Press release - ECES

Press release
What makes for great early years education?
The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) is pleased
to announce the launch of the Early Childhood Education Study (ECES), a major new crossnational research project that aims to explore, describe, and analyze early childhood
education provision and its role in preparing children for school and lifelong learning.
The study has been developed through a partnership of the National Foundation for
Educational Research (NFER), Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC), and IEA
Data Processing and Research Center in response to growing awareness of the crucial part
early childhood education plays in children’s later success and the value of investing in highquality provision for children and families, particularly those from economically or socially
disadvantaged backgrounds.
In this ambitious study, the ECES research team has set out to examine how early education
policies, practices, and outcomes relate in different countries across the world. The study will
include a comprehensive assessment of child outcomes, and data will also be collected from
policy makers, early childhood education settings, practitioners, and parents.
The project will run until 2018, with the main phase of the data collection taking place in
2016. The results will be released in a series of reports in 2016–2018.
The main focus of the study is on how early childhood education (ECE) contributes to
children’s skills, learning dispositions and competencies by the time they start formal
education. The study will investigate the variations in outcomes of children attending ECE
within and between countries, and which aspects of policy and practice are related to
positive outcomes for children’s early learning and development.
“Each country faces its own particular challenges toward achieving an equitable, high-quality
early childhood education system,” explains Dr Hans Wagemaker, IEA Executive Director.
Countries that participate in the study will be able to collect evidence on key aspects of their
children’s transition to school and preparation for wider society. Importantly, he adds, “ECES
will enable participating countries to thoughtfully examine their own goals and policies in this
critical area, and to learn from each other’s best practices.”
For information on country enrollment, please contact Dr Paulína Koršňáková at the IEA
Secretariat (, p.korsnakova(at), +31 20 625 3625.
For further information about ECES, please contact Juliane Hencke at the IEA Data
Processing and Research Center,, +49 40 48 500 701.
About IEA
IEA is an independent, international cooperative of national research institutions and
governmental research agencies that has conducted cross-national studies of educational
achievement and other aspects of education for over fifty years.
Through its comparative research and assessment projects, IEA aims to contribute to a deep
understanding of educational processes within individual countries and across a broad
international context, and provide international benchmarks to assist policy makers in
identifying the relative strengths and weaknesses of their education systems.
About CREC
CREC – Centre for Research in Early Childhood – is the home of CREC in Birmingham
(Charitable Trust) and Amber Publications & Training Ltd (APT). Led by Professor Dr Chris
Pascal & Professor Dr Tony Bertram, CREC specialises in early childhood research which
has relevant and meaningful outcomes for practice and policy, both in the UK and
internationally. Its research is often transformed into training and development programmes
designed for the specific needs of the early years sector.
About NFER
NFER is the UK’s largest independent provider of research, assessment and information
services for education, training and children’s services. It aims to make a difference to
learners of all ages, especially to the lives of children and young people, by supporting
improvement in the practice and understanding of those who work with and for learners.