Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

Skip to main content

Understanding variation in classroom quality within early childhood centers: Evidence from Colorado's quality rating and improvement system

Share
Description:
This study examines variability in quality across classrooms within early childhood centers and its implications for how quality rating systems (QRSs) capture center-level quality. We used data collected for administrative purposes by Qualistar Colorado which includes the environmental rating scale (ERS) collected in all classrooms in the 433 centers participating in Colorado's QRS between 2008 and 2010. We conducted variance components analysis for the ERS and found that between 26% and 28% of the variation in quality captured by the ERS occurred across classrooms within the same center serving children in the same age range. This finding reveals that capturing center-level quality based on average ERS will often miss important within-center quality differences and points to the merits of using "no score below" rules along with rating tier cutpoints in determining center-level ERS. Most QRSs assess center-level quality for a randomly selected subset of classrooms. To test the implications of cross-classroom quality variation for this practice, we simulated four classroom selection strategies in current use: selecting 50% of the rooms, 33% of the rooms, two rooms, or one room. In general, the larger the share of classrooms measured under a selection rule, the lower the chance that a center's rating tier will be misclassified. The error rates under each selection rule also depend on the extent of cross-classroom quality variability, how centers are distributed by size, and the QRS structure. QRS designers, therefore, need to consider the tradeoff between the costs of measuring more classrooms in each center versus the costs of misclassifying centers. The paper quantifies the magnitude of these tradeoffs using the Colorado data and two illustrative QRSs. The implications of our findings for QRS designers, parents, and other stakeholders are discussed. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
Country:
United States
State(s):
Colorado

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

- You May Also Like

These resources share similarities with the current selection. They are found by comparing the topic, author, and resource type of the currently selected resource to the rest of the library’s publications.

The voices of early care and education: A qualitative perspective on providing and accessing high-quality early care and education

Reports & Papersview

Developing reliable and valid measures of implementation to support high quality in early care and education centers

Reports & Papersview

Measuring costs to support quality in early care and education centers

Reports & Papersview
Release: 'v1.9.0' | Built: 2022-06-13 15:23:18 EDT