Measuring effectiveness refers to the systematic collection of data to examine whether a program has achieved its goals. Depending on the program’s maturity and funding source, the effectiveness of an early childhood program may be examined for different reasons. For a new experimental program, research on effectiveness examines whether the program is capable of achieving its intended outcomes. Programs that are well established examine effectiveness with the goal of improving over time. Policy makers and funders often are interested in the effectiveness of established programs for purposes of accountability.

While the motivation to measure the effectiveness of programs varies, it is an important activity across the full spectrum of early childhood programs. These programs include public preschools, home visiting programs, Early Head Start and Head Start, ...

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