Research and Data

Advisors Council

In June 2013, VECF launched leadership strategies for research, evaluation and policy to provide service to communities across Virginia in analyzing data, guiding research and evaluation, and discerning policy implications for the state's system of school readiness services for young children.  The work is guided by VECF's Advisors Council, comprised of policy, research, and evaluation experts, as well as by the practical findings from the network of Smart Beginnings initiatives.  This distinguished group of experts includes:

Rhian Evans Allvin
, National Association for the Education of Young Children
Peter A. Blake, State Council for Higher Education for Virginia
The Honorable David C. Gompert, U.S. Naval Academy
Robert D. Holsworth, Ph.D., Decide Smart
Colleen A. Kraft, M.D., Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Robert C. Pianta, Ph.D., Curry School, University of Virginia
Craig T. Ramey, Ph.D., Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
Sharon L. Ramey., Ph.D., Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
Karl N. Stauber., Ph.D., Danville Regional Foundation
Helene Stebbins
, MPP, Alliance for Early Success
John P. Thomas, Ph.D., Weldon Cooper Policy Center, University of Virginia



Chewning Fellows

Thanks to the generosity of Board Member Emeritus, Thomas N. Chewning, VECF has in-house capacity for data analysis and policy development by retaining research and evaluation experts who facilitate the work of the Advisors Council, oversee and implement VECF's research and evaluation agenda, and manage data systems strategies.

Derek Chapman, Ph.D
Kelly Myles, Ph.D


School Readiness Report Card & Map Tool

Virginia's School Readiness Report Card 2016 examines and assesses the capacity and effectiveness of the state's system in supporting the school readiness of young children.  In recognition of the Commonwealth’s ten-year investment in Smart Beginnings (2006-2016), this edition provides an analysis of trends in key indicators of risk and school performance in Virginia over the past decade. 
An accompanying web-based mapping tool allows for a community-level look at indicators as well as easy comparison to other communities and/or to the state average.

Study of Outcomes from Participation in Public Pre K in Virginia

Through a grant from 4-Virginia, Dr. Deborah Jonas led a team of researchers from JMU, GMU and Virginia Tech to study the effects of public preschool in Virginia on a cohort of participants through 8th grade.  The team presented their findings in this report.


VLDS (Virginia Longitudinal Data System)

The Virginia Longitudinal Data System is a powerful tool for Virginia's future, giving the Commonwealth an unprecedented and cost-effective tool for extracting and analyzing insightful education and workforce development data within a secure environment.  VLDS participating state agencies include the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC), the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).  The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, interested in ensuring that the early childhood data sets are included and incorporated in this tool, facilitated the discussions which led to the Virginia Department of Social Services joining the VLDS partnership, contributing data sets on child care subsidy, SNAP, TANF, and foster care.  Discussions with the Virginia Department of Health are under way, with the hope of incorporating birth statistics as well as data sets related to the health and well being of Virginia's youngest children and their families.  To learn more, visit the Virginia Longitudinal Data System website.



Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Pilot

VECF is dedicated to advancing school readiness in Virginia.  We've heard from teachers, schools and other partners that having more information about children's readiness in kindergarten would be helpful in supporting their growth.  We know teachers are burdened with assessment responsibilities, and yet may still feel that they don't have the needed data to effectively plan instruction or to measure student growth throughout the year.  They are also interested in tools that help support teachers' instruction as well as measure students' progress in various dimensions of learning throughout the kindergarten year.  In 2013, VECF convened an expert team to recommend an effective tool and to design a feasibility pilot to test its utility.  The expert team selected Teaching Strategies GOLD because of its high levels of reliability and validity, comprehensiveness across all domains of development, and the tremendous resources and utility to kindergarten teachers for meeting the individual needs of children in their classrooms.  Fourteen school divisions across the Commonwealth participated in the KRA pilot.

View Final Report (November 2014) or Executive Summary

This working paper documents the rationale behind VECF's selection of the TS GOLD assessment for piloting in Virginia.