Researchers will study the policy context surrounding a cohort of children as they progress from prekindergarten through third grade in six rural counties. Specifically, the North Carolina team will focus on whether policies are aligned in ways that help sustain learning across early grades. To investigate these issues, researchers will draw upon semi-structured interviews, survey data from school and program administrators, and content analysis of policy documents.
Researchers will observe the quality of teacher-child relationships, conversations between teachers and children, differentiated instruction, instructional content, and policies, and relate them to gains during the school year in children’s academic and social behavioral skills to examine associations between classroom practices and child outcomes.
Researchers will investigate the extent to which classroom policies and practices relate to gains in student’s academic and social skills across five years, from pre-K through third grade. The extent to which these patterns are similar for children whose home language is Spanish and English will be examined.
The research studies will take place in six rural counties in North Carolina. Three counties have a higher expenditure rate per publicly-funded PreK classroom and the other three counties have a lower expenditure rate per publicly-funded PreK classroom.