Analyzing Process Quality of Early Childhood Education with Many Facet Rash Measurement Model

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1 ERSOY / lkö retim Program n n (1-5. S n flar) Uygulanmas na liflkin Aile Görüflleri 25 Analyzing Process Quality of Early Childhood Education with Many Facet Rash Measurement Model Ramazan BAfiTÜRK*, Nesrin IfiIKO LU** Abstract Quality of early childhood education institutions specifically, dimensions of process quality should be evaluated. Purpose of this study is to analyze process quality of early childhood education by using many-facet Rasch measurement model (MFRM). In this study, data were collected from twelve early childhood education institutions by four independent judges. Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECER) was used to evaluate the process quality of the institutions. MFRM was applied to analyze the data. The results indicated that early childhood education institutions were below the desirable level of process quality. It has been found that judges exhibited similar behaviors and when item statistics were examined they served the purpose of the evaluation. Standardized measurement tools and measurement models were recommended to increase process quality of early childhood education. Key Words Many-Facet Rasch Measurement Model, Judges Bias, Early Childhood Education Quality. * Correspondence: Assist. Prof. Dr. Ramazan BAfiTÜRK, Pamukkale University Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences, Incilip nar, Denizli ** Assist. Prof. Dr. Nesrin IfiIKO LU, Pamukkale University Faculty of Education, Department of Early Childhood Education Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice 8 (1) January E itim Dan flmanl ve Araflt rmalar letiflim Hizmetleri Tic. Ltd. fiti.

2 26 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE With the purpose of reaching early childhood schooling rate of developed countries, studies have been continued to widespread early childhood education in Turkey (MEB, 2006a; MEB, 2006b). Despite quantitative increase in the number of early childhood institutions, the current number of children attending centre-based ECE programmes is, approximately 16 percent (MEB, 2007). Along with increasing quantity of early childhood schools, the quality of the early childhood education institutions specifically providing developmentally appropriate practices should be taken into consideration. It is obvious that high quality early childhood education has positive effects on children. In the cost, quality, and outcomes study, Peisner-Feinberg, Burchinal, Clifford & Yazejian, (1999) stated that high quality child care services was significantly related to children s school readiness, academic success, cognitive progress and social development as well as children who experienced better quality child care were more advanced in their development into the early elementary years. Additionally, researches showed that children enrolled in good quality childhood programs tend to be more successful in later school, were more component socially and emotionally and showed higher verbal and intellectual development during early childhood period (Barnett, 1995; Clarke-Stewart, 1987; Peisner-Feinberg, et.al, 1999; Schweinhard & Weikard, 1997; Sylva, Siraj-Blatchford, Taggart, Sammons, Melhuish & Elliot, 2006). The positive affects of early childhood education on children s socio-emotional development (Seçer & Sar, 2006), the increase on children s motivations of learning and later success were also stated (Zembat, 2005). On the other hand, definition of quality and indicators of quality programs has still been discussed by researchers in this area (Textor, 1998, Phillipsen, Burchinal, Howes, & Cryer, 1997). A common approach is to define quality in terms of certain structured components of services such as teachers educational level, experiences, salaries, child-teacher ratio and size of the classroom. Alternatively, the process quality of early childhood education including teacher child relationships, providing developmentally appropriate activities, simulating and rich educational environment needs to be considered while measuring and defining early childhood education qua-

3 BAfiTÜRK, IfiIKO LU / Analyzing Process Quality of Early Childhood Education lity (Wishard, Shivers, Howes & Ritchie, 2003). Observational measures were often used to assess the process quality of early child care services (Sheridan & Schuster, 2001). Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale developed by Harms & Clifford (1980) is often used to assess the quality of the early childhood education. This observational tool assesses teacher-child interactions, developmentally appropriate activities, stimulating and rich learning environments and family/personal relationships (Sheridan & Schuster, 2001). Specifically, this scale was widely used in many research studies that assessed the quality of early childhood education (Burchinal & Cryer, 2003; Cassidy, Hestenes, Hegde, Hestenes, & Mims, 2005; Peisner-Feinberg, et al. 1999; Sylva, et al., 2006). The assessing the quality of early childhood education is found to be limited and often occurred not ideal conditions in Turkey (Oktay, 2002). Quality of early childhood education institutions, specifically, dimensions of process quality such as teacher-child interactions, developmentally appropriate activities, stimulating and rich learning environments should be evaluated. Therefore, purpose of this study is to analyze the process quality of early childhood education by using many-facet Rasch measurement model. Methodology The participants of the study were randomly chosen four private preschools, five kindergartens within public primary schools and three independent preschools in Denizli (Karasar, 2005). Even though Rasch model does not require generalizing the results from sample to population (Linacre, 1993), this study group includes different early childhood school types. From the participant schools, twelve classrooms serving children ages 5-6 were observed. Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECER) developed by Harms and Clifford (1980) was used to evaluate the process quality of the classrooms. ECER is an observational instrument that includes seven sub sections named Personal care, Furnishings and display for children, Language-reasoning experiences, Fine and gross motor activities, Creative activities, Social development, Adult needs and a total of 37 questions scored using the

4 28 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE 7-point scale. The scale was translated into Turkish and reliability and validity of the scale were ensured (Ifl ko lu, 2007). In order to collect data, four fourth year students from early childhood education program were trained to use ECER. Each observer independently observed twelve classrooms and filled the ECERs. At the end of this procedure each classroom was evaluated by four independent observers. MFRM model was applied to analyze the collected data (Rasch, 1980). MFRM has been developed in recent years to overcome some of the problems and assumptions associated with Classical Test Theory and to provide information for decision-making that is not available through Classical Test Theory (Linacre, 1993). MFRM has several distinct advantages over classical data analysis (Smith, Schumacker & Bush, 1998; Elhan & Atakurt, 2005). First, Rasch measurement places each facet of the measurement context on a common underlying linear scale. This results in a measure that can be subjected to traditional statistical analysis, while allowing for unambiguous interpretation of group performance as it relates to judge severity and item/task difficulty. Second, the Rasch-based calibration of examinees, items/tasks and judges is sample-free. In other words, Rasch techniques remove the influence of sampling variability from its measures so that valid generalizations can be made beyond the current sample of groups, collections of items/tasks and pool of judges. Third, Rasch fit procedures can be used to derive unexpected response patterns that are useful for evaluating the extent to which individual groups, tasks or judges are behaving in ways that are inconsistent with the measurement model (Engelhard, 1992; Wright & Linacre, 1994). FACETS software program developed by Linacre (1993) was used to apply Many-facet Rasch measurement. This program was able to give detailed information about the calibration of the three aspects of the study (Groups performance, item/task difficulty and judge severity/lenient). Results This research demonstrated that the Rasch based analysis provides with 1) the relationship among three facets of evaluation (school types, judges, items) 2) school quality and fit statistics, 3) judge se-

5 BAfiTÜRK, IfiIKO LU / Analyzing Process Quality of Early Childhood Education verity and fit statistics, 4) item/task difficulty and fit statistics and 5) bias interaction analysis by model. Specifically, the results indicated that early childhood education institutions were below the desirable level of process quality; on the other hand private schools had better process quality aspects than public kindergartens and independent preschools. It has been found that judges exhibited similar behaviors and when item statistics were examined they served the purpose of the evaluation. In other words, questions in the scale were able to separate the quality of early childhood education institutions. With all or part of these pieces of information, the facets of the data can be thoroughly investigated individually, which is not always possible in the traditional test analysis. Rasch measurement can therefore provide complementary information that is useful to government officers and school principals who wants to improve school quality in their school. In addition to improving overall estimates of the dependability of assessment results, Rasch measurement allows the identification of specific elements of assessment and research procedures that are affecting those scores. Rasch analysis allowed the identifying of specific judges, specific questions and specific combinations of judges, questions and school types that are affecting the dependability of judgments. Thus, the instrument questions can be improved by examining the fit statistics (infit and outfit). In addition, the assessment can be improved by having discussions with judges and subject experts when the misfit elements are found. Discussion Findings of this study indicated that participant early childhood education institutions possessed limited process qualities. Similar studies also demonstrated that public and private early childhood education institutions had limitations in terms of physical, personnel and environmental features (Ar, 2003; Kalemci, 1998). Moreover, findings showed that judges performances for observation were similar and these similarities increased their reliability of observations. A research demonstrated that different aspects of judge effects for example randomness, accuracy, centrality, extremism in addition to harshness and leniency detected with many-facet Rasch measurement judge calibration logit values and fit statistics and fo-

6 30 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE und parallel results (Wolfe & Chiue, 1997). Lastly, although ten items stayed higher infit and outfit statistics; items in the early childhood environment rating scale were generally capable of separating the process quality of early childhood education institutions. This research indicated that standardized measurement tools and measurement models can be useful tool increase process quality of early childhood education. The similar applications of observation - based assessment procedures using many-face Rasch measurement can lead on improvements on the quality of early childhood education. The instrument questions that were used evaluation procedures can be improved by examining the fit statistics. Moreover, judges needs to take in-service training to gain standard judge behaviors. Finally, the Rasch model can be useful in yielding a considerable amount of significant data on several factors involved in quality of early childhood education institutions, including school type, judge severity, task/item difficulty and bias among facets.

7 BAfiTÜRK, IfiIKO LU / Analyzing Process Quality of Early Childhood Education References/Kaynakça Ar, M. (2003). Türkiye de erken çocukluk e itimi ve kalitenin önemi. (Ed.) M. Sevinç Erken çocuklukta geliflim ve e itimde yeni yaklafl mlar içinde (s ). stanbul: Morpa. Barnett, W. S. (1995). Long term effects of early childhood programs on cognitive and school outcomes. The Future of Children, 5 (3), Burchinal, M. R., & Cryer, D. (2003). Diversity, child care quality, and developmental outcomes. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 18, Cassidy, D. J., Hestenes, L. L., Hegde, A., Hestenes, S., & Mims, S. (2005). Measurement of quality in preschool child care classrooms: An exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of the early childhood environment rating scale-revised. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 20, Clarke-Stewart, K. A. (1987). Predicting child development from child care forms and features: The Chicago study. In D. A. Phillips (Ed.), Quality in child care: What does the research tell us? (pp ). Washington, DC: National. Elhan, A. H. & Atakurt, Y. (2005). Ölçeklerin de erlendirilmesinde niçin Rasch analizi kullan lmal. Ankara Üniversitesi T p Fakültesi Mecmuas, 58, Engelhard, J. G. (1992). The measurement of writing ability with a many-faced Rasch model. Applied Measurement in Education, 5, Harms, T., & Clifford, M. (1980). Early childhood environment rating scale. New York: Teachers College Press. Ifl ko lu, N. (2007). Okul öncesi e itim kurumlar nda kalite. Gazi Üniversitesi Mesleki E itim Fakültesi Dergisi, 9 (9), Kalemci, F. (1998). Okul öncesi e itim kurumlar n n çevre düzenlemesi ve çal - flan e itimci personelin nitelikleri yönünden incelenmesi. Ankara: Galeri Kültür Kitap. Karasar, N. (2005). Bilimsel araflt rma yöntemi. Ankara: Nobel Yay n Da t m. Linacre, M. (1993, April). Generalizability theory and many-facet Rasch measurement. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American educational research association, Atlanta, GA. MEB. (2006a). Okul öncesi e itim kurumlar yönetmeli inde de ifliklik yap lmas na dair yönetmelik. 19 Aral k 2006 tarihinde adresinden edinilmifltir.meb (2006b) ayl k çocuklar için okul öncesi e itim program. stanbul:yapa. MEB. (2007). Milli e itim istatistikleri - örgün e itim Aral k 2006 tarihinde adresinden edinilmifltir.oktay, A. (2002). Yaflam n sihirli y llar : Okul öncesi dönem. stanbul: Epsilon. Peisner-Feinberg, E. S., Burchinal, M. R., Clifford, R. M., & Yazejian, N. (1999). The children of the cost, quality, and outcomes study go to school. 19 Haziran 2006 tarihinde adresinden edinilmifltir.

8 32 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE Phillipsen, L. C., Burchinal, M. R., Howes, C., & Cryer, D. (1997). The prediction of process quality from the structural features of child care quality. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12, Rasch, G. (1980). Probabilistic models for some intelligence and attainment tests. Chicago, IL.: MESA Press. Schweinhard, L. J. & Weikard, D. P. (1997). The high/scope preschool curriculum comparison study through age 23. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12, Seçer, Z. & Sar, H. (2006). Okul öncesi e itim kurumuna devam eden etmeyen çocuklar n ahlaki ve sosyal kural bilgilerinin çeflitli de iflkenler aç s ndan karfl laflt rmal olarak analizi. Milli E itim, 172, Sheridan S., Schuster, K. M. (2001). Evaluation of pedagogical quality in early childhood Education: A cross national perspective. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 16 (1), Smith, R. M., Schumacker, R. E., Bush, M. J. (1998). Using item mean squares to evaluate fit of the Rasch model. Journal of Outcome measurement, 2, Sylva, K., Siraj-Blatchford, I., Taggart, B., Sammons, P., Melhuish E., Elliot, K., & Totsika, V. (2006). Capturing quality in early childhood through environmental rating scales. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 21, Textor, M. R. (1998). International perspectives on quality child care. Early Childhood Education Journal, 25 (3), Wishard, A.G., Shivers, E. M., Howes, C., & Ritchie, S. (2003). Child care program and teacher practices: associations with quality and children s experiences. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 18, Wolfe, E. W., & Chiu, C. W. T. (1997). Detecting rater effects with a multiplefacet rating scale model. ERIC No: Wright, B. D. & Linacre, J. M. (1994). Reasonable mean-square fit values. Transactions of the Rasch measurement SIG American educational research association. Rasch Measurement Transaction, 8 (3), Zembat, R. (2005). Okul öncesi e itimde nitelik. A. Oktay & Ö. Polat - Unutkan (Ed.), Okul öncesi e itimde güncel konular içinde (s ). Morpa: stanbul.

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