- curricula technical to support selecting state- specific state recommended with early assistance on curriculum evidence-based approved curricula by all education curricula learning and curriculum implementation or curriculum curricula programs and agency/office development implementation training models sites of early standards learning Alabama Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Alaska Yes Arizona Yes Yes Yes Yes Arkansas Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes California CSPP Yes Yes Yes Yes California TK Yes Yes Colorado Yes Connecticut CDCC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Connecticut SRP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Connecticut Smart Start Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Delaware Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes District of Columbia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Florida Yes Yes Yes Yes Georgia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Hawaii DOE Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Hawaii HPCSC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Illinois Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Iowa Shared Visions Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Iowa SWVPP Yes Yes Yes Kansas Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Kentucky Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Louisiana 8(g) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Louisiana LA 4 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Louisiana NSECD Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Maine Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Maryland Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Massachusetts CPPI Yes Yes Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-6 AND SELECTION Massachusetts Chapter 70 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Michigan Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Minnesota Head Start Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Minnesota VPK & SRP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Mississippi Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Missouri Yes Yes Montana Nebraska Yes Yes Yes Nevada Yes Yes Yes New Jersey Abbott Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes New Jersey ECPA Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes New Jersey ELLI Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes New Mexico Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes New York Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes North Carolina Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes North Dakota Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Ohio Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Oklahoma Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Oregon Pre-K Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Oregon Preschool Promise Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Pennsylvania RTL Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Pennsylvania HSSAP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Pennsylvania K4 & SBPK Yes Yes Yes Yes Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Rhode Island Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes South Carolina Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Tennessee Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Texas Yes Yes Yes Yes Utah Yes Vermont Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Virginia VPI Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Virginia Mixed Delivery Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Washington ECEAP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Washington TK Yes Yes Yes West Virginia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-7 AND SELECTION Wisconsin Yes Yes Yes Yes Total 55 25 24 14 53 44 43 44 30 * In some states, “other supports” provided results in the state meeting the benchmark. This is determined based on what the other supports are. NOTES: CDCC = Child Day Care Contracts; CPPI = Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative; CSPP = California State Preschool Program; DOE = Department of Education; ECEAP = Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program; ECPA = Early Childhood Program Aid; ELLI = Early Launch to Learning Initiative; HPCSC = Hawaii Public Charter School Commission; HSSAP = Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program; NSECD = Nonpublic School Early Childhood Development; RTL = Ready to Learn; SBPK = School-Based Prekindergarten; SRP = School Readiness Program/Plus; SWVPP = Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program; TK = Transitional Kindergarten ; VPI = Virginia Preschool Initiative; VPK =Voluntary Prekindergarten. Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING AND SELECTION 8-8 Selection by Family Child Care Providers Family child care providers are generally less likely than centers and schools to use a published curriculum, which may lead to disparities in learning opportunities. The National Survey of Early Care and Education showed that family child care homes are far less likely than centers to use published curricula, with usage by these two groups at 55 percent and 74 percent, respectively (National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 2015). Similarly, in a 2012 qualitative survey, Forry and Wessel (2012) none of the 30 family child care providers who participated in qualitative study reported using a published, state-recommended curriculum. Instead of commercial curricula, the family child care providers often create their own curricula (i.e., “local” or “homegrown” curricula), based on what they believe children should learn and combining different learning activities (Forry & Wessel, 2012; Freeman & Karlsson, 2012). And when using a published curriculum (often, The Creative Curriculum), family child care providers supplement it with locally developed curricula or with less well-known resources (Forry & Wessel, 2012; Fuligni et al., 2012). Qualitative research (e.g., Forry & Wessel, 2012) suggests that family child care providers believe providers’ creativity to plan or customize activities, particularly to supplement curricula, is a key resource in supporting children’s school readiness. However, variations in curriculum implementation or differences between published and locally developed curricula may contribute to unequal learning opportunities and outcomes (Jenkins et al., 2018). These disparities could have important equity implications, especially given that a large proportion of children enrolled in family child care homes are from racially marginalized populations and families experiencing poverty (National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team, 2016). CRITERIA FOR SELECTION AND ADOPTION As articulated throughout this report, curriculum encompasses the totality of student experiences that occur in the educational process. Selecting a curriculum is more than choosing printed materials—it is designing an environment rich in experiences and activities to enhance a child’s physical well-being and motor development, social and emotional development, approaches to learning, language development, cognition, and general knowledge. With a solid understanding of child development and how children learn, the design process must include teachers and child care providers, administrators, policy makers and parents. Most importantly, children need to be at the heart of the design. The building blocks for adopting a curriculum include using program standards to establish goals and a vision, creating student outcomes, selecting instructional materials, and providing professional development, all while working within budgetary constraints. These building blocks occur at the federal, state, and local levels. Adopting curricula is part of a complex budget system that includes multiple decision makers. Federal, state, and local budgets are the result of negotiations, advocacy, and setting priorities. Programs funded with public dollars require the early education field to ensure that decision makers understand the benefits of high-quality early education and care. Approval of the program, including funding instructional materials and professional development, is the Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-9 AND SELECTION responsibility of the board of education. Typically, instructional materials are piloted by teachers before being adopted formally. The board also approves the district budgets that fund the programs. A given district may adopt multiple programs, each with their own funding source (federal, state, and local) and program requirements. Because program requirements do not always align, teacher, administrator, and districts need accountability and must submit extra paperwork. 25 At the federal level, Head Start programs support children’s growth from birth to age 5 through services centered around early learning and development, physical and mental health, and family well-being. The federal government funds Head Start programs through the Administration for Children and Families, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Across the country, school districts, nonprofit and for-profit groups, faith-based institutions, tribal councils, and other organizations qualify to become Head Start recipients and receive federal funding. 26 Many programs combine funding from federal, state, and local sources to maximize service delivery and continuity. EARLY LEARNING STANDARDS Curricula are closely related to early learning standards. Early learning standards encapsulate learning goals, or expectations for what children will know and be able to do; curricula provide the means of supporting children in achieving these goals. While standards are usually created by national organizations or state departments of education, curricula are often selected by local boards of education, officials, administrators, and teachers. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (2009) recommend that the development of early learning standards involve conversations with families, teachers, and the early childhood professional community writ large. However, the committee found little evidence of the impact of those conversations in the actual development of standards. Teachers’ and families’ voices are mainly used to illustrate standards. New York, for instance, includes teacher quotes in the state’s early learning guidelines, but only to demonstrate how the standards can be implemented successfully. Other states, such as Maine, included parents or family advocates in the task force groups that developed the standards, but the direct contribution of parents and teachers to standards is not always clear. Most standards are intended to serve as guides for both families and practitioners as they support child development; however, families and practitioners do not typically have the opportunity to decide on the goals and expectations for development, which can contribute to mismatches between standards, curriculum, and instructional practices. 25 For an example, see guidance provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District that articulates the vision, goals, curriculum, and instructional materials to be used in the classroom to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all children: https://www.lausd.org/cms/lib/CA01000043/Centricity/Domain/593/2015%20REVISED%20TK%20REFERENCE %20GUIDE%205777.3.pdf. 26 https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/grant-application Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-10 AND SELECTION Although many publishers report that their preschool curricula are aligned with Head Start standards, the alignment was not always clearly explained in the reviewed literature. Head Start programs are required to use curricula that are research-based and promote measurable progress toward the learning indicators laid out in the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (HSELOF). However, on publishers’ websites as well as in research articles, the committee found only a few in-depth descriptions of how the various existing curricula contributed to HSELOF’s developmental progressions and measurable outcomes. This gap is important because, as explained later, Head Start programs need to be able to assess curriculum alignment against these standards and sometimes also to their state’s early learning standards. Aligning Curricula to State-Level Standards The landscape of the state-level early learning standards is somewhat fragmented. Each state has its own standards, and the committee did not find any documents that showed the alignment of all the states’ early learning standards. In our own review of the standards, the committee noted that most states’ standards recommend that curricula be research-based, developmentally appropriate, comprehensive, and sequenced toward achieving specific learning goals. However, states differ in their learning goals and curriculum content expectations (DeBruin‐Parecki & Slutzky 2016; Whitaker et al., 2022). Mainly then, it is up to the publishers/developers, administrators, and teachers to determine how well a given curriculum aligns with the state’s learning standards. To facilitate comparisons of curricula with learning standards, some publishers and state agencies provide curriculum crosswalks—charts that juxtapose state-level standards and curriculum components. For example, Missouri developed a document to show correspondence between its standards and the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (see Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, 2021). These alignment efforts help educators and families better understand what their children should be learning and how the taught curriculum aligns with standards from the state and from national organizations. Still, it is challenging for educators, child care providers, administrators, and families to navigate the multiple learning standards and connect them to curriculum implementation. It is also challenging and time-consuming for publishers or state agencies to create crosswalks, or comparison charts, between each curriculum and the early learning standards of each state. Successful alignment between the curricula and instructional strategies from preschool through third grade is theorized to lead to better organization of services and learning opportunities for children, as well as enhanced school-family partnerships (Bogard & Takanishi, 2005; Brooks-Gunn, 2003; Reynolds & Temple, 2008; Stipek et al., 2017). When there is not alignment, as discussed in Chapter 4, there are detrimental effects on children’s outcomes. Curricular alignment for preschool through third grade could be particularly beneficial in reducing opportunity gaps and disparities in learning outcomes for multilingual learners, children with disabilities, and children from families with low income (Demanchick et al., 2009; Garland, 2011; Jacobson, 2009; NASEM, 2023; Rice 2008; Severns, 2012). Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-11 AND SELECTION Discrepancies in Alignment to State Standards There are important curricular discrepancies in how districts and programs incorporate state standards into their curriculum choices. For example, McMahon and Whyte (2020) found curricular differences between two Californian districts that had made large investments to align their math curriculum with the state’s standards. These authors found that one district’s math curriculum consistently offered challenging tasks across pre-K through third grade, while the other district used a math curriculum with tasks that were less cognitively demanding. The prevalence of more challenging activities across grades suggests that children in the first district would be exposed to more advanced content and learning opportunities, but both districts had made efforts to align with the state standards; this suggests that more guidance is needed (McMahon & Whyte, 2020). This study and similar studies indicate that there may be a lack of agreement within and across districts on how to connect state standards to the preschool curriculum. Discrepancies between state standards and school districts’ curriculum choices may lead to inequitable learning opportunities. For instance, as family advocates, administrators, and teachers in Tennessee’s Jackson-Madison County School System looked for ways to increase equitable outcomes in their schools, they engaged in a deep curriculum review process and found that the district-selected curricula were outdated and insufficient to comply with state standards (Stewart, 2020). Because of the misalignment, teachers did not use the curriculum consistently and supplemented it heavily with materials that they created or found online. As a result, children had access to materials of varying quality and content, and their learning opportunities were unequally distributed (Stewart, 2020). To address the disparities, the school district purchased new curricula that closely aligned with the state standards and created spaces for district leaders, administrators, and teachers to discuss how the curricula mapped with their goals, vision, and practice. After implementing the curricula, children’s literacy scores on state assessments increased by 77 percent (Stewart, 2020). Acknowledging the key role of district policies and practices in mediating the effect of state policies on teaching, Stipek and colleagues (2017) recommended developing clear curriculum guidelines and instructional framework for pre-K through grade 3 at the district and school levels. Still, there is an ongoing debate over how to best incorporate early learning standards into early learning curricula and how to align these standards with K–12 standards (NRC, 2015). It is important to consider that alignment between curriculum and standards is only helpful insofar as the early learning and development standards set appropriate targets for skills and competencies. Many, if not most, do not include important outcomes for children like positive racial and cultural identity, resilience, curiosity, and some of the other outcomes mentioned throughout this report. WHAT CURRICULA DO STATES APPROVE AND SUPPORT? In 2020–2021, 30 state-funded preschool programs reported having a list of either approved or recommended comprehensive curricula from which local districts/programs could select a curriculum (Friedman-Krauss et al., 2022). Out of the 30 state-funded programs, all but Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-12 AND SELECTION three are required to select a curriculum from the approved or recommended list. While several states reported that only one curriculum is on their list, two state funded-preschool programs (Arkansas and Minnesota Voluntary Pre-K/School Readiness Plus) reported 17 curricula on their list (see Table 8-2). Minnesota’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, Parent Aware, has an extensive list of approved curricula. The Creative Curriculum for Preschool (Teaching Strategies) was the most frequently reported curriculum on the list, reported by 27 out of 30 programs (90%); this is followed by HighScope Preschool Curriculum, reported by 21 programs (70%). Half of programs reported including InvestiGator Club (Robert-Leslie Publishing) and Opening the World of Learning (OWL) (Savvas Learning Company). Eight programs reported that Tools of the Mind was on their list and ten programs reported that Montessori was on their list. Moreover, a few states have developed their own curricula (see Box 8-1). BOX 8-1 State-Developed Curricula: STREAMin3 A few states have now developed their own, readily available curricula through collaborative partnerships. For example, with funding from the Virginia Department of Education, researchers at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia developed the STREAMin3 comprehensive curriculum, which is available free or at low cost to birth-to-5 programs receiving public funds in Virginia (see https://streamin3.org/). STREAMin3 focuses on science, technology, reading, engineering, art, and math content as well as core skills: relationships, self-regulation, thinking, communicating, and movement. Implementation of this program incorporates integrated experiences, intentional teaching, and interactions between teachers and children (known as the 3 Is). According to Amanda Williford (public listening session, March 27, 2023), educators requested a coherent comprehensive curriculum that would not require putting together several domain-specific curricula, which is a challenging task considering high rates of staff turnover. To meet the needs of family child care providers, the curriculum covers infants through preschoolers. Scope and sequence are articulated across this age span. Professional development, coaching, and assessment tools are provided. STREAMin3 is research-based and has been piloted widely, but a large-scale evaluation study was impeded by the COVID-19 pandemic. SOURCE: Public Listening Session with Amanda Williford to the committee, March, 27, 2023 States were also asked to report the percentages of programs implementing each of the comprehensive curricula on their list (Table 8-2). However, only eight programs (of 30) were able to report this information: Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana NSECD, Michigan GSRP, Mississippi, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Virginia. The Creative Curriculum was the most commonly used curriculum in five of these states and in North Carolina, it was used by 94 percent of programs. Mississippi reported that all programs used OWL, but this curriculum was only used by a small percentage of programs in other states. Arkansas (45%) and Rhode Island (30%) both reported substantial percentages of programs using state-developed curricula. Without data from more states, it is hard to know if these states provide a representative picture Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-13 AND SELECTION of curriculum use across states and programs within state-funded preschool. These eight states enrolled just 11 percent of all children in state-funded preschool in 2020–2021. Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM -LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKINGS AND SELECTION 8-14 TABLE 8-2 Percentage of State-Funded Preschool Programs Using Each Comprehensive Curricula Louisiana North Rhode Arkansas Georgia NSECD Michigan Mississippi Carolina Island Virginia Bank Street College of Education 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Big Day for PreK (Houghton-Mifflin) 8 1 8 0 0 0 0 28 Connect4Learning (Kaplan Early Learning Company) 0 0 0 14 0 0 0 0 Core Knowledge Curriculum Series (Preschool) 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 The Creative Curriculum for Preschool (Teaching Strategies) 21 34 40 47 0 94 65 34 Curiosity Corner 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 DLM Early Childhood Express (McGraw-Hill) 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Frog Street DIG: Develop, Inspire. Grow 4 0 4 0 0 0 0 14 HighReach Learning Curriculum (Carson-Dellosa Publishing) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 HighScope Preschool Curriculum 0 16 0 38 0 3 5 4 InvestiGator Club (Robert-Leslie Publishing) 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 Little Treasures (Macmillan/McGraw-Hill) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Montessori Curriculum 0 0 0 0.003 0 0 0 0 Opening the World of Learning (OWL) (Savvas Learning Company) 1 5 4 0 100 0 0 0.5 PreK On My Way (Scholastic) 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Reggio Emilia 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Tools of the Mind 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.2 We Can Early Learning Curriculum (Voyager Sopris Company) 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 Waldorf Curriculum 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 State-developed curriculum 45 0 0 0 0 0 30 0 Locally developed curriculum 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 Other curricula* 6 30 44 <1 0 2 0 18 *Other curricula include Georgia: Alpha Skills Pre-K Curriculum (2.10%), Benchmark, Ready to Advance Early Learning Program (5.86%), Frog Street Pre-K (4.76%), Frog Street Excel (10.95%), Kaplan’s Beyond Centers and Circle Time (0.61%), Learn Everyday (0.77%), Splash into Pre-K (0.28%), and WINGS (1.11%); Louisiana NSECD: Frog Street Pre-K—Frog Street Press, Ages 3–4; Michigan: Project Approach; Virginia: KinderCare, STREAMin3, Blueprint, LaPetite Academy, Early Innovators Childtime, Empowered Child Learn Every Day, Three Cheers for Pre-K. NOTE: NSECD = Nonpublic School Early Childhood Development. Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-15 AND SELECTION Beyond comprehensive curriculum, only 13 state-funded preschool programs in eight states (Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana [all three programs], Minnesota Voluntary Pre-K and School Readiness Plus [VPK/SRP], Oklahoma, Pennsylvania [all four programs], South Carolina, and Tennessee) reported having a list of approved subject-specific curricula for preschool (see Table 8-3). Literacy and social-emotional development were the two most common domains covered by the approved subject-specific curricula. No information is available on actual use by programs of these curricula. New Jersey (all three programs) reported that districts could submit requests to the state to use supplemental domain-specific curricula. This is a surprising finding given that some subject-specific, evidence-based curricula have been found to be highly related to positive outcomes for children. TABLE 8-3 Subject-Specific Curricula Used in State-Funded Preschool Subject-Specific Curricula Domains Covered Arkansas Launchpad for Pre-Kindergarten by Really Great Literacy Reading & Heggerty Phonological Awareness for Pre- Kindergarten Delaware For a list, see https://www.delawarestars.udel.edu/wp- Healthy content/uploads/2021/10/ECE-Supplemental- lifestyles, Curricula-Examples-updated-Oct-29-2021.pdf. literacy, social- emotional developmen t, science, math Louisiana (all three Blueprint for Early Literacy—Children Literacy Literacy programs) Initiative; Eureka Math—Great Minds and math Minnesota Voluntary For a list, see https://www.parentaware.org/wp- Literacy Prekindergarten/Sch content/uploads/2022/04/PA-011-Aligned-Curricula- and social ool Readiness March-2022.pdf. emotional- Program learning Oklahoma Not reported Not reported Pennsylvania (all For a list, see Social- four programs) https://www.education.pa.gov/Early%20Learning/Earl emotional y%20 developmen Learning%20Standards/Pages/default.aspx. t, language and literacy, science, approaches to learning through play Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-16 AND SELECTION South Carolina (First Conscious Discipline Social- Steps) emotional Tennessee Tennessee Foundational Skills Literacy or another Literacy research-proven sounds-first foundational skills model IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON SUPPORTS FOR CURRICULUM IMPLEMENTATION In fall 2020, twenty-eight state-funded preschool programs (45%) reported changes to state supports for curriculum implementation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (Friedman- Krauss et al., 2021). These changes tended to increase flexibility and move training and resources online. For example, one common change was to allow curricula to be implemented through online/virtual instruction, both synchronous and asynchronous. Several programs reported shifting coaching, training, and professional development online to a virtual format as well as additional training and guidance around implementing curricula through a virtual platform. In the District of Columbia, community-based organizations within the state-funded preschool program could request a waiver of the requirement to consistently use a comprehensive curriculum. FIDELITY OF CURRICULUM IMPLEMENTATION Fidelity of curriculum implementation is the extent to which teachers implement a curriculum as intended by the developers and is important for considering teacher professional development needs and evaluation of teacher and child outcomes (Pence et al., 2008). Existing research has shown that higher curriculum fidelity scores are associated with greater child gains (Hamre et al., 2010; Wasik et al., 2006), and low fidelity is associated with poor outcomes (Carroll et al., 2007; Clements et al., 2011; Durlak & DuPre, 2008; Odom, 2009; O’Donnell, 2008). The importance of fidelity is often associated with its influence on child outcomes when a specific curriculum is evaluated for effectiveness. One notable reason for the existence of fidelity checks is the observed discrepancy across the practices of teachers who use the same curriculum (Jenkins et al., 2019). Fidelity is typically measured along one or more of the following three domains: “adherence (the extent to which curriculum was implemented as designed), dosage (the amount of time spent implementing key components of curriculum), and quality (the extent to which the curriculum was implemented using high-quality practices)” (McCormick et al., 2019b, p. 4). The most measured dimension of fidelity is adherence, also referred to as “the bottom-line measurement of implementation fidelity” (Carroll et al., 2007, p. 15). As Cordray and Pion highlighted in a review of existing research on fidelity, developing quality fidelity measurement is inherently complex, labor-intensive, and a long-term research endeavor—and the “majority of programs (interventions) in local organizations are not nearly as sophisticated” (Cordray & Pion, 2006, p. 121). Fidelity of implementation is documented using varying methods, from self-reported checklists to full instruments. In research, self-reports and observational checklists are seen as Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-17 AND SELECTION “dubious instruments” due to their subjectivity and unassessed reliability (Sarama et al., 2016). In practice, the typical way to ensure fidelity is through a combination of self-reports, coach observations, and use of checklists. This approach is the most prevalent in Head Start programs, for instance, where fidelity of implementation is ensured through coaching and using checklists, but much less so by using fidelity tools (Doran et al., 2022b). This approach to fidelity is also reported in experimental studies, often without any information about internal consistency, reliability, or psychometric characteristics (e.g., DeBaryshe & Gorecki, 2007; Fischel et al., 2007; Lonigan et al., 2015). In contrast, more robust fidelity measures undergo multiple rounds of refinement, often with the support of curriculum developers and multiple rounds of classroom observations (e.g., Assel et al., 2007; Clements & Sarama, 2008; Nesbit & Farran, 2021). States were asked to report about systems in place to ensure curricula were being implemented with fidelity during the 2017–2018 school year (Friedman-Krauss et al., 2019). Of the 61 state-funded preschool programs that year, 35 programs (57%) reported that there was no system in place to ensure fidelity of curriculum implementation, or it was determined locally. Given the importance of high-quality curricula implemented at fidelity for supporting children’s learning and development in preschool, this high percentage of state-funded preschool programs not monitoring fidelity of curriculum implementation is concerning. Nine programs reported that the state has a system to ensure that curricula are implemented with fidelity. Six programs reported that the state required local programs to establish a system to ensure curricula are implemented with fidelity. Eleven other programs reported other systems for ensuring fidelity of curriculum implementation. Many of these programs reported using some combination of coaching, monitoring, and additional funding available to support fidelity of curriculum implementation. For example, Alabama reported that ongoing monitoring, coaching, and training were used to ensure proper curriculum implementation. Specifically, monitors work with program administrators to ensure that First Class Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten grants are properly administered, provide appropriate leadership to teaching staff in concert with coaches to improve instruction, and support the development of leadership skills necessary for effective program management and improvement (Friedman-Krauss et al., 2019). In Iowa, Area Education Agencies provide training and support for curriculum adoption, implementation; guidance for fidelity and funding is available to support curriculum implementation and training. Louisiana reported relying on a system of regular coaching at the local level and funding for training and professional development, in addition to state and regional training and technical assistance. WHO ATTENDS PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS WITH CURRICULUM SUPPORTS? 27 All children in state-funded preschool are in programs that provide at least one support for selecting curriculum. However, although only six programs do not provide at least one support for implementing curriculum (and therefore do not meet NIEER’s Curriculum Supports benchmark), almost 27 percent of children in state-funded preschool are in these programs. 27 This section is drawn from a paper commissioned by the committee for this study (Friedman-Krauss, 2023). Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-18 AND SELECTION Florida and Texas have two of the three largest state-funded preschool programs in terms of the number of children enrolled. Those two states alone enroll one-quarter of all children in state- funded preschool. Efforts to improve supports for curriculum implementation in Florida, Texas, and Colorado (as it moves towards universal preschool) would positively impact a large number of children. The states that do not meet the curriculum supports benchmark (especially Florida and Texas) are also demographically diverse. In Florida, 20 percent of preschool-age children are Black/African American, and 31 percent are Latine/Hispanic. In Texas, 12 percent of preschool- age children are Black/African American, and 49 percent are Latine/Hispanic. In Colorado, 32 percent of preschool-age children are Latine/Hispanic. Alaska has a high percentage of preschool-age children who are American Indian/Alaska Native (18%). Colorado and Texas reported demographic information on children enrolled in their state-funded preschool programs as well. Sixty-one percent (61%) of children enrolled in the Texas Public School Prekindergarten were Latine/Hispanic, and 50 percent of children enrolled in the Colorado Preschool Program were Latine/Hispanic. Given the diversity of children in these programs that do not meet the curriculum standards benchmark, improving supports for curriculum implementation is needed to ensure equity of access to quality state-funded prekindergarten. Supports specifically focused on curriculum implementation for multilingual learners are essential as well. IMPLICATIONS FOR ASSESSMENT Assessment is a systematic information gathering process. Early childhood experts recommend integrating assessment of child progress into preschool curricula, with the goal of informing instruction. Embedding assessment into curriculum materials creates opportunities for children to share their understanding and for teachers to monitor children’s development and adjust instructional activities to support children’s development (Fine & Furtak, 2020; NRC, 2008). That is, as described throughout the earlier chapters, assessment enables teachers to understand where a child is developmentally, know what the next step is in a developmental progression, and then tailor their instruction to that level rather than use a one-size-fits-all approach to pedagogy (see Chapters 6 and 7 for assessments related to targeted populations). Teachers can better rely upon the child’s cultural and linguistic assets, providing enriching learning experiences, and establishing a safe and nurturing environment (see Chapter 5). Individualization in this way is consistent with the equity and anti-bias framing that is foundational to the committee’s vision for preschool curricula. Assessment systems may include observation, documentation of children’s work or portfolios, checklists, rating scales, and norm-referenced tests (NAEYC & NAECS, 2009). In 2003, NAEYC urged policy makers and early childhood stakeholders to develop and use comprehensive systems of curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation guided by sound early childhood practices, effective early learning standards, and program standards. Likewise, the National Research Council (2001, 2006, 2008) contends that a successful system of assessments must be coherent along three dimensions: Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-19 AND SELECTION • Horizontally coherent—assessment systems, curriculum, instruction, and early learning standards target the same goals for learning and work together to support children’s developing knowledge and skill across all domains. • Vertically coherent—all levels of the system (classroom, center, school or program, and state) share an understanding of the purposes and uses of assessment tools. • Developmentally coherent—the assessment system draws on what is known about how children’s content knowledge, abilities, and understanding develop over time and what they need to progress at each stage of the process, which would also inform instruction. Assessment data have the potential to enhance teaching and program operations to improve outcomes for children. Curriculum-based, formative assessment systems (such as the Work Sampling System, the High Scope Child Observation Record Advantage, or Teaching Strategies GOLD) may involve prompts or opportunities for evidence that are embedded in classroom activities, as well as guidelines for teachers about how to document or collect the evidence (through observation and collection of examples) and how to use evidence to assess child skill level on specific indicators. However, there is some research to assess that teachers over- and under-estimate children’s skills using these measures (e.g., Vitiello & Williford, 2021), which can be associated with child characteristics like race and gender (Mashburn & Henry, 2004). Assessment may also involve more traditional knowledge assessments administered by teachers and/or on a computer, in which skill level is determined by responses to test items. Early childhood experts (e.g., Clark, 2015; Datnow et al., 2007; NRC, 2008) recommend the use of curriculum-based assessments plus instructional practice data (e.g., Classroom Assessment Scoring System), developmental screening tools (Brigance and DIAL-4), and data provided by family members. The triangulation of multiple assessment data sources has the potential to provide deeper insight into children’s development and shed light into the necessary adjustments (Keeley, 2014). The data can provide information about what curricular aspects work, what needs improvement, and what could be done within and beyond the classroom to support better curriculum implementation (Gullo, 2013). Data can then be used to make programmatic decisions and monitor the consequences of those decisions—a process known as data-driven decision making (Abbott et al., 2017). When the assessment systems are embedded in daily program activities and used as a tool for continuous improvement and collaboration, the systems can enhance multilevel outcomes, from children to families to classrooms to larger systems (Yazejian & Bryant, 2013). And, as described in Box 8-2, data-driven instruction approaches, such as multitiered systems of support, can advance equity by helping teachers use data to ensure that every child receives needed instructional supports. BOX 8-2 Multitiered Systems of Support Multitiered systems of support (MTSS)—an approach to data-driven instruction used in elementary classrooms, with potential applications in preschool classrooms—are designed to meet the needs of all learners. MTSS is a framework for providing high-quality instruction for all Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-20 AND SELECTION students, identifying students needing supplemental or more intensive supports, and providing additional or more intensive support for those who need it (Thurlow et al., 2020). Although it is used in elementary grades more commonly than in preschool, MTSS may offer useful evidence about data-driven instruction. While MTSS frameworks vary somewhat, they are often conceived as having three tiers of increasingly intense supports: Tier 1 offers universal supports available to all students; Tier 2 provides supplemental supports to those students who are lagging behind their peers; and Tier 3 offers individualized, intensive supports for those who need them (see Figure). MTSS usually offers comprehensive supports (academic and social- emotional), plus school-wide infrastructure for MTSS implementation (Batsche, 2014). Indeed, MTSS is sometimes considered an umbrella term that covers many different approaches and interventions, including curriculum design, teacher professional development, school culture change, and family and community engagement (Batsche, 2014; Thurlow et al., 2020). A common feature of the MTSS framework is that it offers schools a structure for organizing processes to provide a continuum of supports for children based on identification of a gap between expected performance and actual performance (Lane et al., 2016). Indeed, an effective implementation of MTSS requires interweaving intervention/supports and assessment, because the assessments help identify who needs which supports and how children respond to the provision of those supports (Chafouleas & Iovino, 2021). FIGURE 8-2 Multitiered system of supports inclusive of all students. MTSS may be especially beneficial for multilingual learners (Chapter 7) and children with disabilities (Chapter 6). MTSS can facilitate inclusion and integration of multilingual learners or children with disabilities because it provides districts and schools with options to offer a continuum of embedded services that are responsive to children’s diverse abilities, rather than, Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-21 AND SELECTION for example, placing children with disabilities in separate, restrictive environments (Thurlow et al., 2020). Recent MTSS models such as the MTSS for Reading in Early Elementary School (MTSS-R) includes a focus on providing high-quality instruction to all students, including students with disabilities who are served in the general education classroom, by supporting the general education teacher and the collaboration between the general education teacher and special education and other staff (e.g., content specialists and aides). The implementation of MTSS-R seeks to promote better identification of students needing supplemental support and students with specific learning disabilities. The Institute of Educational Sciences is currently evaluating the impact of two MTSS-R strategies, which differ in how closely that curriculum is linked to the supplemental support and in the use of alternative curricula for students with disabilities. States such as Massachusetts are encouraging school districts to draw on MTSS to create district curriculum accommodation plans that outline specific strategies for helping educators incorporate inclusive practices in curriculum implementation and assessments. This growing body of work will shed light on how MTSS can be best connected to curricula in order to support all children. SOURCES: Thurlow et al. (2020, p. 6); see also Batsche, 2014; Chafouleas & Iovino, 2021; Lane et al., 2016. However, it remains largely unknown what educators know about assessment data and how to use the data. The research on early childhood teachers’ assessment data use, confidence, and training is scant. And recent studies (e.g., DeMonsabert et al., 2022; Little et al., 2019) have found that although most early childhood teachers regularly collect and use multiple types of data to plan their instruction, they generally receive little and sporadic professional development on collecting and using assessment data. This can be particularly problematic given the increasing calls for teachers to use assessment to individualize instruction as a way to realize the potential of high-quality curriculum and support children from diverse backgrounds. Teachers’ training and confidence in their assessment skills seem to vary by setting: Head Start and public preschool teachers tend to receive more assessment training and be more confident in their assessment skills than teachers in private preschool settings (DeMonsabert et al., 2022). Reviewing existing research and surveying a sample of 1,258 early childhood practitioners across 13 states, DeMonsabert and colleagues (2022) identified five factors that support teachers’ use of assessment data: (1) availability of supports to build teachers’ capacity to use data; (2) availability of resources (e.g., time and funding) to assist teachers in implementing data-informed instructional practices; (3) individual teacher knowledge and beliefs about assessment data use; (4) policy requirements related to assessments; and (5) family interest in assessment data use for individualization. When these factors are not present (as is often the case), early childhood educators are less likely to use data effectively to tailor instruction and, in doing so, to advance equity (DeMonsabert et al., 2022). Also, a small body of literature indicates that the main use of assessment data is to monitor individual child outcomes or evaluate specific teaching practices, rather than to improve preschool programs as a whole (see Little et al., 2019). That is, it is unclear to what extent assessment data contribute to improving preschool programs and making them more equitable. Family members can play an important role in integrated assessment and data-driven instruction. By involving parents and other family members in integrated assessment, teachers can engage parents as mutual partners on a meaningful level, which has various benefits in Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-22 AND SELECTION supporting children’s learning (Keeley, 2014). Families play a key role in the delivery of a formative curriculum; thus, involving family members in assessments can provide teachers with useful information for supporting each child’s learning and can help parents better support student motivation and learning. In addition, family members may have insights into children’s strengths and areas of development and provide historical, contextual, and cultural information that can shed light on children’s instructional progress. Connecting with families about child progress and development also creates opportunities to identify and reduce measurement biases that may occur because of a student’s cultural or linguistic background. When assessment information is shared and discussed with learners, families, and other relevant stakeholders, learning objectives and the features of excellent performance become transparent (Clark, 2015). A key strand for future research entails developing an in-depth understanding of high-quality dialogue between teachers, students, and peers; when instruction and assessments are characterized by high-quality interactions, learning becomes more transparent and accessible as assessment data for use by those involved in a child’s overall learning experience (Clark, 2015). Data use and related changes should address multiple levels (not solely the child level) and consider aspects of the broader systems within which children and families function (Yazejian and Bryant, 2013). Educators need to be mindful and mitigate potential biases in preschool assessments. Because bias is inherent to all humans and reflected in our endeavors, assessment instruments and practices carry potential for biases (Espinosa, 2005; Sprig Learning, 2021). To mitigate bias in assessment, early childhood experts recommend using a mix of formal and informal formative assessments as well as culturally, linguistically, and individually appropriate assessments (Epstein et al., 2004; Gillis et al., 2009; NAEYC, 2005), although such instruments remain scarce. In the process of administering assessments and interpreting assessment results, there is often room for error, preconceptions, and bias (Gillis et al., 2009; NAEYC, 2005). It is important for preschool stakeholders, especially teachers and program leaders, to critically examine the assessment processes and determine how the assessors’ backgrounds—including their identities, cultural stereotypes, and life experiences—may affect assessment-related decisions (NAEYC, 2005; Sprig Learning, 2021). National organizations and experts (Espinosa, 2005; NAEYC, 2005) recommend paying special attention to how linguistic mismatches (i.e., assessment of children in languages other than the language or languages spoken at home) may interfere with assessment administration and outcomes (see Chapter 6). Mitigating biases should be an ongoing process and may require strong partnerships with families and hiring or consulting with professionals who are familiar with the children’s home culture and individual capacities (Espinosa, 2005). CONCLUSION The ways in which curricula are selected, adopted, and implemented, both across and within states, are varied. The diversity of program types—each governed by different policies, regulations, quality standards, and funding streams—create a complex early childhood system with great variability in the experiences children have access to and in their learning outcomes. In the committee’s review of available research, a number of conclusions emerged: Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-23 AND SELECTION • The states that do not meet the curriculum supports benchmark are demographically diverse, with high percentages of Black, Latine, and Native American/Alaska Native populations of children. Given the diversity of children in programs that do not meet the curriculum standards benchmark, improving supports for curriculum implementation is needed to ensure equitable access to high-quality state-funded prekindergarten. • States and localities vary in their structural and systems-level determinants of program quality and access, and most states give preschool programs significant flexibility in their curriculum choices. • Standards are typically created by national organizations or state departments of education, while curricula are often selected by local boards of education, officials, administrators, and teachers. There is little evidence that families and practitioners have a significant impact on the development of early learning standards. • Although states differ in their learning goals and curriculum content expectations, most states’ standards recommend that curricula be research-based, developmentally appropriate, comprehensive, and sequenced toward achieving specific learning goals. There are two widely adopted curricula used by states; however, the degree to which these curricula improve child outcomes is a topic for debate. • In many cases, publishers/developers, administrators, and teachers determine how well a given curriculum aligns with the state’s learning standards. • Given the importance of high-quality curricula implemented at fidelity for supporting children’s learning and development in preschool, the high percentage of state-funded preschool programs not monitoring fidelity of curriculum implementation is concerning. • Early childhood experts recommend integrating assessment of child progress into preschool curricula, with the goal of informing instruction. When the assessment systems are embedded in daily program activities and used as a tool for continuous improvement and collaboration, the systems can contribute to enhancing multilevel outcomes, from children to families to classrooms to larger systems. • Family members can play an important role in integrated assessment and data- driven instruction. By involving parents and other family members in integrated assessment, teachers can engage parents as mutual partners on a meaningful level, which has various benefits in supporting children’s learning as they may have insights into children’s strengths and areas of development and provide historical, contextual, and cultural information that can shed light on children’s instructional progress. • School district, state, and federal contextual factors and policies can support curriculum effectiveness and equity. Additional contextual features that support the implementation of curricula and, subsequently, student outcomes include: Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-24 AND SELECTION o funding (Barnett & Jung, 2021a; Iruka et al., 2020; McCormick et al., 2019b; Manship et al., 2016), o strong and reliable administrative leadership (Manship et al., 2016; McCormick et al., 2019b), and o buy-in and support from administration (Lieber et al., 2010; McCormick et al., 2019b; Odom et al., 2010). The variability in how curricula are selected and assessed in the U.S. preschool landscape has implications for the quality of education that children receive. It is important to ensure that all preschool programs have access to high-quality curricula and that assessment is used effectively to inform instruction for all children. REFERENCES Abbott, M., Beecher, C., Petersen, S., Greenwood, C. R., & Atwater, J. (2017). A team approach to data- driven decision-making literacy instruction in preschool classrooms: Child assessment and intervention through classroom team self-reflection. Young Exceptional Children, 20(3), 117–132. Barnett, W. S., & Jung, K. (2021a). Effects of New Jersey’s Abbott preschool program on children’s achievement, grade retention, and special education through tenth grade. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 56(3), 248–259. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0885200621000478 Barnett, W. S., Friedman-Krauss, A. H., Weisenfeld, G. G., Horowitz, M., Kasmin, R., & Squires, J. H. (2017). The State of Preschool 2016: State Preschool Yearbook. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. https://nieer.org/state-preschool-yearbooks/yearbook2016 Batsche, G. (2014). Multi-tiered system of supports for inclusive schools. In J. McLenskey, N. L. Waldron, F. Spooner, & B. Algozzine (Eds.), Handbook of effective, inclusive schools: Research and practice (pp. 183–196). Routledge. Bogard, K., & Takanishi, R. (2005). PK-3: An aligned and coordinated approach to education for children 3 to 8 years old. Social Policy Report, 19(3). Society for Research in Child Development. Brooks-Gunn, J. (2003). Do you believe in magic? What we can expect from early childhood intervention programs. Social Policy Report, 17(1). Society for Research in Child Development. Chafouleas, S. M., & Iovino, E. A. (2021). Engaging a whole child, school, and community lens in positive education to advance equity in schools. Frontiers in Psychology 12, Article 758788. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.758788 Clark, I. (2015). Formative assessment: Translating high-level curriculum principles into classroom practice. Curriculum Journal, 26(1), 91–114. Datnow, A., Park, V., & Wohlstetter, P. (2007). Achieving with data: How high-performing school systems use data to improve instruction for elementary students. Center on Educational Governance, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California. http://www.newschools.org/wp/wp- content/uploads/AchievingWithData.pdf Datta, A. R., Gebhardt, Z., & Zapata-Gietl, C. (2021a). Center-based early care and education providers in 2012 and 2019: Counts and characteristics (OPRE Report No. 2021-222). Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/report/center-based- early-care-and-education- providers-2012-and-2019-counts-and Datta, A. R., Gebhardt, Z., Zapata-Gietl, C. (2021b). Home-based early care and education providers in 2012 and 2019: Counts and characteristics (OPRE Report No. 2021-85). Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/report/home-based-early-care-and-education- providers-2012-and-2019-counts-and-characteristics Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-25 AND SELECTION DeBruin‐Parecki, A., & Slutzky, C. (2016). Exploring pre‐k age 4 learning standards and their role in early childhood education: Research and policy implications. ETS Research Report Series, 2016(1), 1-52. Demanchick, S. P., Peabody, M. A., & Johnson, D. B. (2009). Primary project: Fifty years of facilitating school adjustment. In A.A. Drewes (Ed.), Blending play therapy with cognitive behavioral therapy: Evidence-based and other effective treatments and techniques (pp. 219–235). Wiley. DeMonsabert, J., Brookes, S., Coffey, M. M., & Thornburg, K. (2022). Data use for continuous instructional improvement in early childhood education settings. Early Childhood Education Journal, 50(3), 493–502. Epstein, A. S., Schweinhart, L. J., DeBruin-Parecki, A., & Robin, K. B. (2004). Preschool assessment: A guide to developing a balanced approach. Preschool Policy Matters, 7, 1–2. Espinosa, L. M. (2005). Curriculum and assessment considerations for young children from culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse backgrounds. Psychology in the Schools, 42(8):837–853. Fine, C. G. M., & Furtak, E. M. (2020). A framework for science classroom assessment task design for emergent bilingual learners. Science Education, 104(3), 393-420. Forry, N., & Wessel, J. (2012). Defining school readiness in Maryland: A multidimensional perspective. Child Trends. https://cms.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Child_Trends- 2012_11_27_RB_Defining.pdf Freeman, R., & Karlsson, F. dr M. (2012). Strategies for learning experiences in family child care: American and Swedish perspectives. Childhood Education, 88(2), 81–90. https://doi.org/10.1080/00094056.2012.662116 Friedman-Krauss, A. H., Barnett, W. S., Garver, K. A., Hodges, K. S., Weisenfeld, G. G. & DiCrecchio, N. (2019). The State of Preschool 2018: State Preschool Yearbook. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. https://nieer.org/state-preschool-yearbooks/2018-2 Friedman-Krauss, A. H., Barnett, W. S., Garver, K. A., Hodges, K. S., Weisenfeld, G. G. & Gardiner, B. A. (2021). The State of Preschool 2020: State Preschool Yearbook. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. https://nieer.org/state-preschool-yearbooks/yearbook2020 Friedman-Krauss, A. H., Barnett, W. S., Garver, K. A., Hodges, K. S., Weisenfeld, G., Gardiner, B. A., Jost, T. M. (2022). The State of Preschool 2021: State Preschool Yearbook. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. https://nieer.org/state-preschool-yearbooks- yearbook2021 Friedman-Krauss, A. H., Barnett, W. S., Hodges, K. S., Garver, K. A., Weisenfeld, G., Gardiner, B. A., Jost, T. M. (2023). The State of Preschool 2022: State Preschool Yearbook. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. https://nieer.org/the-state-of-preschool-yearbook- 2022Forry, N., & Wessel, J. (2012). Defining school readiness in Maryland: A multidimensional perspective (Publication No. 2012-44). Child Trends. Fuligni, A. S., Howes, C., Huang, Y., Hong, S. S., & Lara-Cinisomo, S. (2012). Activity settings and daily routines in preschool classrooms: Diverse experiences in early learning settings for low-income children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27(2), 198–209. Garland, S. (2011). Pre-K–grade 3 continuum gets sharper focus. Education Week, 30(22), 7. Gillis, M., West, T., & Coleman, M. R. (2009). Early learning observation & rating scale: Teacher’s guide. National Center for Learning Disabilities. https://www.getreadytoread.org/images/content/downloads/ELORS_forms/teacherguideshort2010.pdf Gullo, D. F. (2013). Improving instructional practices, policies, and student outcomes for early childhood language and literacy through data-driven decision making. Early Childhood Education Journal, 41(6), 413–421. Iruka, I. U., DeKraai, M., Walther, J., Sheridan, S. M., & Abdel-Monem, T. (2020). Examining how rural ecological contexts influence children’s early learning opportunities. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 52, 15–29. Jacobson, L. (2009). On the cusp in California: How PreK–3rd strategies could improve education in the Golden State. New America Foundation. Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-26 AND SELECTION Jenkins, J. M., Duncan, G. J., Auger, A., Bitler, M., Domina, T., & Burchinal, M. (2018). Boosting school readiness: Should preschool teachers target skills or the whole child? Economics of Education Review, 65, 107–125. Keeley, P. (2014). Formative assessment probes: Seeds in a bag, promoting learning through assessment. Science and Children, 52(3), 34–36. Lane, K. L., Oakes, W. P., Cantwell, E. D., and Royer, D. J. (2016). Building and installing comprehensive, integrated, three-tiered (Ci3T) models of prevention: A practical guide to supporting school success. KOI Education. Lieber, J., Hanson, M., Butera, G., Palmer, S., Horn, E., & Czaja, C. (2010). Do preschool teachers sustain their use of a new curriculum? NHSA Dialog, 13(4), 248–252. Little, M. H., Cohen-Vogel, L., Sadler, J., & Merrill, B. (2019). Data-driven decision making in early education: Evidence from North Carolina’s Pre-K program. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 27(18), 1–23. http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.27.4198 Manship, K., Farber, J., Smith, C., & Drummond, K. (2016). Case studies of schools implementing early elementary strategies: Preschool through third grade alignment and differentiated instruction. Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, U.S. Department of Education. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED571886.pdf McCormick, M., Weiland, C., Hsueh, J., Maier, M., Hagos, R., Snow, C., Leacock, N., & Schick, L. (2019b). Promoting content-enriched alignment across the early grades: A study of policies and practices in the Boston Public Schools. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 52, 57–73. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED600990.pdf McMahon, K. A., & Whyte, K. (2020). What does math curriculum tell us about continuity for Pre-K–3? Curriculum Journal, 31(1), 48–76. https://doi.org/10.1002/curj.8 Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (2021). Alignment: Missouri Early Learning Standards and the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. https://dese.mo.gov/media/pdf/alignment-missouri-early-learning- standards-and-head-start-early- learning-outcomes Morris, S. and Smith, L.K. (2021). Examples of mixed-delivery early care and education systems. Washington, DC: Bipartisan Policy Center. https://bipartisanpolicy.org/blog/examples-of-mixed- delivery-early-care-and-education-systems/ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2023). Closing the opportunity gap for young children. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2005). Screening and assessment of young English‐language learners: Supplement to the NAEYC position statement on early childhood curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation. National Association for the Education of Young Children. https://www.naeyc.org/sites/default/files/globally- shared/downloads/PDFs/resources/position-statements/ELL_Supplement_Shorter_Version.pdf National Association for the Education of Young Children and National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education. (2009). Where we stand on curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation. National AssociationDW for the Education of Young Children. www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/StandCurrAss.pdf National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (2020a). Licensing trends 2017 child care centers. Office of Head Start, Office of Child Care, and Health Resources and Services Administration, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (2020b). Program participation: Fact sheet. Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

STATE- AND PROGRAM-LEVEL CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING 8-27 AND SELECTION National Center for Education Statistics (2017). Digest of education statistics: Table 202.30. Number of children under 6 years old and not yet enrolled in kindergarten, percentage in center-based programs, average weekly hours in nonparental care, and percentage in various types of primary care arrangements, by selected child and family characteristics: 2016. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d19/tables/dt19_202.30.asp National Research Council. (2001). Eager to learn: Educating our preschoolers. Committee on Early Childhood Pedagogy. National Academies Press. National Research Council. (2006). Systems for state science assessment. National Academies Press. National Research Council. (2008). Early childhood assessment: Why, what, and how. National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/12446 National Research Council. (2015). Transforming the workforce for children birth through age 8: A unifying foundation. National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/19401 National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team. (2015). Measuring predictors of quality in early care and education settings in the National Survey of Early Care and Education (OPRE Report No. 2015-93). Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/documents/opre/measuring_predictors_of_quality_mpoq_i n_the_nsece_final_092315_b508.pdf National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team. (2016). Characteristics of home-based early care and education providers: Initial findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (OPRE Report No. 2016-13). Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/documents/opre/characteristics_of_home_based_early_car e_and_educa tion_toopre_032416.pdf Odom, S. L., Fleming, K., Diamond, K., Lieber, J., Hanson, M., Butera, G., Horn, E., Palmer, S., & Marquis, J. (2010). Examining different forms of implementation and in early childhood curriculum research. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25(3), 314–328. Reynolds, A. J., & Temple, J. A. (2008). Cost-effective early childhood development programs from preschool to third grade. Annual review of clinical psychology, 4(1), 109-139. Rice, C. (2008). Developing an advocacy strategy for New Jersey’s P–3 agenda inside and out. Association for Children of New Jersey. Severns, M. (2012). Starting early with English language learners: First lessons from Illinois. New America Foundation. Sprig Learning (2021). Dealing with implicit bias in early learning assessments. Sprig Learning. https://www.spriglearning.com/dealing- with-implicit-bias-in-early-learning-assessments/ Stewart, S. (2020, April) Curriculum is key. National School Boards Association. https://www.nsba.org/ASBJ/2020/April/Curriculum-Is-Key Stipek, D., Clements, D., Coburn, C., Franke, M., & Farran, D. (2017). PK–3: What does it mean for instruction? Social Policy Report, 30(2). https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED581657.pdf Thurlow, M. L., Ghere, G., Lazarus, S. S., & Liu, K. K. (2020). MTSS for all: Including students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. National Center on Educational Outcomes. Whitaker, A. A., Jenkins, J. M., & Duer, J. K. (2022). Standards, curriculum, and assessment in early childhood education: Examining alignment across multiple state systems. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 58, 59–74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2021.07.008Yazejian, N., & Bryant, D. (2013). Embedded, collaborative, comprehensive: One model of data utilization. Early Education and Development, 24(1), 68–70. Yazejian, N., & Bryant, D. (2013). Embedded, collaborative, comprehensive: One model of data utilization. Early Education and Development, 24(1), 68–70. Prepublication Copy, Uncorrected Proofs

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A high-quality preschool education can foster critical development and learning that promotes joyful, affirming, and enriching learning opportunities that prepare children for success in school and life. While preschool programs generally provide emotionally supportive environments, their curricula often fall short in advancing learning in math, early literacy, and science, and lack the necessary support for multilingual learners emerging bilingualism. Additionally, access to high-quality, effective early learning experiences may be limited and inadequate based on factors such as a childs race, location, gender, language, identified disability, and socioeconomic status.

A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum examines preschool curriculum quality for children from ages three to five, with special attention to the needs of Black and Latine children, multilingual learners, children with disabilities and children experiencing poverty in the United States. The report articulates a vision for high-quality preschool curricula for all children, grounded in an equity and justice-oriented principles from inception to implementation and evaluation.

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