Research Findings: In recent years, several initiatives have been put into place both federally and state-wide to expand access to high-quality early education programs. At the center of these efforts are the tools that measure program or classroom quality. The present study compares the psychometrics of two such tools used in Michigan, the Preschool Program Quality Assessment (PQA) used by state-funded preschools, and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, Pre-K (CLASS) required for Head Start, to inform state-level policies that prevent excessive assessment stipulations for blended programs. Pairs of PQA and CLASS scores were obtained from 389 classrooms. Alphas were reliable to very reliable for both instruments. For Preschool PQA, the alpha ranged from 0.71 (Curriculum planning and assessment) to 0.88 (Adult-child interactions). For CLASS Pre-K, alpha ranged from .74 (Emotional Support) to .91 (Instructional Support). The overall Preschool PQA scores and the Instructional Support domain of CLASS Pre-K were the most highly correlated; however correlations were moderate (r(389) = .29, p < .001). Practice or Policy: This study provides policy implications for redesigning and broadening states’ definitions of “quality” early care and learning programs, reexamining early learning standards, and streamlining efforts while maximizing children’s high-quality early experiences. (author abstract)
Assessing quality in classrooms that blend state pre-kindergarten and Head Start funding: The case of Michigan
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