Abt Associates to Evaluate Massachusetts Preschool Expansion Program

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Abt Associates will evaluate Massachusetts’ federal Preschool Expansion Grant for the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

As part of a nationwide effort to offer high-quality preschool programs for children who are most in need, Abt Associates will evaluate Massachusetts’ federal Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) for the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (DEEC). Thirteen states, including Massachusetts, were awarded Expansion Grants from the U.S. Department of Education in FY14 to expand the capacity of high-quality preschool programs to serve additional children in high-need communities.

In Massachusetts, five communities (Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield) are being funded to implement full-day, full-year preschool for four-year-olds through public-private partnerships between the local public school districts and licensed early learning providers. Together, these partnerships plan to provide high-quality preschool programming for approximately 3,000 four-year-olds in the participating communities over the span of the grant.

“This evaluation will provide actionable findings to inform program development and answer policy questions about how preschool education, delivered through public school-community partnerships, can best catalyze child learning from prekindergarten into the early elementary school grades,” said Mary Joel Holin, Abt Associates division vice president for Social and Economic Policy. “Additionally, it builds upon Abt’s deep experience in early care and education research, including examining preschool classroom quality and measuring the school readiness outcomes for young children.”

Massachusetts has long been at the forefront of efforts to support a high-quality early learning system. In particular, the DEEC has been highly involved in long-range planning for implementing strategies to help ensure that Massachusetts’ children, especially those children with the highest needs, arrive in kindergarten with the skills and abilities necessary to succeed.

The Abt Associates evaluation team will be led by Dr. Barbara Goodson (Principal Investigator) and Amy Checkoway (Project Director). Abt will also be joined by researchers Drs. Monica Yudron and Anne Douglass from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. The evaluation contract is for up to four years, and is valued at $3.1 million.

About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and implementing programs in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and was named one of the 40 international development innovators. The company has offices in the U.S., Australia and the U.K., and program offices in more than 40 countries. http://www.abtassoc.com

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Caroline Broder
Abt Associates
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