Projects in Research and Evaluation: Evaluation of Federal Preschool Expansion Grant for the Maine Department of Education
ECA was hired to evaluate the implementation of Maine’s Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG), which consists of full-day preschool through public-private partnerships in 13 different Maine public school districts. The federally funded multiyear grant targets school districts to expand high-quality early childhood education to four-year-old children whose families earn under 200 percent of the federal poverty line. ECA’s evaluation addressed fundamental questions: Did the project improve child outcomes and classroom quality? What aspects of PEG were associated with better classroom quality and student outcomes?
- Gathered data to better understand how each school district was implementing their PEG program in three main areas: (1) Teacher qualifications, workforce supports, and classroom quality; (2) Family services and engagement strategies; and (3) Public-private collaboration to support sustained expansion of high-quality services.
- Developed coaching logs to capture data on coaching supports for the PEG classrooms and curriculum fidelity assessments.
- Introduced an online video and data analytics platform called TALENT™ . The videos captured daily classroom interactions and allowed coaches to provide feedback remotely.
- Administered a range of classroom quality assessments (CLASS and ELLCO) as well as child assessments. ECA’s proprietary Teacher Knowledge and Belief Survey measured changes in teacher content and pedagogical knowledge in pre-k math and literacy. In partnership with the Urban Institute , ECA combined the program and teacher data with the child outcome data to understand relationships between program practices, teacher quality, and child outcomes.
- Found positive correlations between improved classroom quality and child outcomes. Found significant connections between teacher characteristics and classroom quality.
- Helped stakeholders understand the story about how PEG was implemented and whether it made a difference.
- Created State and District “Data Snapshots”. Each Data Snapshot provided a strategic planning framework; information on preschool landscapes; coaching
 The nonprofit Urban Institute, based in Washington D.C., is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. Urban’s mission is to open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.
- Practices; and gains in PEG classroom quality and child outcomes.