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Research Partners - Goal 2

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Intro | Goal 1 | Goal 2 | Goal 3 | Goal 4


 

Goal 2: All Missouri children will enter kindergarten prepared to be successful in school.

 

Background

Two objectives fall under Goal 2. Objective 1 involves increasing the percentage of children (birth-to-5) who receive developmental and health screenings and the number of parent education visits to families with young children, particularly high-needs families. Objective 2 is to increase the percentage of early childhood programs that meet established quality standards.

Two strategies have been identified for meeting Objective 1: making information available to families and communities about screenings and providing information to stakeholders that help them maximize support services for families with young children. Multiple strategies have been defined for Objective 2: informing stakeholders about the necessity of high-quality early learning, developing/disseminating early learning standards, and providing a public list of high-quality early learning programs in the state to families and communities. Moreover, each strategy dictates a number of action items, as defined in the 10 by 20 plan.

Research Needs

The research needs to support the action items for Goal 2 are identified below, grouped by topic. Because many of these needs cut across the specific objectives and strategies, the list is not linked explicitly to the Objective, Strategy and Action numbers provided in the visioning plan.

 
RESEARCH TOPIC
 
ASSIGNED TO
ANTICIPATED
COMPLETION
DATE

Topic 1: Identifying Stakeholders

 

a) [QUAL/PROJ] Who are the stakeholder groups around the state who can be utilized strategically in disseminating information about developmental and health screenings?

a. How can the state make use of nontraditional routes or groups to ensure that the dissemination is thorough and widespread?

University of
Missouri
May 2012

b) [QUAL/PROJ] Who are the stakeholder groups around the state who can be utilized strategically in disseminating information about parenting education?

a. How can the state make use of nontraditional routes or groups to ensure that the dissemination is thorough and widespread?

Available
 

c) [QUAL/PROJ] Who are the stakeholder groups around the state who can be utilized strategically in disseminating information about early learning programs and early learning program quality?

a. How can the state make use of nontraditional routes or groups to ensure that the dissemination is thorough and widespread?

Available
 

Topic 2: Promoting Developmental and Health Screenings

 

a) [MO DATA] What factors contribute to where and in what quantity developmental and health screenings for young children are offered in Missouri?

a. Data on locations and numbers of screenings are being gathered from health departments and other agencies and could be merged with existing data sources.

University of
Missouri
May 2012

b) [PROJ] Design a focused campaign to inform stakeholders about developmental and health screenings statewide. This would include figuring out who the partners for the campaign should be, assessing their likely support level and contribution, identifying databases with mailing lists, and so forth.

Available
 

Topic 3: Parent Education and Family Supports

 

a) [PROJ] Develop and design materials related to the importance of parent education for dissemination to appropriate stakeholder groups that are digestible, informative, attractive, and consistent with the goals to increase parent education visits.

Available

b) [PROJ] Design a sustainable and comprehensive plan for disseminating information about the importance of parent education that utilizes stakeholder groups, including groups we might not traditionally include. This would require figuring out who these groups are, how to work with them to disseminate information, and how we will know if the plan is successful, all within the constraints of limited time, attention, and resources.

Available
 

c) [LIT] What does the education literature say about the importance of parent education or other family supports? What are the empirical links between parent education/family supports and child outcomes? What kinds of parent education/family support programs have research to support (or not) a positive impact on parents’ behavior and children’s outcomes? What are the different effect sizes for different types of programs?

a. It would be especially useful for a researcher to develop a one-page brief with simple charts and graphs that can be disseminated widely.

University of
Missouri
Completed
Dec 2011
Final Report

d) [QUAL/PROJ] What are viable financial strategies or untapped funding sources the state could use to increase the number of family supports, particularly for high-needs families?

Available
 

Topic 4: Importance of Early Learning

 

a) [MO DATA] Develop a list of early learning programs in Missouri.

a. This will be done internally by DESE.

Available
 

b) [PROJ] Develop a marketing campaign to educate Missourians on the importance of high quality early learning.

a. The research on this topic is extensive and easily accessible, but it still is not widely known or understood.

University of
Missouri
Completed
May 2012
Final Report

Topic 5: Professional Development

 

a) [LIT/BP] As under Goal 1, what does the education literature say about the characteristics of effective professional development and effective professional development systems? More specifically to the early childhood arena, how do you create a PD and training system that accommodates the substantial mobility of educators? What are the tradeoffs of in-person vs. online training? What are other states doing to ensure that trainers maintain an up-to-date knowledge base?

University of
Missouri
Completed
Dec 2011
Final Report

b) [PROJ] Design an infrastructure for a statewide early childhood PD program that is low-cost but flexible and capable of meeting educators’ needs. This would require figuring out who the providers would be, how the providers themselves would be trained, how materials can be disseminated, and so forth.

Available
 

Topic 6: Statewide Early Learning Implementation

 

a) [QUAL] How have communities or states that have successfully funded comprehensive learning programs been successful? What are their funding strategies? How do they make funding sustainable?

Available
 

b) [QUAL] How are Missouri districts or communities who are concentrating focus on early childhood going about this process? In what ways are they being successful or unsuccessful? What are their biggest challenges? What is their decision-making like? How are they encouraging community buy-in? What ingredients are necessary for other communities to develop a similar focus?

Available
 

Topic 7: Standards for High-Quality Early Learning

 

a) [MO DATA] How is each of the 9 early learning program standards correlated with child outcomes? Which standards are most important for a program to meet? How should the standards be weighted thusly?

a. Some communities, such as Kansas City and St. Joseph, collect more in-depth early learning program data that might be linked to student outcomes (e.g., kindergarten readiness), which may provide an approach for gaining traction on this question.

b. It would also be useful to have a brief detailing the research base that justifies each of the 9 standards for dissemination to programs, legislators, and other stakeholders.

Available
 

b) [MO DATA] How much does meeting each of the 9 early learning standards cost a program? How does this “costing out” differ for programs with different characteristics or that serve different student populations?

Available
 

c) [BP] What are the best practices around assessment of early learning program quality? How do other states define and label program quality? How do they handle self-reporting vs. verification of program inputs and outputs? What are the relevant measurement issues when assessing quality at the program level?

Available
 

d) [MO DATA] How reliable are different levels of formal observation in assessing early learning program quality? That is, how do the assessments of trained outside observers compare to self-assessments, peer assessments, and parent assessments? What do the correlations among these assessment types tell us about what we can learn from different types of observations?

Available
 

e) [LIT] What does the education literature say about effective early learning practice and pedagogy? What strategies appear to work well for increasing early learning? How do these strategies differ by student population characteristics?

University of
Missouri
May 2012

Topic 8: State of the State in Early Learning

   

a) [MO DATA] What does Missouri look like with respect to its early learning programs, and how does it compare to other states? This question could be answered along many dimensions, including:

a. Program type and quality: What types and quality of programs are birth-to-five children attending? How do these vary by child characteristics? What data on program inputs and outputs are being collected around the state?

b. Access: What percentage of children needs child care? What percentage does not have access to quality care? How do program costs vary by program type, quality, or region of the state?

c. Early learning workforce: What are the characteristics of Missouri’s care providers? How much education and training do they have? How much experience? What are their salaries?

d. Early learning support and infrastructure: What kinds of professional development opportunities are made available to care providers? What is its cost? What types of technical assistance is available?

Available
 

 

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