Making the Most of a Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG)
- Did the PEG program impact children’s school readiness?
- Abt’s evaluation answered key questions about the program’s implementation, impacts, longitudinal outcomes, and costs.
- Abt’s findings informed state and local program and policy development.
In late 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) was awarded a federal Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) to expand high-quality early childhood education to more than 800 4-year-old children per year in five underserved communities. EEC wanted to understand the implementation, impact, longitudinal outcomes, and costs of the program to inform its investments in preschool access and quality.
Abt Associates led the multi-year evaluation of the PEG program. The evaluation included an implementation study, a longitudinal study of outcomes for PEG children and families, a rigorous impact study, and a cost study.
The Massachusetts PEG program had a positive and statistically significant impact on children’s early literacy and early math achievement, and on vocabulary comprehension. Exploratory analyses also indicated that some of the program’s benefits were sustained when children entered kindergarten and first grade. PEG families reported gains in the areas of employment and income, which may be related to the wraparound supports that are provided to families in addition to the stable care and education provided to the children. These gains could have long-term benefits for the academic and social success of their children.