Informing the Performance-Based Contract Between First 5 LA and LAUP, Volume 1: Child Progress in the 2012-2013 Program Year

Informing the Performance-Based Contract Between First 5 LA and LAUP, Volume 1: Child Progress in the 2012-2013 Program Year

Published: Oct 24, 2013
Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
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Associated Project

Universal Preschool Child Outcomes Study (UPCOS)

Time frame:

Prepared for:

First 5 LA

Key Findings
  • Children in LAUP ended the year performing at or above the national average in expressive Spanish-bilingual language skills; fine motor and literacy skills (among those assessed in English), particularly early writing; mathematics skills (among those assessed in English); and social-emotional development and approaches to learning. Their progress in these areas kept pace with that of the national sample of same-age peers.
  • For children in LAUP who took the English assessment, mathematics abilities were similar to those of a national sample of English-speaking peers, and these children maintained their skills relative to peers over the program year.
  • Children’s English vocabulary continued to lag behind national peers, though children who primarily speak English at home made significant progress in English vocabulary development. Children who spoke only English at home did not make significant progress in vocabulary, suggesting a need for additional attention to increasing the sophistication of words presented.
  • Mathematics continues to be an area needing greater support for children taking the assessment in Spanish. They scored more than one standard deviation below the national mean.
  • Targets are reasonable and achievable in LAUP; children’s progress met or exceeded the targets set for the 2012–2013 year.
  • Targets continue to be valid and meaningful. For children whose scores met or exceeded targets, scores increased on average relative to a national sample of same-age peers. Among children whose scores fell below targets, scores declined on average relative to a national sample of peers. 

In February 2004, First 5 LA adopted a 10-year universal preschool master plan to increase the availability of high quality preschool spaces in Los Angeles County and created Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) to implement the plan. A shared objective of First 5 LA and LAUP is to support early learning and development for the four-year-old children that have an opportunity to participate in LAUP programs. To meet this objective, First 5 LA and LAUP have begun to track the progress of children during their year in LAUP programs as an element of the performance-based contract between the two organizations. Beginning in the 2009–2010 program year, Mathematica Policy Research worked with First 5 LA and LAUP to identify the domains of development they sought to track, identify appropriate measures, and set targets for progress across the year. Those targets were applied for the first time in the 2011–2012 program year based on data collected by Mathematica as part of the fifth phase of the Universal Preschool Child Outcomes Study (UPCOS).

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