Description of Project

The Experimental Evaluation of the Tools of the Mind Pre-K Curriculum study was designed to compare the effectiveness of the Tools of the Mind (Tools) curriculum to the curricula the school system was using (when the study began) at enhancing children’s self-regulation skills and their academic preparation for kindergarten.  In addition, we tracked and compared the effectiveness of each into first grade. The research plan in 2010-11 (cohort 1) and 2011-12 (cohort 2) involved assessing the consented children in both Tools and Comparison classrooms at the beginning and end of the pre-k and then again at the end of kindergarten and first grade using a variety of self-regulation tasks and child achievement measures.  Each classroom was observed three times during the pre-k year using multiple measures designed to capture the differences between classrooms using Tools and those using other curricula.

Four school systems in Tennessee and two in North Carolina agreed to partner with us to conduct this first experimental evaluation of the Tools of the Mind curriculum.


The Experimental Evaluation of the Tools of the Mind Pre-K Curriculum project is fortunate to have participants from Franklin Special School District, Lebanon Special School District, Wilson County School District, and Cannon County School District in Tennessee as well as Guilford County School System and Alamance-Burlington School System in North Carolina.

Cohort 1 (TN and Guilford, SY 2010-11)

  • Children were from 60 classrooms (Tools = 32) in 45 schools (Tools = 25).

Cohort 2 (Alamance-Burlington, SY 2011-12)

  • Children were from 20 classrooms (Tools = 10) in 12 schools (Tools = 5).



    North Carolina:


Below is the timeline for the Experimental Evaluation of the Tools of the Mind Pre-K Curriculum project. This timeline shows the assessments, behavioral ratings, and classroom observations that students and teachers participated in for both cohorts 1 & 2.

About PRI:

This study was conducted by the Peabody Research Institute (PRI). Our mission is to conduct research aimed at improving the effectiveness of programs for children, youth, and families. Using field research, program evaluation, and research synthesis (meta-analysis), our faculty and staff help determine which programs are actually making a difference in the lives of the people they serve. PRI research addresses many aspects of child and family programs, such as their implementation, costs, dissemination, and social or political support. But the main focus for all of our work is the effects of programs on children and families.

Phone: 615.322.8540
Fax: 615.322.0293

Mailing Address:
Peabody Research Institute
230 Appleton Place
PMB 181
Nashville, TN 37203-5721

Delivery Address:
Peabody Research Institute
1930 South Drive
Room 410A
Nashville, TN 37212



This research study is being funded by a grant from the US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (Grant R305E090009). Drs. Dale Farran, Mark Lipsey and Sandra Wilson of the Peabody Research Institute at Vanderbilt University are conducting this five-year study.
Training and coaching support for Tools of the Mind was funded through a sub-award to each of the developers, Dr. Deborah Leong and Dr. Elena Bodrova,Tools of the Mind Third Sector New England (TSNE).