Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Psychology

Sub-Department

School Psychology

First Advisor

Scott Huebner

Abstract

Understanding the contributing variables that promote high-quality preschool is a complex and multilayered endeavor. Mounting evidence indicates that the structural measures of quality indicators typically used to validate preschool programs are not sufficient for determining quality experiences for students (e.g., Howes et al., 2008; Mashburn, et al., 2008). Whereas some studies have indicated that structural variables such as teacher educational attainment and teacher to child ratio (e.g., Cost Quality and Outcome Study) predict higher quality programming, these studies of more static and distal measures of program quality do not demonstrate as consistent and strong evidenceas studies that have investigated process measures of program quality. Careful identification of the contributing factors related to quality preschool programming has important implications for policy makers. Using data from a state-funded preschool program, the focus of this study was to measure variables of process quality that focus on the interactions of teachers and students in relation to student outcomes while controlling for a number of structural variables typically used to validate quality preschool programming. Direct observations of classrooms, teachers, and students garnered both global ratings and real time duration of specific behaviors and interactions. It was hypothesized that classroom climate would relate to student receptive language gains and behavioral functioning of students.

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