Concurrent Associations between Structural and Caregiver Characteristics, and Child Outcomes

Concurrent Associations between Structural and Caregiver Characteristics, and Child Outcomes

Children’s performance on standardized cognitive tests also has been linked to concurrent process quality. Infants who attend centers with higher ITERS scores receive better scores on the Bayley Mental Development Inventory than infants in poorer quality centers (, 1996). Similarly, children who attend centers that have higher ECERS scores receive higher scores on the CBI intelligence scale (Dunn, 1993). The Cost, Quality, and Outcome Study reported that higher ECERS scores were associated with better scores on the reading subtest of the Woodcock-Johnson (Peisner-Feinberg and Burchinal, 1997).

Finally, process quality is related to children’s social and emotional functioning. payday loans in Nevada High-quality care as measured by the ECERS is related to greater child interest and participation, whereas poorer process quality is associated with heightened behavior problems (Hausfather, Tohari, LaRoche, and Engelsmann, 1997; Peisner-Feinberg and Burchinal, 1997). The Bermuda Study (Phillips, McCartney, and Scarr, 1987) found higher ECERS scores to predict both caregiver and parent reports of children’s considerateness and sociability, and caregiver reports of children’s higher intelligence and task orientation and less anxiety.

Although the majority of studies (see Table 2) have reported significant relations between process measures of quality and concurrent child functioning, it should be noted that there are exceptions. Scarr and colleagues did not find relations between process quality and children’s social outcomes (McCartney et al., 1997). Measurement problems ple, observers were only moderately reliable on the measures of quality, with exact agreement of 55–58 percent between sites on the ITERS/ECERS. Cross-site reliability in the classroom observations of children’s social behavior (a key dependent variable) also was poor to moderate, with kappa coefficients ranging from .40 to .76. The likelihood of detecting associations pered by unreliable measurements.

Teachers’ education and training also are related concurrently to child performance and adjustment

There has been a longstanding interest in structural and caregiver characteristics in relation to children’s developmental outcomes, in part because the structural and caregiver characteristics are easier to measure and to monitor than process quality. An early study-the National Day Care Study (Ruopp et al., 1979)-included a clinical trial in which 3- and 4-year-olds were randomly assigned to 29 preschool classrooms with different child:adult ratios and levels of staff education. Two levels of ratio (5.4:1 vs. 7.4:1) were contrasted along with three levels of staff education (B.A., Associate of Arts, or less than an A.A. in early childhood education). Child behaviors were assessed at the beginning of the intervention and 9 months later. Children assigned to classrooms with fewer children obtained greater gains on measures of receptive language, general knowledge, cooperative behavior, and verbal initiations, and exhibited less hostility and conflict in their interactions with others than did children assigned to classrooms with larger numbers of children. Children whose assigned teachers had more education and training achieved greater gains in cooperative behavior, task persistence, and school readiness than children whose teachers had less education and training.

Correlational studies also have reported concurrent associations between child:adult ratio and children’s language, cognitive, and social functioning. Infants who attend centers with smaller child:adult ratios are found to have better receptive and expressive language skills than children who attend centers with larger child:adult ratios (, 1996; Vernon-Feagans, Emanuel, and Blood, 1997). Lower child:adult ratios also are associated with higher Bayley scores (, 1996) and with better social knowledge and social behaviors (Holloway and Reichhart-Erickson, 1988).

Burchinal et al

(1996) report that infants have better expressive language skills when their caregivers are better educated. Preschoolers’ receptive language skills are higher when caregivers have at least an Associate of Arts degree in a child-related field (Howes, 1997). Children whose caregivers have degrees in child-related fields received higher CBI intelligence scores than children with less-educated caregivers (Dunn, 1993). Caregiver education and training in child care homes are similarly related to children’s performance on standardized cognitive measures (Clarke-Stewart et al., 2000).


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