Instructional Time, Content Coverage, and Student Outcomes in Kindergarten
Mimi Engel

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Vanderbilt University

Primary Discipline

Educational Policy
“The importance of academic content coverage has been highlighted through the vigorous public debate currently being waged around the Common Core State Standards. Regardless of the controversy around the Common Core initiative, there is little doubt that educators and the general public alike believe that students should be taught rigorous academic content beginning in first grade and continuing through high school. The same cannot be said, however, about kindergarten. Recent research documents a striking move toward an increased academicization of kindergarten. However, how kindergarteners’ classroom time should be spent has been the subject of much debate, around which little to no consensus has been reached. The current study takes advantage of the newly released Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort 2010-2011 to conduct a cross-cohort comparison with the original ECLS-K.Through my study, I will answer four questions, examining differences across the two nationally representative cohorts for each. First, what reading and mathematics skills do children have at kindergarten entry? Second, how much time do kindergarten teachers spend on instruction and other activities, and how much coverage of “basic” and “advanced” content in reading and mathematics do they report? Third, what is the association between time use, content coverage, and student learning in kindergarten? Finally, what are the effects of time use and content coverage on kindergarteners’ socioemotional and behavioral outcomes? This study will inform our understanding of changes over time in school readiness and kindergarten content coverage. It will provide new information about the effects of time use and content coverage on students’ academic and socioemotional outcomes.”
About Mimi Engel
Mimi Engel is an assistant professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College in the department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations. Through her research, Mimi aims to contribute to our understanding of how policies and programs affect children’s opportunities to learn. Spanning several areas including teacher labor markets, early skill formation and classroom instruction, and program evaluation, the central focus of her research is to inform our understanding of policies, programs, and administrative factors that have the potential to improve students’ school-related outcomes, particularly among students from traditionally under-served populations. Her publications include peer-reviewed articles in American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and Educational Administration Quarterly, among others. She has a Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy and a master’s degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.

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