Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: The Los Angeles Early Educators Advance Evaluation: A Study of Professional Development Programs in Los Angeles County

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 11:15 AM
Brickell South (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Emily Moiduddin, Elizabeth Cavadel and Yange Xue, Mathematica Policy Research
Quality early childhood education is a critical component of strengthening children’s academic and social outcomes. Multiple methods of quality improvement efforts have been the focus of major policy efforts in recent years. In particular, professional development (PD) for early educators, including both initial preparation and ongoing learning experiences, is at the forefront of quality improvement efforts across the field of early care and education (ECE). The characteristics of early educators and the quality of the environments and interactions that they provide influence children’s outcomes (for example, NRC and IOM 2000; Hyson et al. 2012; Knoche et al. 2012; Zaslow et al. 2011). Support for caregivers is central to ensuring that classroom experiences lead to improved outcomes for children, even when a high quality curriculum is already in use (Wasik 2010).

The LA Advance Evaluation focuses on five professional development (PD) programs funded by First 5 LA that participate in the Los Angeles County Early Care and Education Workforce Consortium. The Consortium, also funded by First 5 LA, is a county-wide systems effort focused on improving education, training, and professional development opportunities for the ECE workforce. LA Advance is a quasi-experimental longitudinal study focused on answering four key research questions: (1) To what extent do the Consortium PD programs achieve expected outcomes?; (2) How do outcomes for participants in the Consortium PD programs differ from nonparticipants for each program, and overall?; (3) How do early educator characteristics and aspects of the workplace relate to outcomes and impacts?; and (4) How do strategies, implementation, and participation relate to outcomes and impacts?

This presentation will focus on findings from the first year of data collection. We will present information from participants in each of the five PD programs and a comparison group of early educators in Los Angeles. Data include a fall and spring early educator survey, a spring administrator survey, classroom observations, and focus groups. By combining multiple data sources, we will present findings on both program implementation and program impacts. A pre-post analysis will answer descriptive research questions about participant outcomes in all Consortium programs and a matched comparison group analysis will be used to estimate causal impacts for four of the PD programs. With a mixed-methods design, and a participant group that includes a diverse group of early educators from center-based care, family child care settings, and transitional kindergarten programs, LA Advance provides a rich perspective on the early childhood workforce in Los Angeles County. Results will be discussed in relation to implications for professional development programs and workforce development and for quality improvement in the early childhood field more broadly.