Virginia Department of Education
In partnership with SRI International and RAND Corporation, SRC conducted an evaluation of the expansion of Virginia’s preschool program (VPI+). The evaluation included summative, formative, and cost effectiveness components, and evaluated the experiences of thousands of children, and the programming in eleven school districts throughout the state of Virginia.
Building and Managing a Robust Data Collection System
Our team administered summative assessments (the Woodcock-Johnson III: Tests of Achievement, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, and the Head Toes Knees Shoulders task) to over 3,000 children at each data collection cycle in fall 2016, spring 2017 fall 2017, spring 2018, and fall 2018. The purpose of these assessments was to measure impacts on school readiness across school readiness domains, and to examine variations in impacts by program and child characteristics. Our team accomplished this by hiring and training data collection teams across the state of Virginia. Across the study, these teams consisted of about 40 data collectors at each round of data collection. Throughout each cycle, SRC staff also managed data cleaning efforts to ensure a high level of accuracy.
Examining Cost Effectiveness
SRC, in partnership with RAND corporation, led a cost study which included a benefit-cost analysis to understand the value of the investment in VPI+ relative to the magnitude of its impact on children’s school readiness outcomes. Our team collected two years of cost data for each of the 11 participating Virginia school divisions and the Virginia Department of Education. These data represented the full cost of implementing VPI+, and thus included expenditures supported by the grant as well as district and other local investments. The SRC team cleaned, coded, and summarized the data to share with division leaders during interviews to ensure the accuracy of our estimations. We presented the results of our cost research in an interim report between the study years and in a final report that included a benefit-cost analysis at the end of the evaluation.