Virginia Preschool Initiative - Plus (VPI+) Comprehensive Evaluation | SRI International

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Virginia Preschool Initiative - Plus (VPI+) Comprehensive Evaluation

SRI is evaluating the implementation and impact of Virginia's use of federal funding to increase access to and improve the quality of state-funded preschool in 13 school districts in high-need communities.

The Virginia Department of Education contracted with SRI International to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the implementation and impact of Virginia Preschool Initiative Plus (VPI+), states’s Preschool Development Grant from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. VPI+ is intended to increase access to quality preschool and improve children’s school readiness. The evaluation is providing information to support and improve implementation of an expanded high-quality preschool program in 13 school districts across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

SRI is conducting formative program assessments, summative child assessments, and a cost analysis. The evaluation team uses data from the Virginia Longitudinal Data System as well as data collected through the evaluation to provide feedback to the Virginia Department of Education, districts, and teaching staff to improve instruction and program implementation. The formative evaluation examines changes in students’ access to quality preschool and comprehensive services, teachers’ access to professional development, classroom quality, and factors that influence implementation.  

The summative evaluation examines changes in the five essential school readiness domains and later school and academic outcomes for children in VPI+ classrooms compared with similar children who have not yet participated in VPI+ (regression discontinuity study design) or children who did not receive formal public preschool in the same school districts (longitudinal study design). The evaluation also examines variations in child outcomes by child and program characteristics, where possible. Data collection includes direct assessments and a brief teacher checklist of all children in VPI+ classrooms during the fall and spring of preschool and the fall of kindergarten. Administrative data (e.g., attendance, special education status) are collected from the school districts and the state. All districts receive biannual summaries of the formative and summative evaluation findings to help them strengthen program implementation.

The third evaluation component – a cost-benefit analysis – examines the costs associated with VPI+ and relates costs to the specific measure of program effectiveness: school readiness.