Projects

Is New York City’s Pre-K for All program boosting student success?

Evaluating an innovative pre-K program in New York City

Challenge

The New York City Department of Education (DOE) launched Pre-K for All in 2014, an initiative providing free, full-day prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds. The number of enrollees increased from 53,000 in 2014 to about 70,000 in 2015.

The New York City Center for Economic Opportunity asked Westat to help evaluate the initiative’s implementation and expansion. 

Solution

Using surveys, focus groups, or interviews, the evaluation collected information from the children, parents, teachers, principals, site directors, and staff from the DOE and other agencies that were involved with the initiative.

The evaluation assessed

  • Families’ perceptions of the program
  • Families’ engagement in the program and their communication with staff
  • Quality of the curriculum and instruction
  • Data for programmatic and instructional purposes
  • Supports, such as coaching and professional development, offered to the staff
  • Students’ thinking and academic skills

Data collected from a survey of 1,100+ children in the program produced a snapshot of student learning in 4 key areas associated with kindergarten readiness. A follow-up (Year 2) evaluation will recommend how the DOE can support its pre-K programs and improve student learning.

The Year 2 evaluation will also look at how programs can better support students of different backgrounds and needs, including students with special needs, students whose home language isn’t English, and students living in poverty.

Results

The DOE is using the results of the evaluation to improve implementation of the Pre-K for All program and the services provided to pre-K children and their families.

The evaluation found

  • The Pre-K for All program helped students’ thinking and academic skills, regardless of their income levels, ethnicity, or the language they speak at home.
  • Parents overwhelmingly rated the quality of their child’s pre-K program as “good” or “excellent” and said it improved their child’s learning and behavior a lot.
  • Staff at the Pre-K for All sites reported using a variety of family engagement and communication practices and a wide variety of data to guide their instruction and programmatic decisions. They also reported being satisfied with much of the program and the support they received from the DOE.

Insights

Deep Dive with Our Experts

view all insights
  • Expert Interview

    PMGE: Blueprint for Culturally Responsive Evaluations

    May 2024

    Long known for its cutting-edge studies, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), a department of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), has…

  • Perspective

    Westat @ AAPOR 2024

    May 2024

    Westat experts are excited to head to Atlanta May 15-17, 2024, for the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) 79th Annual Conference. We’re proud…

  • Issue Brief

    Doula Support in Black Maternal Health

    April 2024

    The U.S. currently faces a crisis in Black maternal health. Black women die from pregnancy complications at a rate 2 to 4 times higher than…

Projects

Keep Reading

view all projects

How can we help?

We welcome messages from job seekers, collaborators, and potential clients and partners.

Get in Contact

Want to work with us?

You’ll be in great company.

Explore Careers
Back to Top