Evaluation of Preschool Special Education Practices (EPSEP)
Sources Sought Notice
for providers of supports for children
in inclusive preschool classrooms
Policymakers have long recognized that providing appropriate supports is key to improving educational outcomes for preschool children with disabilities. The most recent updates to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 2004 increased the law’s emphasis on enabling these children to participate and make progress in the general preschool curriculum, and to improve their developmental and pre-academic outcomes. Yet although nearly 750,000 children ages 3 through 5 receive services through IDEA, little is known about the effectiveness of supports that can increase their participation in the general curriculum and promote the acquisition of skills that will be important for later school success.
Mathematica and its partners, the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and the University of Florida, are conducting the Evaluation of Preschool Special Education Practices (EPSEP) to provide new information on preschool special education programs and inform policymakers and educators about promising practices to improve outcomes for preschool children with disabilities. The study has two objectives:
- Assess the feasibility of conducting, and begin preparations for, a large-scale randomized controlled trial evaluation of supports used with children who have disabilities and are served in inclusive preschool classrooms.
- Provide educators and policymakers with nationally representative descriptive information on preschool special education programs, and researchers with a data file for secondary analyses.
To address the first objective, the study team has developed a design plan and is disseminating a Sources Sought Notice for providers of supports for children in inclusive preschool classrooms. Should interested parties with the capabilities requested respond to the Sources Sought Notice, Mathematica may issue a request for proposals (RFP) to provide formal training and implementation support during a large-scale impact evaluation.
To address the second objective, the study team has collected existing information and conducted surveys with all state 619 coordinators and a nationally representative sample of district preschool special education coordinators. The findings will be used to develop a research brief for a broad audience.