Preschool to Third Grade Alignment: What Do We Know and What Are We Learning? Policy Briefedit
An investment in early childhood education pays off when the benefits continue into adulthood. Although many recent preschool interventions have had positive, short-term effects on young children’s language, literacy, mathematics, executive function, and social-emotional development, studies show that related gains in cognitive and academic skills tend to diminish in early elementary school — a phenomenon commonly known as fade-out. Instructional alignment — or implementing educational systems that effectively build on the learning advances made in preschool — is one of the leading strategies for sustaining the benefits of early childhood education. This brief further examines the concept of instructional alignment and its potential for upholding the longer-term advantages of preschool programs. This paper looks specifically at two projects that MDRC is using to study the effects of instructional alignment on classrooms and students — the Making PreK Count/High 5s and ExCEL P3 projects. The brief summarizes the latest results from these projects and identifies how future work that is driven by MDRC’s studies can inform educational research, policy, and practice.