In late 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care was awarded a Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) to expand high-quality early childhood education to four-year-old children from low-income families. The PEG model is defined by the provision of key elements perceived to be important drivers of quality. Abt Associates is leading the multi-year evaluation of the program in partnership with University of Massachusetts Boston. This first-year evaluation study examines the implementation of PEG.
This report's key findings include:
- In the first year of implementation, the PEG classrooms, on average, demonstrated a moderate to high level of overall quality, with higher scores on quality of the classroom environment and lower scores on instructional quality. Quality varied substantially across classrooms.
- At the end of the preschool year, PEG children, on average, demonstrated levels of early math skills, early literacy skills, and vocabulary comprehension close to the level shown in national samples of children entering kindergarten. However, the proportion of children meeting age expectations on these outcomes varied substantially across classrooms, and about one-third of PEG children overall were below age expectations on English language vocabulary.
- All eleven key PEG quality elements were implemented to some degree in the first year of the program. Some quality elements were fully implemented in all communities and centers, while other PEG quality elements were partially implemented both within and across communities and programs.
- PEG teachers reported a high level of job satisfaction and confidence at being able to teach and support the children in their classrooms.
- PEG parents reported a strong sense of connection to the program and satisfaction with the program’s support for their children’s development and learning.