In recent years, a rising body of research has shown that, although early education matters, only high quality ECEC can make a difference ensuring a wide range of benefits for children, parents and society at large (OECD, 2013; Pianta et al., 2009; Sylva et al., 2004; Vandell & Wolfe, 2000). This recognition and the subsequent emerging question ‘how can quality be measured?’ have drawn educational researchers’ attention towards developing evaluation instruments to assess quality (Ishimine & Tayler, 2014; Fenech, 2011; Grammatikopoulis et al., 2015). Most of these instruments are objective, standard-based tools, often developed in the USA albeit widely used at international level. The international application of the same evaluation measures, despite carrying some undeniable advantages, may also leads to pitfalls, especially if the complexities – both at cultural and methodological level – of a cross-cultural use of these instruments are not taken into account (Pastori et al., 2016; Pastori & Mantovani, 2016, Pastori & Pagani, submitted). Despite its relevance, this issue has received only marginal attention in literature and only few studies (Douglas, 2004; Fenech, 2011; Ishimine & Taylor, 2014; Mathers et al., 2007; Sheridan, 2007) have investigated the potential risks inherent in the current globalization of evaluation tools. The present thesis is aimed to address this gap, focussing specifically on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS – Pianta, La Paro & Hamre, 2008), an American instrument developed to assess daily interactions between teachers and children that in recent years has experienced great international diffusion. Specifically, this study, building on and developing further the critical cultural reflection initiated within the European project CARE (Pastori et al., 2016; Pastori & Mantovani, 2016), adopted a mixed methods convergent parallel design (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011) to analyse the implications of the CLASS application to the Italian ECEC context. Through a qualitative approach, teachers and pedagogical coordinators from 0-3 and 3-6 services (nidi and scuole d’infanzia) were involved in discussing the tool. Their opinions and cultural beliefs about effective teaching and models to evaluate ECEC quality were elicited and compared with the perspective proposed by the CLASS. The qualitative exploration was complemented with a quantitative analysis of the tool, in order to test even at statistical level the applicability and generalizability of the CLASS framework to the Italian ECEC context. Qualitative and quantitative data were then compared to offer a more thorough understanding of the issue at hand. Results highlight the value of adopting a critical approach to evaluation tools, attentive to the cultural and methodological complexities when these instruments are exported – along with their implicit values and underpinning assumptions about what ECEC quality is and how it can be assessed – to cultural contexts different from the original ones. Moreover, they offer interesting insights to a methodological reflection on the potential offered by integrating a reflective discussion with the use of standard based instruments.

(2016). Teacher-child relationship quality in ECEC settings. A mixed-methods study of the CLASS tool application in Italy. (Tesi di dottorato, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, 2016).

Teacher-child relationship quality in ECEC settings. A mixed-methods study of the CLASS tool application in Italy

PAGANI, VALENTINA
2016

Abstract

In recent years, a rising body of research has shown that, although early education matters, only high quality ECEC can make a difference ensuring a wide range of benefits for children, parents and society at large (OECD, 2013; Pianta et al., 2009; Sylva et al., 2004; Vandell & Wolfe, 2000). This recognition and the subsequent emerging question ‘how can quality be measured?’ have drawn educational researchers’ attention towards developing evaluation instruments to assess quality (Ishimine & Tayler, 2014; Fenech, 2011; Grammatikopoulis et al., 2015). Most of these instruments are objective, standard-based tools, often developed in the USA albeit widely used at international level. The international application of the same evaluation measures, despite carrying some undeniable advantages, may also leads to pitfalls, especially if the complexities – both at cultural and methodological level – of a cross-cultural use of these instruments are not taken into account (Pastori et al., 2016; Pastori & Mantovani, 2016, Pastori & Pagani, submitted). Despite its relevance, this issue has received only marginal attention in literature and only few studies (Douglas, 2004; Fenech, 2011; Ishimine & Taylor, 2014; Mathers et al., 2007; Sheridan, 2007) have investigated the potential risks inherent in the current globalization of evaluation tools. The present thesis is aimed to address this gap, focussing specifically on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS – Pianta, La Paro & Hamre, 2008), an American instrument developed to assess daily interactions between teachers and children that in recent years has experienced great international diffusion. Specifically, this study, building on and developing further the critical cultural reflection initiated within the European project CARE (Pastori et al., 2016; Pastori & Mantovani, 2016), adopted a mixed methods convergent parallel design (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011) to analyse the implications of the CLASS application to the Italian ECEC context. Through a qualitative approach, teachers and pedagogical coordinators from 0-3 and 3-6 services (nidi and scuole d’infanzia) were involved in discussing the tool. Their opinions and cultural beliefs about effective teaching and models to evaluate ECEC quality were elicited and compared with the perspective proposed by the CLASS. The qualitative exploration was complemented with a quantitative analysis of the tool, in order to test even at statistical level the applicability and generalizability of the CLASS framework to the Italian ECEC context. Qualitative and quantitative data were then compared to offer a more thorough understanding of the issue at hand. Results highlight the value of adopting a critical approach to evaluation tools, attentive to the cultural and methodological complexities when these instruments are exported – along with their implicit values and underpinning assumptions about what ECEC quality is and how it can be assessed – to cultural contexts different from the original ones. Moreover, they offer interesting insights to a methodological reflection on the potential offered by integrating a reflective discussion with the use of standard based instruments.
PASTORI, GIULIA GABRIELLA
ECEC, quality, mixed-methods, assessment, teacher-child relationship
M-PSI/04 - PSICOLOGIA DELLO SVILUPPO E PSICOLOGIA DELL'EDUCAZIONE
English
SCIENZE DELLA FORMAZIONE E DELLA COMUNICAZIONE - 47R
28
2014/2015
(2016). Teacher-child relationship quality in ECEC settings. A mixed-methods study of the CLASS tool application in Italy. (Tesi di dottorato, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, 2016).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/132272
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