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ECE Teachers’ Postsecondary Courses and Children’s Outcomes

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Examining relationships between teachers’ coursework, instructional quality, and their students’ outcomes
  • Client
    RAND; University of Colorado, Denver
  • Dates
    2020 - 2024


Research is needed on how preschool teachers’ coursework influences effectiveness. 

The landscape of early childhood education (ECE) is often characterized as a patchwork of programs guided by diverse standards, regulatory environments, and purposes. As a result, there is a lack of consensus in the field about the knowledge, competencies, and qualifications that ECE teachers need to be effective. 

Although much of the policy debate has focused on the minimum educational qualifications teachers should possess, there is an increasing recognition that the content of teachers’ postsecondary experiences may also be an important indicator of teacher quality. The specific coursework content or the comprehensiveness and depth of the course of study may be important levers underlying critical relationships among teacher education, teaching competencies, and children’s learning outcomes. This line of research could help inform the articulation of the types of knowledge ECE teachers need to be effective. 


NORC is using regression methods to link teachers’ transcripts with children’s outcomes.

NORC at the University of Chicago, in collaboration with the University of Colorado, Denver, and RAND, will conduct an in-depth content analysis of teachers’ postsecondary coursework from their college transcripts. The project is called Preschool Teachers’ Postsecondary Coursework, Instructional Quality, and Children’s Cognitive and Social-Emotional Outcomes. 

We will use regression methods to examine the relationships between the specific coursework content a teacher has completed and their instructional quality and between specific coursework content and children’s cognitive, language, and social-emotional outcomes.


The study is still in progress.

NORC will provide results upon its completion.

Principal Investigator

Principal Research Scientist

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