Students' Perceptions of Early Childhood Program Quality According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children Standards
1 online resource (179 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The purpose of the study was to evaluate the extent to which one community college was preparing its early childhood education students for employment in the field according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) professional preparation standards, based on the perceptions of program graduates and majors enrolled in at least one Early Childhood Education course during the fall 2009 and spring 2010 semester. By analyzing the perceptions of early childhood students and graduates of their preparation to meet the nineteen key indicators of associate degree program quality established by NAEYC, the study provided insight into what students and graduates perceived as the strengths and weaknesses of the program. Program faculty could use this information to enhance program quality, complete a program review and prepare for NAEYC re-accreditation. The researcher developed a survey to investigate the perceptions of early childhood students and graduates of their preparation to meet the nineteen key indicators of associate degree program quality established by NAEYC. The instrument could be used by other early childhood associate degree programs to examine students' and graduates' perceptions of program quality related to NAEYC standards. The researcher established the face validity and content validity of the instrument. Cronbach's alpha (1951) was used to estimate the internal consistency of the survey items. Cronbach's alpha was calculated to .960. The research literature suggested that there was a relationship between teacher preparation and child outcomes in early childhood education. A survey was conducted in the summer of 2010 with a sample of one hundred twenty-seven students in and graduates of the early childhood education program at a community college in the southeastern United States. Perhaps the most significant finding to emerge from this study was that participants perceived themselves as "well prepared" to meet all five of NAEYC's professional preparation standards for associate degree programs. Demographic characteristics including ethnic background, place of employment, current position, children served and quality of place of employment as measured by licensing status, star rating and NAEYC accreditation status, did not have an effect on participants' perceptions of their preparation to meet NAEYC Standards 2, 3 or 5. There was a difference in students'/graduates' perceptions of their preparation to meet NAEYC Standard 1 based on the quality of their place of employment, and of their perceptions of their preparation to meet NAEYC Standard 4 based on their current position and the quality of their place of employment. Participants perceived child guidance coursework, interactions with classmates, hands-on experiences and child development coursework to be the most beneficial aspects of the program. Participants perceived a need for greater or additional preparation in the areas of child guidance, curriculum planning and/or implementation, and working with families and communities.
Lock, CoreyLambert, RichardRock, Tracy
Thesis (D.Ed.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2011.
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