Erken Çocukluk Eğitiminde Kalite Uygulamaları: Sistemler Arası Bir Karşılaştırma
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This study conducted comparative educational research to examine two different quality rating and improvement systems, one of which is used in Turkey and the other in the state of North Carolina in the United States. According to this aim, first the conceptual framework is presented with the support of the literature reviews. This conceptual framework is described through a review of literature related to the terms of “quality”, and “quality and its importance in early childhood education”. Discussion of these concepts is followed with a deeper explanation of the practices of the two systems through a summary of the laws and regulations, and related official websites for each system. This research is designed as a mixed method study. In the quantitative component of the study descriptive results regarding the two systems are presented. ECERS-R (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised Edition) is used to evaluate the quality of the early childhood programs in Turkey and North Carolina. Moreover, PAS (Program Administration Scale) is used to evaluate the quality of administrative functioning in the early childhood programs. These scales are used in 20 child care programs in Turkey, in Eskisehir, and 20 child care programs in North Carolina, in Guilford County. The collected data are analyzed through descriptive statistics, non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U test to examine significant differences based on the independent variables such as program type, teachers’, program directors’, consultants’ education level, the systems (Ministry of National Education and QRIS). Also, Spearman Rho correlations are presented to compare the two scales’ results between the two systems as well. The qualitative component is designed with phenomenological approach to better understand the systems for ensuring the quality of early childhood education in two different regions. Focus group interviews are conducted with the supervisors in the both systems, in Turkey and North Carolina. Six educational supervisors who work for the Ministry of National Education in Eskisehir Province are recruited in the Turkey; four QRIS consultants who work for DCDEE are recruited in NC. One focus group interview is conducted in each location. After the interviews, themes, categories and codes are obtained through content analysis of the transcripts. The quantitative analysis results show that the child care program quality in Eskisehir, Turkey is an average between minimal (3) and good (5) level in terms of the early childhood environment quality. The average program administration quality is rated at medium level. In the qualitative analysis results, the educational supervisors’ opinions were categorized in the themes “problematic issues/challenges” and “recommendations for improving the system”. The quantitative data analysis results of the North Carolina programs show that the child care programs average ratings from good (5) to excellent (7) level quality in terms of the early learning environment. The program administration scores are medium-level, which is similar to Turkey. The QRIS consultants’ opinions fell under the themes of “QRIS practices”, “advantages of the system”, “challenges” and “recommendation for improving the system”. The comparative analysis shows that child care programs in NC have higher quality scores in terms of early childhood environments than the programs in Turkey. On the other hand, program administration scores are similar in the two systems. QRIS practices have been implemented in North Carolina since 1999, so, this system has an established history. However, this system needs updates to measure and recognize program quality better. In Turkey, there have been several efforts to develop the quality standards in early childhood education over a long time. Finally, the quality standards were put into practice in 2015. Although there is still a need for time for the standards to become a part of the system, this is a significant step for improving the quality of early childhood education in Turkey. Examining the different practices and aspects of two systems provides a great deal of information about the quality of ECE, so this study makes an important contribution to the field. Even though there are several differences in each system, there is still a common aim for both systems. The aim is to address the need for improvement to support ongoing quality in ECE practices.