Variations in Enrollment Practices in the NC Pre-K Program: 2016-2017 Statewide Evaluation

Peisner-Feinberg, E. S., Van Manen, K. W., & Mokrova, I. L.
February, 2018

The primary purpose of the 2016-2017 NC Pre-Kindergarten (NC Pre-K) Evaluation study was to examine variability in enrollment practices within the statewide Pre-K Program. Four major categories of enrollment practices were examined: recruitment, application, placement, and waitlist. The study involved all 91 local NC Pre-K Program contracts, with data gathered through both surveys and phone interviews. The results provided information about local variations in implementation of the NC Pre-K Program and how these variations impacted who was served and not served by the program; how placement decisions were made; who was on the waitlist (i.e., those who applied to the NC Pre-K Program but were not selected); and the extent of collaboration and coordination of NC Pre-K with other programs and agencies. Second, these data also were used to inform the feasibility and design of the subsequent year's evaluation utilizing a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design. These data provided information about how children were recruited and placed, which populations of children were served by the program, where there were sufficient waitlists to conduct random assignment into the program, and the likely make-up of the control group to help guide sample selection, study recruitment, and the development of procedures for collaborating with local Pre-K administrators and programs on the study.

In addition, key characteristics of the NC Pre-K Program during the 2016-2017 year, along with trends over time (2003-2004 to 2016-2017), were examined based on statewide administrative data (NC Pre-K Kids and NC Pre-K Plan). Information examined included characteristics of the local NC Pre-K settings, the children served, the qualifications of teachers, and the distributions and counts of program participants and service providers. Since the inception of the statewide Pre-K program in North Carolina in 2001-2002, the evaluation has been conducted by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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Citation: Peisner-Feinberg, E. S., Van Manen, K. W., & Mokrova, I. L. (2018). Variations in enrollment practices in the NC Pre-K Program: 2016-2017 statewide evaluation. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.