Author and title: Andersson Mona: The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) as a Tool in Evaluating and Improving Quality in Preschools. Key words: Preschool, preschool classroom, environmental quality, consciousness, process quality, self evaluation, standardization, validity, reliability, quasi-experiment.
This is an empirical study exploring the use of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) for the evaluation of environmental quality in preschools.
A standardization of the ECERS to Swedish preschools has been carried out. The procedures and findings of this standardization include several tests performed to ensure that the Swedish version of the ECERS would be both valid and reliable.
The main hypothesis in this study is that the ECERS can be used to improve environmental quality. This hypothesis was tested in a quasi-experiment. Three separate samples in different preschools were chosen: a Control group, an Information group and an Intervention group. These three groups were evaluated by an independent evaluator before and after the study. The Control group received no information about the ECERS. The Information group as well as the Intervention group received information about the possibility of using the ECERS as a means for the staff to improve quality. In addition, the Intervention group was allowed extra resources such as two hours a month for discussions concerning the results of individual evaluations made by the staff in each classroom.
The findings showed an improvement in environmental quality, in the Information group from a mean value of 3.8 to 4.6. In the Intervention group the improvement was even more substantial, from 3.2 to 4.7 whereas the Control group showed a small improvement of 4.1 to 4.3. A statistical sign test of significance was carried out. The changes in the Control group were not significant, while the changes in the Information as well as the Intervention groups were found to be significant at the 95 percent level. It seems as if the hypothesis, that the use of the ECERS could improve environmental quality in preschools, is verified.
In supplementary questionnaires and interviews, it was documented that preschool teachers could make better use of their potential competence as they became more conscious of it through the use of the ECERS.
Stockholm: Stockholm Institute of Education Press (HLS) , 1999. , 264 p.