Connect4Learning Raises Test Scores in Michigan

State approves use of GSRP funds for new interdisciplinary curriculum


LEWISVILLE, NC – Connect4Learning has been named an eligible prekindergarten curriculum for the Michigan Department of Education’s Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) and its 2018–2019 funds to help solve the state’s declining academic-proficiency scores.


“Between declining proficiency scores and inadequate kindergarten readiness, it is clear that Michigan needs a better solution to early learning,” said Paul Liabenow, executive director of Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA). “We’ve seen firsthand how Connect4Learning is a proven and research-led solution that boosts academic performance and kindergarten readiness.”


The Education Week Research Center state evaluation* scored Michigan as a D+ in overall proficiency using 2017 State NAEP assessment scores. The state earned a 35.5 percent fourth-grade math proficiency and a 31.8 percent fourth-grade reading proficiency—marking Michigan as one of the nation’s 16 poorest-performing states. Both proficiency scores have declined since 2003.


While most prekindergarten classrooms dedicate an average of 58 seconds to math instruction, the U.S., and Michigan in particular, continues to fall below other developed countries in literacy, math and science proficiency. Closing that gap begins in preschool.


As a direct result of implementing Connect4Learning with fidelity in test classrooms from 2016-2018, the Oak Ridge School District in Muskegon, Mich., experienced an 89 percent increase in DIBELS scores. During the 2015 pilot classrooms evaluation, part of the National Science Foundation’s partnership to help fund, develop and evaluate the curriculum, children in classrooms that implemented Connect4Learning significantly outperformed those in control classrooms on measures of math, science, literacy and social-emotional learning.


“Math and science are often neglected in preschool classrooms, directly impacting children’s academic and professional success later in life,” said Laura Bailet, PhD, chief academic officer, Kaplan Early Learning Company. “Connect4Learning offers a completely new approach to early learning that builds and nurtures rich connections among all four core domains to develop children’s key skills, cultivate their love for learning, and ultimately, prepare them for the rigors of kindergarten and beyond.”


Rooted in research-led and classroom-tested foundations in literacy, science, social-emotional and math learning, the curriculum weaves domains together to ensure each subject is addressed meaningfully and comprehensively with each child. Connect4Learning’s creative, interdisciplinary approach helps students learn self-regulation, critical thinking, communication and collaboration through learning-center activities, child-centered lessons, hands-on critical-thinking exercises and active engagement with teachers.


“We created Connect4Learning to address the nation’s growing education gap, and we believe our interdisciplinary approach will help all children, including those in Michigan, to succeed,” said Dr. Bailet.


Nationally recognized experts in each core domain—Julie Sarama, PhD; Kimberly Brenneman, PhD; Douglas H. Clements, PhD; Nell K. Duke, EdD; and Mary Louise Hemmeter, PhD—wrote and researched Connect4Learning. The curriculum is divided into six units that address 134 measurable learning objectives and support children’s development of 10 fundamental cognitive processes.


Connect4Learning and its components are offered exclusively by Kaplan Early Learning Company.


Connect4Learning is an interdisciplinary early childhood prekindergarten curriculum, funded by the National Science Foundation. The curriculum uses research-led and classroom-tested foundations in mathematics, science, literacy and social-emotional development to weave together all four domains of learning to ensure that each subject is addressed meaningfully and comprehensively with each child. Connect4Learning’s interdisciplinary approach addresses growing concerns that the majority of preschool instructional time is devoted to literacy at the expense of other content areas, particularly math and science. The curriculum and its components are offered exclusively by Kaplan Early Learning Company. Visit our website to learn more.


Middle Elementary and Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA) is a community of principals dedicated to advocating, leading and learning. MEMSPA is the vital knowledge network and voice for principals in Michigan, shaping effective solutions for everyday problems and emerging challenges. The organization is an engaged community of remarkable instructional leaders, furthering the practice of skillful leadership and connection with peers.