YPSILANTI, MI (July 24, 2012) — The HighScope Educational Research Foundation has reorganized its research department and established the Center for Early Education Evaluation at HighScope.
The mission of the Center is to facilitate conversations among researchers and evaluators in the early childhood field in order to help administrators, policy makers, and other stakeholders understand how evaluation can inform decision-making and advocacy. One of the primary goals of the Center is to further emphasize the importance of evaluation in education, in addition to activities traditionally thought of as research.
“Independence in evaluation is extremely important to the credibility of the research,” noted Dr. Tomoko Wakabayashi, Director of the Center. While the HighScope Research group has functioned independently from the rest of the organization, both in function and in funding sources, this move will, in part, result in the further separation of the research function from other activities at HighScope, although the Center will still be housed and legally a part of the not-for-profit organization.
Research and evaluation have always been central to the HighScope Educational Research Foundation. HighScope’s signature Perry Preschool Study set the standard for evaluative research on early childhood programs. The IEA Preprimary Project, the Training for Quality Study, the Curriculum Comparison Study, the Great Start Readiness Program Evaluation, and other HighScope studies have shaped the early childhood field. HighScope’s development and validation of the Child Observation Record (COR) and the Program Quality Assessment (PQA) have shaped early childhood assessment. The Early Literacy Skills Assessment and the Ready Schools Assessment round out the evaluation tools HighScope has developed and are currently in use in pre-K and elementary schools, respectively. HighScope has been known as a center for expert advice on early childhood evaluation, and that reputation will be carried on by The Center for Early Education Evaluation at HighScope.
“While multiple programs and services exist under the same goal of realizing all children’s potential, methodological issues and tools available for program evaluations often differ across types of services, for example, early childhood education, including K–3; Head Start; state pre-K; home visiting; and any other family support services,” said Dr. Lawrence Schweinhart, president of HighScope. “Another one of the Center’s goals will be to help early childhood programs move toward a more integrated system of early childhood evaluation that will foster collaboration not only at the program level but amongst researchers and evaluators,” he added.
The Center will name a six-member advisory panel made up of scholars and researchers in the field of early childhood education. The advisory panel will connect throughout the year but will meet annually. The panel will provide guidance helping the Center develop and meet its goals.
“One of the initiatives of the new Center will be to present an annual conference to bring together local, regional, and national-level evaluators, researchers, policy makers, and stakeholders who use evaluations for decision making and advocacy,” noted Dr. Wakabayashi. The first annual conference, cosponsored this year by the Michigan Department of Education, will be held in Dearborn, Michigan, on October 5, 2012. Participants will include evaluators from pre-K initiatives, such as the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) in Michigan, Head Start and Early Head Start, home visiting, and other early childhood interventions and initiatives.
The Center for Early Education Evaluation at HighScope is part of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation, which is an independent nonprofit organization focusing on curriculum development, child and program assessment, publishing, professional development, and research for early childhood education.
HighScope Educational Research Foundation is an early childhood leader in pursuit of a world where all children have the opportunity to develop socially, emotionally, and cognitively so they have satisfying, productive lives. HighScope supports the development of young children from birth through age eight by developing and providing quality, research-based, high-quality curricula, assessments, professional learning, and other supports in the context of families and their communities.
HighScope’s roots extend back to the Perry Preschool Project (1962–1967). Launched in Ypsilanti, Michigan and led by Ypsilanti Schools psychologist David Weikart and Perry Elementary School principal Charles Eugene Beatty, the Perry Preschool Project was one of the first early childhood programs in the United States intentionally designed to increase school success for preschool children living in poverty. Today, HighScope’s work can be found in classrooms throughout the United States and in educational settings around the globe.
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