Differentiating Among Measures of Quality: Key Characteristics and Their Coverage in Existing Measures

Publication Date: December 15, 2010


With growing policy interest in improving access to high quality child care there is a need to operationalize the basic characteristics of quality irrespective of setting. This Brief discusses key characteristics that differentiate measures of quality, and the extent to which measures that vary on these characteristics predict child outcomes. Quality is examined in terms of structural aspects including setting and classroom features and in terms of process such as how the caregiver interacts with the children. Characteristics that have shown to more strongly predict child outcomes include observations of caregiver interactions as opposed to classroom and teacher background variables, observations of caregiver sensitivity, and observations of the quality of instruction, especially when they are content-specific.

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