Boston Early Childhood Research Practice Partnership

Who we are 

The Boston Early Childhood Research Practice Partnership (RPP) team includes practitioners at the Boston Public Schools and researchers from the University of Michigan, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and MDRC. Our RPP began in 2007, with additional partners added over time. Together, we use data and research to improve educational experiences and outcomes for young children in Boston and beyond.

Meet our staff and students here.

What we do 

The Boston Early Childhood Research Practice Partnership team conducts research and strives to answer critical policy and programmatic questions about early childhood education in the Boston area and beyond. Our RPP projects include implementation studies, studies with causal research designs, descriptive studies, and analysis to answer fast-cycle practitioner questions. Together we strive to build a shared understanding of how rigorous research can be a critical tool for building high-quality early education programs that promote more equitable learning opportunities and child outcomes and how we can most effectively respond to pressing challenges and opportunities within classrooms and programs.

Explore all our publications here.

How we work

Our RPP operates on the following principles:

  1. District questions are the priority
  2. The district is in the driver’s seat in designing its programs
  3. Coaches’ and teachers’ voices are essential
  4. What you don't do is as important as what you do
  5. Trust is fundamental

Centering these practices, the Boston Early Childhood Research Practice Partnership focuses on addressing questions that are critical to the broader field as well as our local practitioner partners within Boston. We strive to co-create research projects and work together to implement them. The team continually shares early results to gather feedback and inform the direction of future analysis. 

Learn more about how we work in our chapter in The Future of Children publication "Research-Practice Partnerships to Strengthen Early Education".

Our Current Projects

Click on a project to learn more and explore all related publications. 

Research Study

Expanding Children's Early Learning from Pre-K to Third Grade Study (ExCEL P3)

The Expanding Children’s Early Learning (ExCEL) project is part of the Early Learning Network, an Institute of Education Sciences -funded network examining current policies and practices, identifying malleable factors associated with early learning and achievement, and developing tools to assess early learning instruction, interactions and environments. The study is led by MDRC and began in 2014. Data collection is ongoing.
Learn more
Young child doing crafts

Research Study

Impact of the Boston Pre-K Program Through Early Adulthood Study

The Boston Early Adulthood study is the second phase of an ongoing study, which follows 12,740 children who applied to the Boston Pre-K program between 2007 and 2011. The first students to experience the program are just reaching early adulthood, allowing our team to estimate the impacts of Boston Pre-K on students’ school progress, school engagement, academic achievement, educational trajectory, and educational attainment through age 20. The study began in 2022 and is ongoing.
Learn more
Children painting

Research Study

Boston Universal Pre-K Study

The Boston Universal Pre-K study is a mixed-methods implementation study of the expanded universal Pre-k program in Boston. The study began in 2019 and is ongoing.
Learn more

Explore our completed studies as well: Preparing to Succeed and Sustaining the Boost