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Widely used measures of classroom quality are largely unrelated to preschool skill development


Early childhood education programs invest in assessments of classroom quality to enable accountability and to enact efforts toward quality improvement. The Early Childhood Environment Rating System – Revised (ECERS-R) and Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) are 2 widely used classroom quality assessments that have inconsistently been linked to longitudinal change in preschoolers’ school-readiness skills. The current study examined how the ECERS-R and CLASS scores relate to changes in preschoolers’ skills and whether associations are stronger in the second half of the school year than across the whole school year. We used data from classrooms in the San Francisco Unified School District preschool program primarily serving low-income families; 164 classrooms were observed using the CLASS (N = 2327) and 131 classrooms were observed using ECERS-R (N = 1792). School readiness was assessed using teacher reports of cognitive, physical, self-regulation, social-emotional, verbal language, and written language development measured in the fall, winter, and spring and a direct assessment of children’s letter awareness and pre-literacy skills measured in the fall and spring. Results showed that measures of classroom quality did not relate to children’s skills in spring controlling for fall skills, while the ECERS-R Interactions was the only quality domain associated with all teacher-reported skills in spring controlling for winter scores. We provide recommendations to incorporate professional development, coaching, and assessment to improve classroom interactions and support child skills throughout the preschool year. (author abstract)

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Reports & Papers
United States
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