238685 School Readiness and Healthy People 2020: Exploring an Innovative Population Measure for Child Development

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:50 AM

Taniesha Woods, PhD , National Center for Children and Poverty, Columbia University, New York, NY
Elizabeth Isakson, MD , National Center for Children and Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY
Health and learning are linked across the life course. Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) adopted a School Readiness Objective (EMC -1) in acknowledgment of the important role education plays in health and well-being. Education policy has struggled for 20 years to define and measure school readiness. We examined the existing school readiness literature to identify the current definition, measurement and scalability of education initiatives. Methods: A literature review of school readiness was conducted. The review sought to identify initiatives that defined and measured school readiness. Initiatives were categorized as national, state, or local. Initiatives were then ranked by three criteria: definition, measurement, and scalability to an existing national survey. Results: Three national initiatives were identified; Getting Ready: School Readiness Indicators Initiative, Action Team on School Readiness, and National Educational Goals Panel. The quality of these efforts varied across the three criteria. Seven states were identified as currently using a population-based school readiness measure. The states rankings varied greatly on definition and measurement criteria. Scalability remains a significant challenge. Twenty localities are using the Early Development Index (EDI) in conjunction with United Way and UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities. The EDI ranked high in definition, measurement and scalability. We identify the National Assessment as Educational Progress (NAEP) as a potential pre-existing assessment for administering the EDI. Conclusion: Defining and measuring school readiness remains challenging. The measure that best fits the public health population-based objective of HP2020 ECM-1 is the EDI. A potential vehicle for scalability is the NAEP.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the importance of HP2020 Objective EMC-1 to infant and child health 2. Discuss risks, benefits, and history of measuring school readiness 3. Demonstrate a potential assessment tool and mechanism for collection of a nationally representative data point

Keywords: Child Health Promotion, Child Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have conducted research and have policy experience on early childhood education and learning and how this is linked to later educational and life outcomes.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.