The effects of professional development for early childhood educators on emergent literacy
This research study had two primary purposes. The first purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of professional development training sessions with early childhood educators by measuring the emergent literacy skills of their students. The second purpose was to begin to establish concurrent validity for a fairly new skills-based instrument with an established norm-referenced instrument.A pretest-posttest design to assess the children's emergent literacy skills was utilized. After the pretest was conducted with the subjects, ages 3-5 years old, their teachers from the experimental group attended professional development sessions to address emergent literacy strategies for their early childhood classrooms. The teachers in the control group did not participate in the professional development sessions. At the conclusion of the intervention period the children's emergent literacy skills were posttested.The pretest and posttest assessments were conducted following best practice guidelines for early childhood education assessments. The early childhood educators who knew the children well completed the skills-based instrument through an observation process with a rating scale. The primary researcher conducted the norm-referenced instrument with each of the children in a one-on-one situation at the child's early childhood center.The scores of the two instruments were analyzed to evaluate the gains of the children, the significance of independent variables, and to examine the relationship between the two instruments. The data showed that the children in the treatment condition did make significant gains over the control group in the area of Readiness skills, but not in other areas assessed. Additionally, the independent variables of subject's gender and teacher's years of experience were significant for few of the subscales of the assessment tools. This study did begin to establish concurrent validity for the Language Arts Objective Sequence (LOS) with the Test of Early Reading Ability-Third edition (TERA-3). The LOS did possess internal consistency and demonstrated a positive correlation with the TERA-3 at the pretest. Further studies to establish concurrent validity with posttests as well as pretests need to be conducted.