How can education professionals identify and select evidence-based practices or programs?
Page 5: Resources: Three to Five
For Your Information
In the early childhood field, an evidence-based practice is defined as:
“[A] decision-making process that integrates the best available research evidence with family and professional wisdom and values.”
(Buysse & Wesley, 2006; Buysse et al., 2006)
Although the term “early childhood” broadly refers to the population of children ages birth to eight, this page will focus on preschool-aged children, ages three to five. As with early intervention, high-quality research is still the basis for defining an EBP in the field of early childhood, but professional expertise also plays a role. Because family members are often active participants in early childhood education, their circumstances and preferences should be considered when choosing an EBP.
Once you have determined a child’s needs, the family’s preferences, and your own available resources, you can begin your search for an EBP. Because the collection of EBPs is constantly changing and being updated, it is important to consult reliable sources that provide current information. Click on the links below for lists of organizations that are trustworthy sources for current evidence-based practices and for training resources in early childhood. As you review these resources, keep in mind that each organization or agency has its own rating system for evaluating the quality of a practice or program. You should become familiar with each organization or agency’s rating system so that you can make an informed decision.
Description: This center promotes the use of evidence-based early literacy learning practices with children identified with disabilities, developmental delays, and those at-risk for poor outcomes. The CELLreviews are research syntheses of early literacy learning studies.
Research review with key findings (includes effect sizes)
Description: This center offers materials related to the social-emotional development and school readiness of young children. Information on EBP can be found in the “Research Synthesis” and “What Works Briefs” sections of the site.
Description: This organization offers a vast collection of Recommended Practices derived from scientific literature on effective practices for young children and their families, as well as the knowledge and experience of those who work with them.
Description: This site features resources about evidence-based models and practices that improve the social-emotional outcomes for young children with delays or disabilities or at risk for them. On the “What Do You Want To Do?” menu, select “Browse Resources.” Of particular interest are the Issue Briefs, Roadmap to Effective Intervention Practices, and Tools.
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EBP resources that target children, including young children
The resources in this section provide information on practices and programs for children of all ages, including those ages three to five.
Description: Although useful for improving the achievement of all students, these resources target struggling learners, students with special needs and diverse learners. Of particular interest in searching for EBPs are the “Research: Meta-analyses” and “Summaries and the Practitioner Guides.”
Description: These resources focus on social and emotional learning (SEL) from preschool through high school. Of particular interest is the CASEL Guide, which “provides a systematic framework for evaluating the quality of classroom-based social and emotional learning programs.”
N/A (Reports evaluation outcomes such as improved academic outcomes and increased positive social behavior.)
Description: This site provides evidence of effectiveness for home visiting program models that target families with pregnant women and children from birth to age five. Sections of the website of particular interest include “Program Model Reports,” “Outcome Domain Reports,” and “Implementation Profiles.”
Description: This site provides information about evidence-based practices for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Of particular interest are the EBP Briefs and the EBP Fact Sheets.
Although the project Promising Practices Network (PPN) on Children, Families and Communities has ended, this document contains the summaries of the Programs That Work section of the PPN website, as of June 2014.
Description: This registry includes a searchable list of EBPs for all young children and their families, not just those with mental health or substance abuse issues. You can find these evidence-based interventions by going to the “Find an Intervention” menu.
Program review with key findings (includes effect size)
This site reviews the research on educational practices and programs and makes available information useful in facilitating evidence-based decision making. It has a variety of helpful resources:
Find What Works: Summarizes and compares the evidence level of interventions
Practice Guides: Present recommendations about addressing classroom challenges
Intervention Reports: Summarize high-quality research findings for practices and programs
English Language Learners
Children and Youth with Disabilities
For Find What Works:
Positive or potentially positive
Mixed effects/no discernable
Negative or potentially negative
For Practice Guides:
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Training resources for personnel working with young children (i.e., CONNECT Modules)
The resource below is largely intended for training purposes. Although it presents research evidence about the effectiveness of a practice or program, its primary purpose is to model implementation.
Description: This site offers modules that are designed to build the ability of early childhood practitioners to use the integration of multiple sources of evidence to make decisions about practice dilemmas. These modules focus on how those working with young children with disabilities and their families in a variety of learning environments and inclusive settings can respond to the challenges they face every day.
Communication for Collaboration
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Another source of information about EBPs is the IRIS Center’s Evidence-Based Practice Summaries. These summaries of research about the effectiveness of instructional strategies and interventions contain links to research reports and include information about an intervention’s level of effectiveness and the age groups for which it is designed.
Note: The activities on Perspectives & Resources pages 4, 5, and 6 are identical, with the exception of the age group. Complete an activity for the age group most relevant to your current or future position.
Choose a topic that interests you or might be helpful for a child and family you are currently working with. Using the resources referenced on this page, print out and complete the EBP Comparison Worksheet. Choose the most appropriate practice or program from the ones listed on your completed worksheet and explain why you chose it.