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Using Assessment as a Basis for Improvement

by Thelma Harms
March/April 2009
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/using-assessment-as-a-basis-for-improvement/5018657/

Improving the quality of early childhood programs has become a public policy priority, not only in the United States but also in Canada, Europe, and Asia. As programs are given increasing amounts of public funds, more system-atic oversight of program quality is being required. Because of the absence of federal regulations in our country and the wide difference among state regulations, the professional early childhood educational community has had to be both innovative in developing voluntary programs for quality improvement and persuasive in convincing local, state, and federal governmental agencies to support them. For example, in the United States many states are conducting voluntary Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) which provide a variety of incentives for programs to meet higher levels of quality than their mandatory licensing standards. It is also common practice for sponsored school readiness programs to require a standardized quality observation tied to the additional funding provided to them.

Because many of these programs are conducted under various auspices in a wide variety of settings, including child care centers, public schools, and family child care homes, it is essential to conduct observational assessments using valid and reliable instruments to assure comparable quality. The Environment Rating Scales ...

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