Georgia's Pre-K Professional Development Evaluation: Technical Appendix

Early, D. M., Pan, Y., & Maxwell, K. L.
December, 2014

Georgia has been at the forefront of the pre-kindergarten movement since implementing its pre-k program in 1992 and creating the nation’s first state-funded universal pre-k program in 1995. Georgia’s Pre-K, administered by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), aims to provide high-quality preschool experiences to four-year-olds to help prepare them for kindergarten. Past research indicates that participation in state-funded pre-k is linked to higher academic and social skills in children when they enter school, with higher quality programs linked to greater gains. Thus, the quality of classroom practices and teacher-child interactions is critical to ensuring that pre-k provides maximum benefits to children.

This study evaluated the impact of two professional development models on teacher-child interactions in Georgia’s Pre-K classrooms. At the start of each school year of this three-year study (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14), lead teachers were randomly selected to participate and randomly assigned to one of the professional development models or a control group. Because of this rigorous design, we can be confident that any differences between the groups at the end of the study were caused by the professional development activities and that the findings reflect the type of change we would anticipate among Georgia’s Pre-K teachers if these models were broadly implemented. Data collection included pre- and posttest classroom observations and teacher questionnaires, as well as coach/instructor questionnaires and administrative information regarding participation in the professional development activities.

The final report is available here.

Citation: Early, D. M., Pan, Y., & Maxwell, K. L. (2014). Georgia's Pre-K professional development evaluation: Technical appendix. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.