Cover: Using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised in High Stakes Contexts

Using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised in High Stakes Contexts

Does Evidence Warrant the Practice?

Published in: Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Volume 42 (1st Quarter 2018), Pages 158-169. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2017.10.001

Posted on Mar 2, 2018

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

Increasingly, states establish different thresholds on the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale–Revised (ECERS–R), and use these thresholds to inform high-stakes decisions. However, the validity of the ECERS-R for these purposes is not well established. The objective of this study is to identify thresholds on the ECERS-R that are associated with preschool-aged children's social and cognitive development. Applying non-parametric modeling to the nationally-representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) dataset, we found that once classrooms achieved a score of 3.4 on the overall ECERS-R composite score, there was a leveling-off effect, such that no additional improvements to children's social, cognitive, or language outcomes were observed. Additional analyses found that ECERS-R subscales that focused on teaching and caregiving processes, as opposed to the physical environment, did not show leveling-off effects. The findings suggest that the usefulness of the ECERS-R for discerning associations with children's outcome may be limited to certain score ranges or subscales.

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.