Although evidence-based curriculum and professional development models exist with the capacity to improve preschool teaching quality and thereby enhance the school readiness of economically-disadvantaged children (Bierman et al., 2009; Lonigan, 2006), these models are rarely implemented in child-care centers, which are often isolated businesses lacking the infrastructure or resources to provide professional development support to teaching staff (Ackerman, 2004).
This study addressed this implementation challenge by testing a set of modified professional development supports to help child-care teachers effectively deliver an evidence-based preschool enrichment program. Face-to-face workshops were reduced to an initial day and mid-year booster training; further training was provided via on-line distance learning. Center directors served as local coaches, supported with additional on-line distance learning modules. This presentation will describe the levels of implementation quality attained using this modified set of professional development supports and their associations with improved teaching quality.
76 child-care centers are participating, with half randomly assigned to intervention. During the course of intervention, four aspects of implementation quality were assessed (Dane & Schneider, 1998).
Adherence with the program model was assessed by tracking the degree to which participating teachers and center directors attended training workshops and completed the assigned on-line training modules.
Amount of program delivery (dose) was assessed by teacher weekly reports, in which they described their program use.
Quality of program delivery was assessed by monthly ratings completed independently by center directors and program technical assistance staff who each conducted classroom observations.
Participant responsiveness to the intervention was assessed with independent (research staff) observations of teaching quality (the CLASS and other measures), collected prior to and after program delivery.
Approximately 2/3 of the teachers and center directors attended training workshops and completed all training modules; the other 1/3 showed varying levels of adherence. Across the four program components, the average rating of implementation quality was between “3” = mostly to “4” = fully, but classrooms ranged widely from a low of 1.57 (between “1” = a little to “2” = somewhat) to a high of 4.00. Based upon two cohorts, research team observations revealed positive improvements in several dimensions of teaching quality, including language use and emotion coaching.