UMass Boston Researchers Evaluating Effectiveness of Massachusetts Preschool Expansion Program

Colleen Locke | February 04, 2016
UMass Boston Researchers Evaluating Effectiveness of Massachusetts Preschool Expansion Program

Professors Anne Douglass and Monica Yudron Teaming with Abt Associates

UMass Boston Professors Anne Douglass and Monica Yudron are part of the research team hired to evaluate expanded preschool offerings in Massachusetts.

Through the Preschool Development Grants Program, in December 2014, the U.S. Department of Education gave the commonwealth and 12 other states funds to expand high-quality preschool programs in high-need communities.

In Massachusetts, the grant was used to implement full-day, yearlong programs for four-year-olds through public-private partnerships between the local public school districts and licensed early learning providers. In fall 2015, 45 new preschool classrooms serving 858 children were opened; a second $15 million award announced in October will serve more four-year-olds in Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield in fall 2016.

The state is using some of the grant money to pay for both an implementation study and an impact study.

Douglass, an associate professor of early education and care and the program director of the bachelor’s and post master’s certificate programs in early education and care, is the project co-lead for the implementation study component of the evaluation along with Amy Checkoway from Abt Associates.

“One reason the implementation study is so important is that it provides ongoing feedback to communities that they can use to refine and improve their implementation to maximize children’s healthy development and early learning,” Douglass said.

Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education and Development Monica Yudron is the project co-lead for the impact study along with Todd Grindal from Abt Associates.

“Our impact study will build off of and complement the implementation study,” Yudron said. “Most importantly, what we learn may shape pre-kindergarten across the state because it will describe the ways in which children and families who participate are different from those who do not."

The evaluation contract is for up to four years, and is valued at $3.1 million.

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve more than 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit

Tags: early education , education , research

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