Accounting for Movement Between Childcare Classrooms

Does It Change Teacher Effects Interpretations?

Published in: Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, v. 33, no. 1, Jan.-Feb. 2012, p. 1-12

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2012

by Claude Messan Setodji, Vi-Nhuan Le, Diana Schaack

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Child care studies that have examined links between teachers' qualifications and children's outcomes often ignore teachers' and children's transitions between classrooms at a center throughout the day and only take into account head teacher qualifications. The objective of this investigation was to examine these traditional assumptions and to compare inferences made from these traditional models to methods accounting for transitions between classrooms and multiple teachers in a classroom. The study examined the receptive language, letter–word identification, and passage comprehension skills of 307 children enrolled in 49 community-based child care centers serving primarily low-income families in Colorado. Results suggest that nearly one-third of children and over 80% of teachers moved daily between classrooms. Findings also reveal that failure to account for daily transitions between classrooms can affect interpretations of the relationship between teacher qualifications and child outcomes, with the model accounting for movement providing significant improvements in model fit and inference.

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