New Mexico Prekindergarten Research Alliance

This alliance seeks to examine factors related to improving the quality and effectiveness of New Mexico’s prekindergarten (preK) programs and their impact on children’s school readiness and grade 3 success. Alliance work includes developing a research agenda, conducting research, and supporting the use of data and evidence to improve practice, policy, and student outcomes.

Goals

  • Inform the state-level creation and maintenance of a comprehensive preK–12 data system
  • Extend the evidence base on the impact of New Mexico’s preK initiatives on student outcomes
  • Refine and develop innovations to support the alignment and measurement of standards and benchmarks for early childhood programs

Research Focus

The alliance has identified the following topics as priorities:

  • Program quality
  • Program participation and student success
  • Transition to kindergarten
  • Data availability and use

Alliance Flyer

screen cap of alliance flyer

Work Updates

2017

Summer/Fall

During this period, the New Mexico Prekindergarten Research Alliance liaison and members communicated to discuss alliance projects and to plan for sunsetting the alliance when the current REL Southwest contract ends in November 2017.

The final alliance meeting was held via webinar. Members discussed the preliminary results of the alliance's last two projects, which both relate to the state's new kindergarten readiness assessment. The Kindergarten Observation Tool (KOT) Validation study assessed the validity and reliability of the new assessment. In addition to sharing key findings, REL Southwest staff shared an early version of an animated video about the study. The study report and video will be available on the IES website in December. Next, members discussed the results of the New Mexico Kindergarten Readiness technical assistance project, which compared the KOT to the Beginning of Year (BOY) Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) composite assessment.

The meeting ended with a discussion about sunsetting the alliance and ways members can remain in touch. All members were then recognized for their participation in and commitment to the alliance. Alliance members were also sent certificates of appreciation from REL Southwest.

Spring

During this quarter, the New Mexico Prekindergarten Research Alliance liaison and members communicated regularly to discuss alliance projects and plan and hold events.

On March 21, the alliance sponsored a bridge event webinar titled "Leading the Way: How States Are Addressing Early Learning Under ESSA." Cohosted by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO), this webinar provided resources and strategies for integrating early learning into state plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), including examples from state leaders in Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, and Washington.

On May 31, the alliance convened via webinar for a quarterly meeting. The primary goal was to discuss the initial results of two alliance projects that analyzed the state's new kindergarten readiness assessment. The Kindergarten Observation Tool (KOT) Validation study assessed the validity and reliability of the new assessment. The New Mexico PreK Kindergarten Readiness technical assistance project compared the KOT to the Beginning of Year (BOY) Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) composite assessment. In addition, members discussed whether to continue some or all aspects of the alliance's work after the current REL Southwest contract ends in November 2017.

Winter

During this quarter, the New Mexico Prekindergarten Research Alliance liaison and members communicated regularly to address questions, discuss alliance projects, and plan and hold events.

On February 27, the alliance convened via webinar for a quarterly meeting. Members received a presentation on the New Mexico PreK Participation for Special Populations project, which was completed in January. The presentation informed a follow-up discussion, as alliance members considered the factors affecting preK participation and potential ways to improve it.

Members also received updates on two other alliance projects. The New Mexico Kindergarten Readiness technical assistance project is supporting alliance members in analyzing differences in preK student performance on the state's new Kindergarten Observation Tool (KOT) and the Beginning of Year (BOY) Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) composite assessment. REL Southwest anticipates this project will run through April or May. Progress is also being made on the Kindergarten Observation Tool Validation study, which is assessing the tool's validity, reliability, and fairness. REL Southwest anticipates that a public report of the findings will be published later this year.

In addition, the alliance began planning for a bridge event webinar, "Leading the Way: How States Are Addressing Early Learning Under ESSA," which was held March 21, 2017. Cohosted by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO), this webinar provided resources and strategies for integrating early learning into state plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), including examples from state leaders in Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, and Washington. The New Mexico Prekindergarten Research Alliance liaison contributed to the planning and presentation of this bridge event.

2016

Fall

During this quarter, the New Mexico Prekindergarten Research Alliance liaison and members communicated regularly to address questions and concerns and to plan and hold events.

On November 9, the alliance convened for a combined meeting and workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Members received a presentation on the Using GIS Mapping to Understand PreK Availability and Need in New Mexico project, including how to use the ArcGIS website to produce interactive maps to examine topics such as poverty, educational attainment, and tribal boundaries. Members then received hands-on practice using a resource tool designed to help them access research publications and data to address questions in the alliance's research agenda.

Progress also continued on the alliance projects. Technical assistance and data analysis for the New Mexico PreK Participation for Special Populations project and the New Mexico PreK Kindergarten Readiness project were completed. In addition, staff completed initial data analysis for the Kindergarten Observation Tool Validation study.

Summer

On August 2, the alliance sponsored a bridge event webinar "Preschool to Kindergarten: Successfully Navigating the Transition." This research-to-practice webinar examined current research on supporting children's transition to kindergarten as well as examples of promising transition practices that districts are using around the nation.

Progress continued on the alliance projects as well. Technical assistance on the New Mexico PreK Participation for Special Populations project and the New Mexico PreK Kindergarten Readiness project are expected to be completed in early 2017. Staff continued data analysis and preparing the workshop materials for the Using GIS Mapping to Understand PreK Availability and Need in New Mexico project, and completed the teacher cognitive interviews and continued analysis for the Kindergarten Observation Tool Validation Study.

Spring

During this quarter, the New Mexico Prekindergarten Research Alliance liaison communicated regularly with members to address their questions and concerns. In addition, REL Southwest staff and alliance members began planning for an upcoming bridge event webinar, Preschool to Kindergarten: Successfully Navigating the Transition, which was held on August 2.

Technical assistance continued on the New Mexico PreK Participation for Special Populations project and the New Mexico PreK Kindergarten Readiness project. These projects are expected to be completed in early 2017.

In March, REL Southwest also received approval for two new technical assistance projects. The Using GIS Mapping to Understand PreK Availability and Need in New Mexico project will assist alliance members and state education agency staff in developing a comprehensive set of Geographic Information System (GIS) maps describing statewide participation in the New Mexico PreK program as well as program availability in relation to need. In addition, a workshop will build the capacity of state agencies to integrate the GIS maps into their data systems. The project team has begun data analysis and preparing the workshop materials.

The Kindergarten Observation Tool Validation Study will assess New Mexico's new Kindergarten Observation Tool (KOT). The study is the first validation assessment of the KOT. In addition, REL Southwest will provide technical assistance to support state policymakers in applying the study's findings as they refine the tool and scale up its use statewide. The project team has begun preliminary data analysis and recruiting teachers to participate in interviews.

Winter

REL Southwest presented the preliminary results of the New Mexico Transportation and Preschool Access project at the alliance's quarterly meeting in December 2015. This technical assistance and capacity building project included the topic of barriers to preschool participation in the state, particularly among Hispanic and Native American children in rural areas. The goal was to help guide state efforts to reduce or eliminate the barriers to participation. REL Southwest staff shared information about the state distribution of New Mexico PreK and Head Start programs with and without transportation services. Alliance members then discussed how the results might affect their current work with young children and preK programs in New Mexico.

Data analysis continued on the New Mexico PreK Participation for Special Populations project and the New Mexico PreK Kindergarten Readiness project. These projects are expected to be completed in late 2016.

2015

Fall

Work on the New Mexico Transportation and Preschool Access Study continued and is nearly complete. Information about the study and preliminary findings were presented at an alliance meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on December 11, 2015. The goal of this study is to identify and describe barriers to preschool participation in the state, particularly among Hispanic and Native American children in rural areas. REL Southwest staff began data collection by conducting focus groups with families who do not send their young children to preschool. The study's findings will help state agencies in New Mexico develop policies and strategies to reduce or eliminate barriers to preschool participation. The study report will include a GIS map showing the distribution of New Mexico PreK and Head Start programs with and without transportation services.

Work also continued on the New Mexico PreK Participation Study for Special Populations. Results of this study are expected in early 2016.

Summer

REL Southwest researchers continued to work on the New Mexico PreK Participation Study for Special Populations and the New Mexico Kindergarten Readiness Study. The results of these studies are expected in Spring 2016.

Work also began on the New Mexico Transportation and Preschool Access Study. The goal of this study is to identify and describe barriers to preschool participation in the state, particularly among Hispanic and Native American children in rural areas. REL Southwest staff began data collection by conducting focus groups with families who do not send their young children to preschool. The study’s findings will help state agencies in New Mexico develop policies and strategies to reduce or eliminate barriers to preschool participation.

Spring

During this period, REL Southwest researchers continued to work on the New Mexico PreK Participation Study for Special Populations and the New Mexico Kindergarten Readiness Study. Results of these studies are expected later this year.

In addition, a bridge event webinar titled “Teaching Math to Young Children: Introduction” was presented on April 15. Participants were introduced to the IES practice guide Teaching Math to Young Children. Dr. Sharon Carver, Ph.D., director of the Children's School at Carnegie Mellon University, provided an overview of the practice guide, with a focus on teaching children to see math in their everyday surroundings.

Winter

The alliance's Literature Review and Data Gaps Analysis Workshop was held in November 2014 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Alliance members received technical assistance on the use of the literature review and how it may support their current work in early childhood education. Additionally, members were asked to provide input on the following proposed projects: New Mexico Transportation and Preschool Access Study, Using GIS Mapping to Understand New Mexico PreK Availability and Need, and the New Mexico Kindergarten Readiness Study. REL Southwest staff are currently refining these studies.

An alliance quarterly meeting was held via webinar in January 2015 to update members on the new projects. Members provided valuable feedback on each study, and REL Southwest staff is now working to incorporate this feedback.

2014

October

The Literature Review and Data Gap Analysis project was completed, and a workshop to present the results to alliance members is planned for November 18 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. REL Southwest staff continued to work on the PreK Participation Study for Special Populations project, which has been delayed pending a formal data sharing agreement.

August–September

On August 12, alliance members participated in an early childhood bridge event titled Engaging Families in the Assessment Process and Use of Data: An Early Childhood Example. Featured speakers from Educare of Kansas City and the Juniper Gardens Children's Project shared their experiences using data to work with families and inform curriculum planning for children in early childhood programs. This webinar was a cross-REL bridge event with the REL Northeast and Islands.

The Literature Review and Data Gap Analysis project was completed, and a workshop to present the results to alliance members is planned for November 11 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

REL Southwest staff continued to work on the PreK Participation Study for Special Populations project, which has been delayed pending a formal data sharing agreement.

July

During a site visit on July 8, the liaison met with a small group of alliance members representing Head Start, community-based childcare, and other childcare-affiliated organizations to discuss current REL Southwest projects and applications to members' organizational goals and work plans. In addition, REL Southwest staff continued to work on the Literature Review and Data Gap Analysis project and the PreK Participation Study for Special Populations project. The literature review final report was approved in July, and the staff is now conducting the gap analysis. The PreK Participation study has been delayed until a memorandum of understating is obtained for access to state data.

June

Alliance members were invited to participate in an upcoming early childhood bridge event titled Engaging Families in the Assessment Process and Use of Data: An Early Childhood Example. This webinar will take place on August 12. Featured speakers from Educare of Kansas City and the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project will share their experiences using data to work with families and inform curriculum planning for children in early childhood programs. This webinar is a cross-REL bridge event between the REL Southwest and the REL Northeast & Islands.

A focus group meeting with three alliance members representing Head Start, community-based childcare, and other childcare-affiliated organizations will be held on July 8. The alliance members will discuss current REL Southwest projects and their applications to members’ organizational goals and work plans. The purpose of the meeting is to ensure input from members representing a variety of childcare interests.

Staff continued to work on the Literature Review and Data Gap Analysis project and the PreK Participation Study for Special Populations project. Both will conclude later in the summer.

May

The alliance met on May 20. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the 2013 New Mexico KIDS COUNT report, receive updates on current projects, discuss alliance planning teams, and identify possible new alliance members. Members suggested the following year 3 topics for consideration: dual language programs and their impact on early education in New Mexico, impact of behavior-related school suspensions on school readiness outcomes for prekindergarten children in New Mexico, and attendance rates and factors influencing attendance of prekindergarten children in state-funded programs.

The alliance liaison shared the NIEER 2013 State Preschool Yearbook with alliance members. The 2013 Yearbook includes a summary for each state and provides a description of national trends for enrollment in, quality of, and spending on state-funded preschool. Additionally, each state’s policies on access, quality standards, and resources are profiled.

Staff continues to work on the Literature Review and Data Gap Analysis project and the PreK Participation Study for Special Populations project.

April

The alliance liaison worked with REL Southwest partners AIR and Gibson Consulting Group to plan the next alliance meeting, scheduled for May 20, 2014. Work also began on the Literature Review and Data Gap Analysis project. Staff began reviewing the research literature to identify characteristics of effective preK programs and the skills and abilities at kindergarten entry that are associated with children's academic success.

REL Southwest researchers continued to move forward with the proposed PreK Participation Study for Special Populations. A data sharing agreement between REL Southwest and the New Mexico Public Education Department is being established. In addition, researchers are working to identify data sources that may inform policy work and decisionmaking for early childhood education in New Mexico. The next alliance meeting is scheduled for May 20.

March

The alliance did not meet in March. The Literature Review and Data Gap Analysis project has been approved. In addition, work continued on the proposal for the PreK Participation Study for Special Populations, and staff began meeting with the New Mexico Public Education Department to establish a data sharing agreement for the study. Researchers are attempting to identify a wide variety of data sources to support policy work, decisionmaking, and the future of early childhood education in New Mexico. A face-to-face alliance meeting to present updates on current projects will take place in early May.

Additionally, the New Mexico results of the 2013 Early Childhood Data Systems Survey were shared with alliance members. View the full report. This report indicates how well and to what extent early childhood data in each state are being shared across systems, such as public school accountability systems, social services, special education services, and medical care services.

February

The New Mexico Prekindergarten Research Alliance did not meet in February. However, work is well underway on two projects. The first, the PreK Participation Study for Special Populations, is examining preK participation patterns by student demographics, such as region, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity. The second project, a Literature Review and Data Gap Analysis, is reviewing the existing research literature and assessing what data are available in preparation for conducting a potential future study on the relationship between preK program characteristics and students’ academic progress.

January

The New Mexico Prekindergarten Research Alliance met to discuss the current projects underway and to solicit ideas from new alliance members. In addition, the alliance established two small workgroups organized by state agency: Department of Public Education and Head Start/Child Care. The research alliance liaison and the alliance researchers helped each workgroup think about the issues of greatest importance and impact to its agency’s goals and mission.

The following IES-approved projects were presented to the alliance for discussion and feedback:

  • PreK Participation Study for Special Populations
  • Literature Review and Data Gaps Analyses: Preparing for Future Analyses of New Mexico Prekindergarten Programs and Students’ Academic Progress