The Mississippi Legislative PEER Committee is releasing its report titled 2019 Report on the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013: An Evaluation of the Operation and Effectiveness of the Program.

MISS. CODE ANN. Section 37-21-51 (1972) requires the PEER Committee to review the Mississippi Department of Education’s (MDE) prekindergarten program annual reports and submit an independent evaluation of program operation and effectiveness before the beginning of the next phased-in period of funding.

Some of the Committee’s major findings include:

* For the funding period reviewed by PEER—FY 2017 through FY 2019—the Legislature appropriated $14.5 million to the state’s prekindergarten program. Of that amount, MDE expended $640,993 on administrative costs. This funding assisted fourteen early learning collaboratives in implementing prekindergarten programs that served approximately 2,220 students in the 2018-2019 school year.

* Since program implementation in FY 2014, MDE has improved its ability to measure prekindergarten program effectiveness by adding two valid tests to its evaluation. However, MDE’s method for evaluating effectiveness fails to adequately measure collaborative or site success.

* MDE requires collaboratives to use a curriculum that does not have research evidence to support its effectiveness in improving student learning.

* PEER’s independent evaluation of scores on each of MDE’s tests more accurately measures program and site effectiveness and provides valuable diagnostic information for MDE and the collaboratives. For example, PEER’s evaluation of Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) scores for the 2018-2019 school year found that collaborative classrooms performed extremely well on the Emotional Support domain when compared nationally, performed close to the national norms on the Classroom Organization domain, and performed worse than the national norms on the Instructional Support domain.

You can read the report here. 

Release from the Mississippi Legislative PEER Committee.