Using Early Care and Education Quality Measures with Dual Language Learners: A Review of the Research

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Peisner-Feinberg, Ellen; Buysse, Virginia; Fuligni, Allison; Burchinal, Margaret; Espinosa, Linda; Halle, Tamara; Castro, Dina C.
Early Childhood Research Quarterly
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01-21-2015 2:55 PM
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As the number of young dual language learners (DLLs) in early care and education (ECE) programs is increasing, it is critical to examine how well measures of the quality of practices in these settings reflect the needs of the diverse groups of children being served. This review of the research literature addressed these questions for ECE settings serving children birth-five: whether quality differs for settings serving high proportions of DLLs compared to typical samples, whether existing quality measures exhibit similar psychometric characteristics and associations with child outcomes in settings serving DLL and non-DLL children, and whether DLL-specific measures perform differently than general measures of quality. The search procedure produced 10 research studies that met the criteria for inclusion in the review out of approximately 3800 that were found initially and more than 300 that were reviewed. These studies included 10 out of 46 identified measures of ECE quality, including both general and DLL-specific measures. Findings suggested that widely used general ECE quality measures function similarly for DLLs compared to typical populations with regard to overall quality, psychometric characteristics, and child outcomes. Further research is needed to broaden the knowledge base for a wider variety of measures, beyond center-based settings, and beyond Spanish-speaking DLLs, as well as to enhance methodological approaches. There appear to be potential research opportunities through numerous existing studies that included DLL populations but had not analyzed their data in regard to these groups.
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Early Childhood Education
Bilingual Students