Effective Early Childhood Education Programs: Meta-Analytic Lessons from High Quality Program Evaluations

Investigator: Greg Duncan

Graduate Student Researchers: Alejandra Albarrán, Briana Hinga, James Leak, David Lee, Weilin Li

Funding: National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs


Previous meta-analyses have found that early childhood interventions can be beneficial for children and families and that some programs, such as those aimed at low-income three- and four-year olds, provide desirable returns on investments. However, many critical questions remain unanswered, including the relative efficacy of adding family-support components to early childhood education programs as well as the relative role of curricula, teacher qualifications, group sizes, and student-teacher ratios in influencing the magnitude of effects.

Study Description

Under the auspices of the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs, a multi-university team is creating a meta-analytic database that synthesizes four decades of program evaluation research relevant to children from the prenatal period to age five.

This endeavor to collect, code, and input data will provide the capacity to conduct authoritative meta-analyses on a broad range of compelling policy, practice, and developmental issues. This database is unique in that it will also incorporate forms of intervention not typically included in early childhood evaluation reviews, such as health interventions and employment policies.