The National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (NCRECE) just completed a public release of all data from its extensive teacher professional development study, gathered between 2007 and 2011. Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the 5-year study evaluated the effectiveness of two forms of professional development (PD) designed for early childhood educators. The goal of the study was to see what forms of PD could help teachers improve their implementation of curricula and interactions with children, and also promote gains in children’s social and academic development.
The study, a collaboration between researchers at the University of Virginia (UVA), University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and University of California-Los Angeles, was led by Robert Pianta, Dean of the Curry School of Education at UVA.
It involved evaluating two forms of professional development (PD) with over 490 early childhood education teachers. The first PD experience was a 14-week course that aimed to improve teachers’ observations of instructional and social interactions with children. As part of the course, teachers were able to observe videos of effective classroom interactions and were taught how to observe and identify these interactions in their own classrooms. The second PD experience was MyTeachingPartner, or MTP Coaching. MTP consisted of teachers videotaping their classroom practices and receiving guidance and feedback from a coach about how to observe and analyze their own classroom interactions.
NCRECE investigators have produced over 20 articles from the study to date, yet the rich data set has much more to offer to the field of early childhood education. The data set offers extensive longitudinal data on classroom processes, child outcomes, and teacher PD experiences that can be used to tackle timely practice and policy questions.
“We look forward to broadening the pool of investigators working on this data set,” says lead investigator Bob Pianta. “This is a rich resource for increasing our understanding of how to improve the quality of educational experiences for young children.”
Margaret Burchinal, Co-Principal Investigator of the study and Senior Scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, agrees with Pianta that the rich data set could be a valuable resource to educational researchers everywhere. “We are really pleased to make these valuable data about early childhood education available to all researchers interested in improving practices and policies that promote early learning and development.”
These data are now being distributed by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan. More information about gaining access to the NCRECE data can be found here.