MEP both engages in and supports research

The Steering Committee guides the topical focus of MEP-Directed research annually. The research agenda is designed and carried out by MEP Directors, staff, and student researchers. Throughout the year, MEP-Directed research engages in a series of related and thematically aligned research questions. This structure allows for MEP-Directed research to be focused on problems of practice that are pressing for the District and of current interest for the academic community. Research focus areas must be mutually beneficial to the District and University for MEP to engage.

The focus of MEP-Directed work from 2016-2018 is MMSD’s four-year-old Kindergarten (4K) program. MEP approaches this research with an equity lens given the widely demonstrated potential for educational interventions prior to Kindergarten to enhance academic success of children who have historically been at greater risk of experiencing academic challenges.

Research questions for 2017- 2018

In 2017-2018 MEP remains focused on student outcomes in early grades, transitioning focus to student attendance and chronic absenteeism in grades K-3:

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What are the attendance patterns in MMSD’s early grades?

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What is the relationship, if any, of attendance patterns in 5K to attendance patterns in 3rd grade?

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How is attendance associated with student achievement? How does this association vary by child and family attributes?

New Report: What Happens When Children Miss School? Unpacking Elementary School Absences in MMSD

Research questions for 2016-2017

In 2016-2017 MEP focused on addressing some basic descriptive questions about the District’s 4K program:

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Who participates in MMSD’s 4K program?

4K Infographic

Although MMSD provides universal access to a part-day 4K-program, opting-in to enroll is not universal. An important first question is how does enrollment in 4K differ among different groups of children? Are students’ background and family characteristics associated with patterns of attendance? For example, are children of color or low-income children more or less likely to attend 4K than other children? Does home language predict attendance? Finally, do program elements (such as time of day or type of school) influence enrollment?

Madison Metropolitan School District Four-year-old Kindergarten: Patterns of Enrollment

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How is participation in 4K associated with school readiness? How does this association vary by child and family attributes?

What is the association between 4K participation and the academic and social and behavioral competencies of children entering Kindergarten? How if at all does this association vary by race/ethnicity, parental education or free and reduced-price lunch eligibility? How, if at all, does this association vary across 4K sites?

Preparing the Littlest Learners: Four-Your-Old Kindergarten Enrollment and Kindergarten Readiness in MMSD