Standards-based reform has traditionally focused on K-12 educational systems, but there is growing evidence that it is now affecting early childhood programs. While it is increasingly apparent that standards-based reform has arrived in early childhood, there is a significant gap in our understanding of how these policies are being implemented in early childhood programs or the resulting effects. This study adds to the literature by investigating how early childhood program staff, including administrators, professional development staff, and teachers, make sense of standards-based reform. This study provides a description of reform efforts in three early childhood programs and discusses how programs and teachers are implementing standards-based reform. An interpretive holistic comparative case study design was used to examine three school-based early childhood programs chosen based on the extent to which they were implementing standards-based reform. Data collected included interviews with program administrators, professional development providers and coaches, teachers, and teaching assistants, and review of salient documents such as curricula and professional development materials. Study findings indicate early childhood programs are implementing standards-based reform in a variety of ways. Across all three programs, staff strove to implement SBR to the best of their abilities while dealing with various levels of funding and professional development support. Although staff in the programs expressed concerns about meeting the myriad standards associated with SBR implementation, they all found satisfaction in seeing measurable results in the performance of their students.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2013. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Jean A. King. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 211 pages, appendices A-B.
Rader, Shannon Natasha.
Understanding standards-based reform in early childhood education: an exploratory study of implementation.
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