Below are resources for early childhood professionals and those serving the early childhood community.

Making the Case for P-3 Approaches  To raise achievement in predominantly disadvantaged school districts, the Program Evaluation Division (PED) of the North Carolina General Assembly recommends focusing on early childhood learning, defined as the years birth through third grade.  The PED summarized their work: “predominantly disadvantaged districts that perform well [average or better on standardized state tests] are already demonstrating above average achievement on tests at the end of third grade. This higher level of achievement likely stems from educational experiences during the early childhood years, defined by education researchers as the period from birth to third grade. At the same time, disadvantaged districts that are already performing below grade level in third grade find it very challenging to make up that gap through growth between third and eighth grade.”

North Carolina Should Focus on Early Childhood Learning in Order to Raise Achievement in Predominantly Disadvantaged School Districts Using a national dataset of average test scores for school districts from 2009–2015, the authors identified characteristics of predominantly disadvantaged school districts in North Carolina that demonstrate average or better performance on standardized state tests and subsequently completed case studies of 12 such districts. The authors found that the gap in achievement between predominantly disadvantaged districts and more advantaged districts is already present by third grade and that the small group of high-performing predominantly disadvantaged districts are already achieving these average or better test results in third grade. Thereafter, these districts maintain similar rates of student growth compared to other disadvantaged districts. High-achieving predominantly disadvantaged districts share several characteristics including focusing on early education; increasing or maximizing student learning time; attracting, developing, and retaining high-quality teachers; using data and coaching to improve instruction; seeking additional outside resources; and promoting a local school board focus on policy and academic achievement. (North Carolina General Assembly Program Evaluation Division)