NIEER Working Papers

Expanding Access to Quality Pre-K is Sound Public Policy

December 2013

In 2013, preschool education received more attention in the media and public policy circles than it has for some time, in part because of a series of high-profile proposals to expand access to quality pre-K.  The scientific basis for these proposed expansions of quality pre-K is impressive.  This paper brings to bear the full weight of the evidence to address the following questions:

  • What does all the evidence say about effective preschool education and long-term cognitive benefits?
  • What are the estimated effects of state and local pre-K programs in more recent years?
  • Is Head Start ineffective? 
  • Can government improve the quality of public preschool education? 
  • If states expand pre-K with temporary federal matching funds, what happens to state education budgets when that federal money is not available?

NIEER projects that in 2030 all but 1 state would spend less on education from pre-K through grade 12 under federal proposals that incentivize states to raise pre-K quality standards, offer a full school day, and serve all children under 200 percent of the federal poverty level. 

Acelero 2011-12 Program Evaluation—Summary Report

June 2013
By Steve Barnett and Kwanghee Jung

This report presents the results from the second year of NIEER’s evaluation of Acelero students’ learning in language and general conceptual knowledge and early math skills.

Estimated Participation and Hours in Early Care and Education by Type of Arrangement and Income at Ages 2 to 4 in 2010

December 2012
By W. Steven Barnett and Milagros Nores

This working paper by NIEER Director Steve Barnett and NIEER Associate Director of Research Milagros Nores estimates participation in early childhood education programs by child’s age, program setting, family income level, and child’s household language.


Investing in Early Childhood Education: A Global Perspective

November 2012
By W. Steven Barnett and Milagros Nores

NIEER Director Steve Barnett presented the key note address at an international conference on “Early Childhood: Secure Childhood. Promising Future” at Princess Nora University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  His presentation and paper, jointly authored with NIEER Assistant Research Professor Milagros Nores, was titled Investing in Early Childhood Education: A Global Perspective.

Parental Notions of School Readiness: How Have They Changed and Has Preschool Made a Difference?

December 2011

This NIEER working paper examines school readiness from the parental perspective, examining their efforts and expectations for kindergarten in conjunction with their child’s development.


“Who’s in the Circle?” A Study of Family Participation in Georgia’s Pre-K Program

December 2011

This NIEER working paper presents the results of a study that examines which household characteristics are related to the probability of participating in the voluntary pre-K program.

Determinants of Household Participation in Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten Program

December 2011

This NIEER working paper looks at the determinants of household awareness of and participation in the Florida VPK program.

Making Validated Educational Models Central in Preschool Standards

September 2011
Originally Published: September 2002

By Lawrence Schweinhart, HighScope Educational Research Foundation


Improving Early Education Programs through Data-based Decision Making

February 2011

This NIEER working paper presents five options for studying the effectiveness of state-funded preschool education programs.

English Language Learners' Math and Reading Achievement Trajectories in the Elementary Grades: Full Technical Report

June 2009

This paper aims to provide detailed descriptive analyses of the patterns of language minority students' achievement.

NIEER Working Paper – What Do We Know About the Impact of Publicly funded Preschool Education on the Supply and Quality of Infant/Toddler Care?

April 2009

What Do We Know About the Impact of Publicly Funded Preschool Education on the Supply and Quality of Infant/Toddler Care?
By Debra J. Ackerman and W. Steven Barnett (2009)
This report examines the extent to which publicly funded preschool education programs have helped or hindered infant and toddler programs.

NIEER Working Paper – Mathematics and Science in Preschool: Policy and Practice

March 2009

Does a teacher's bachelor's degree have a positive impact on early childhood education outcomes? This meta-analysis was conducted to provide a quantitative synthesis of research findings on the relationship of teacher educational attainment and measures of classroom quality and child development.