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FOCUS on Young Children's Learning

FOCUS on Young Children's Learning

How is FOCUS working to support children, families, teachers and programs?

FOCUS is New Mexico’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS). It offers a framework for quality improvement in early care and education programs. FOCUS provides criteria that defines what high- quality programs can do to support children and their families. FOCUS also provides makes programs with consultants available to who can help them program staff understand and meet the quality criteria. Child Trends has been contracted to conduct an evaluation of FOCUS that will inform continuous improvement of the system. Child Trends is addressing the following research questions:

  • What are the experiences of directors and teacher who receive FOCUS consultation?

  • What activities in FOCUS are working well to support programs?

  • Howeffective are the FOCUS Essential Elements of Quality working to identify high-quality practices, such as promoting the full participation of each child and intentional teaching?

  • How well does the FOCUS verification and rating process working to identify programs at different levels of quality?

  • What are the experiences of directors and teacher who receive FOCUS consultation?

  • What activities in FOCUS are working well to support programs?

  • What improvements can be recommended for the system?

To answer the research questions, Child Trends’ will be collecting data from programs participating in FOCUS. Data collection may include program observations, interviews, surveys, and assessments of children’s development. Parents of children in programs may be invited to participate in a phone interview. All programs, families, and children participating in the study will receive a token of thanks such as a gift card or book.

“The goal of the study is to provide unbiased information that will help program developers and policymakers make decisions about FOCUS,” said Study Director, Kathryn Tout. ”It is important that the study represent the perspectives of all who are involved with FOCUSincluding directors, teachers, families, children, consultants, verifiers and administrators.” The results of the study will be shared on the New Mexico Kids website when they are available at the end of 2017.

Child Trends is a national research organization with a mission of conducting research and evaluation to improve the lives of children. The FOCUS evaluation is led by Drs. Kathryn Tout and Sarah Daily. Child Trends works in collaboration with the University of New Mexico’s Center for Education Policy Research and the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD). For more information about the evaluation, or if you have questions about your program’s participation in the FOCUS evaluation, please contact Danielle Hegseth, Project Manager.