Evaluation of the Early Childhood Readiness Demonstration Projects and School Readiness Certification System
The Texas School Ready! (TSR!) Project consists of communities in which independent districts, Head Start agencies, and child care providers agree to collaborate as partners in providing high-quality instruction to 3- and 4-year-old, income-eligible, at-risk children to promote their readiness for school. At the classroom level, all teachers in TSR! schools receive instructional materials, professional development, and mentoring to improve the instruction they provide to at-risk children. TSR! teachers also receive hardware and software for assessing student progress three times per year. AIR, Gibson Consulting Group, and Shapley Research Associates conducted a comprehensive evaluation of TSR! to assess program implementation, fiscal management, and student outcomes of the program, as required by Texas State Legislature.
The evaluation found that the program was clearly and effectively structured at the state and regional levels, with extensive mentor and teacher oversight procedures in place to ensure fidelity to the program model. AIR also was able to confirm that, in general, the per classroom and per student costs of the program declined each year of the program and that sound financial accounting and budget management processes were in place for managing the programs. Throughout the evaluation, AIR worked closely with the Legislative Budget Board to communicate progress and findings of the study.
The research team analyzed data collected through document review; surveys of school and center administrators, teachers, and parents in a sample of 19 TSR! communities; and data sets for student performance outcome analyses for three cohorts of more than 63,000 students. The evaluation team also conducted intensive case studies in 12 of the 19 sample communities to gather financial data; interview administrators, program staff, and teachers; observe classrooms; and collect documents describing program implementation.