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Exploring Pre-K Age 4 Learning Standards and Their Role in Early Childhood Education: Research and Policy Implications

DeBruin-Parecki, Andrea; Slutzky, Carly
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Policy Information Center Report, ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Early Childhood Education, Preschool Children, Educational Standards, Education Policy, Learning Standards, Alignment of Standards, Preschool Teachers


Responses to survey, focus group, and interview questions advanced current knowledge regarding the purpose, history, and development of pre-K age 4 learning standards, comprehensiveness of standards documents, standards-related supports for teachers, and pre-K to kindergarten alignment. Systematic analysis of pre-K age 4 learning standards documents revealed extensive variation across titles, organization, terminology, and enriching materials, such as teacher strategies and child examples that assist teachers in implementing standards. A surprising finding is the positive view among early childhood leaders in focus groups and interviews toward establishing national pre-K age 4 learning standards. The report concludes with a brief discussion of implications of this study followed by recommendations to inform state and federal early childhood leaders, education-focused philanthropic foundations, and others in the field of early childhood education.

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