Ongoing since 2011

Principal Investigator: Joanne Roberts, Ph.D.

Research Scientist: Wendy Wagner Robeson, Ed.D.

Funded by the Wellesley Centers for Women 35th Anniversary Fund

The goal of this project is to produce a reliable and valid measure of teachers’ educational beliefs and knowledge of child development and ECE pedagogy that can be used to validate the effectiveness of professional development programs and interventions, as well as, to provide valuable feedback in applied settings regarding ECE teachers’ professional development needs and classroom appropriateness.

 

It has been proposed that increased access to high-quality Pre-Kindergarten programs for all low-income children would enhance achievement and narrow the achievement gap found between children from low-income families and their more affluent counterparts. The professional development of early childhood teachers is fundamental to the vision of early childhood education (ECE) as a vehicle for preparing children for school.

Teachers’ educational beliefs and knowledge of both child development and ECE pedagogy are significant contributors to the early childhood classroom environment and subsequently children’s readiness for school.  Current measures of educational beliefs and knowledge of child development and pedagogy are either outdated, not aligned with the newest professional standards for practice (2009 NAEYC standards for DAP), or have not been developed for use with the educationally diverse early care and education workforce.  As a result, the lack of an appropriate assessment of teachers’ beliefs and knowledge limits the ability to assess the professional development needs of teachers as well as the effectiveness of professional development interventions and activities designed to promote and enhance the ECE workforce.

The project will address this gap by producing a reliable and valid measure of teachers’ educational beliefs and knowledge of child development and ECE pedagogy that can be used to validate the effectiveness of professional development programs and interventions, as well as, to provide valuable feedback in applied setting s regarding  ECE teachers’ professional development needs and classroom appropriateness.   These measures will be designed to meet the pragmatic, financial and policy constraints of the ECE field and programs.

 

Specific Goals

The proposed project has the following goals:

  • Develop an assessment toll designed to look at : 1. Teachers’ early childhood educational beliefs, and 2. Teachers’ knowledge of child development and early childhood pedagogy.

  • Validate these assessments against measures of instructional skills and classroom practice and measures of children’s school readiness, by conducting 2 pilot tests with a sample of low-income PreK children attending early care and education center-based programs.

  • Produce a report on the two measures and the validation study.

  • Produce a grant leading to an large-scale validation study at the federal level based on data from the pilot studies.