National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

What We Know and Don't Know About Measuring Quality in Early Childhood and School-Age Care and Education Settings

Child Trends
Year Published: 2009
Issue Brief
Child Trends
Child Trends

Measures assessing the quality of children?s environments and interactions in nonparental care settings were developed originally for use in child care research and as self-assessment tools for practitioners. Within the last decade, however, the authors report that these measurement tools have moved into the public policy arena, where they are now used to make programmatic decisions and inform consumers about the quality of settings. As new demands are placed on quality measures to be used in accountability systems, important questions emerge about how measures function in these new contexts and in what ways measurement strategies could be strengthened. The authors of this four-page brief provide an overview of what researchers and practitioners know and don?t know, given the current status of the research, about three key questions concerning the measurement of quality. They also provide suggestions for ongoing research and dialogue related to each question. Modified Author Abstract.

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