Efficacy of the Getting Ready Intervention at Supporting Parental Engagement and Positive Outcomes for Preschool Children at Educational Risk


Project Information

Principal Investigator: Susan Sheridan
Co-Principal Investigator:
Funding Agency: USED-IES
Award Date:
Theme: Early Childhood, Families & Schools
Project URL: N/A

For more information please contact Susan Sheridan at ssheridan2@unl.edu.

Abstract

This efficacy trial focuses on the most important goals for young children at educational risk for school failure––changing developmental trajectories, narrowing the achievement gap and ensuring they enter kindergarten equipped with the requisite skills to take advantage of educational opportunities.

The primary aims of the study are to 1) test the efficacy of Getting Ready (GR) as a preventive intervention to enhance cognitive, language and social-emotional functioning for children identified early as demonstrating educational risk; 2) test the intervention effects on parent engagement and parent-teacher relationships; 3) uncover the potential role of parent engagement and relationships as mediators of positive outcomes; and 4) evaluate the long-term intervention effects through kindergarten.

We are testing strategies designed to improve learning experiences and opportunities for children at risk for educational failure, including those who are growing up in poverty and demonstrate early cognitive, language or socio-emotional delays relative to their peers as they enter preschool. Based on ecological theories of development, GR is intended to achieve its effects by strengthening relationships for children, creating partnerships between primary socializing systems and promoting continuity in educational experiences across home and school.

The two main intervention components in this study are triadic/collaborative planning and early childhood conjoint behavioral consultation (CBC), delivered as part of typical high quality preschool programming (e.g., home visits and parent-teacher conferences). The comparison condition provides services to families consistent with agency goals but does not deliver additional training in triadic/collaborative planning or participate in CBC.

Study participants include a total sample of 300 children, their parents or primary caregivers, and teachers from publically-funded rural and suburban preschool classrooms in a Midwestern state. Eligibility is measured according to the criteria for educational risk, defined as scoring 1.0 standard deviations or more below the mean (standard scores 85 or lower) on the DIAL-3. A two-cohort cluster randomized trial with repeated measures design and a year-long follow-up will be used, where classrooms (N=75, randomly assigned to treatment or comparison conditions) serve as the cluster level.

We are using a piecewise longitudinal multilevel model, with repeated measures and multilevel data structure, to address aims associated with intervention outcomes for children and parents. To test our mediation aim, we are utilizing a multilevel structural equation modeling that allows multiple simultaneous direct and indirect paths while modeling growth. A multi-method, multi-source measurement approach is being used to assess growth in child cognitive, language and social-emotional skills; parent engagement; and parent-teacher relationships. Teacher professional development (i.e., coaching) and fidelity assessment is being addressed in an intentional and comprehensive manner. For planning and analytic purposes, we will be gauging implementation indices (e.g., dosage, adherence, quality), participant responsiveness and differentiation across treatment and comparison groups.