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NIEER Weekly

Volume 18, Issue 13

May 13, 2019

Hot Topics

Quality and Qualifications

new meta-analysis from Drs. Matthew Manning, Gabriel T. W. Wong, Christopher M. Fleming, and Susanne Garvis shows a strong link between teacher qualification and classroom quality. While it may seem common sense—better trained teachers are better at teaching, right?—a number of researchers have thrown shade at the idea. Looking over 49 studies from 1980-2015, Manning et al. find a significant correlation between teacher educational attainment and allsubscales of the ERS.
Unfortunately, our last Yearbook revealed that only 34 state programs (out of 60) had BA requirements for lead teachers and our Head Start report found only 72% of Head Start teachers held BA degrees. Moreover, a recent paper by Drs. Casey Boyd-Swan and Chris Herbst suggests that even when states do impose BA requirements, a nontrivial portion of programs are noncompliant with new hires.
Manning et al.’s research makes clear why we need to get those state and Head Start numbers higher, and ensure that teacher qualifications regulations are enforced.

NIEER Activities

On Saturday, NIEER Co-Director Dr. Milagros Nores, and researcher Dr. Allison Friedman-Krauss, presented at a paper symposium at the Society for Research in Child Development in Baltimore. Read more here.

ECE Resources

In a new systematic review released in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers reviewed and evaluated the data collection techniques that have been utilized to assess preschool children’s knowledge of and preference for physical activity and examined the validity and reliability of existing techniques to do so. Researchers systematically searched for relevant studies published from 1980 through to December 2017. Researchers identified fourteen studies that were eligible for inclusion in the review.
Researchers found that four techniques were consistently used across the reviewed studies, including interviews, structured play-based activities, questionnaires, and observations. However, only four out of 14 included studies reported the assessment of the validity of the data collection tool used, but six reported testing the measures for at least one type of reliability. Researchers suggest that there is a need for validated and reliable measures to assess children’s knowledge of and preferences for physical activity. They further suggest that greater consideration is required to align data collection techniques with the characteristics, needs, and abilities of this study population.
In a new review in the Australian Journal of Early Childhood, researchers examined and systematically review empirical studies published between 2012 and 2017 to advise adults on appropriate digital technology use ‘by and with’ young children aged birth to eight years. The literature review was conducted to inform Early Childhood Australia (ECA) in the development of a national Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies.
Four themes in this review included: (1) healthy practices; (2) relationships; (3) pedagogy and (4) digital play. Findings from the themes suggest advice for adults working in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector about appropriate digital technology use ‘by and with’ young children.
In a new article in Developmental Psychology, researchers set out to identify how and understand why early exposure to caregiver intimate relationship instability uniquely predicts children’s externalizing symptoms in the context of other dimensions of unpredictability characterized by residential and parental job transitions. The study was based on data from 243 preschool children and their mothers who participated in 3 annual measurement occasions (i.e., preschool, kindergarten, first grade).
Analyses indicated that caregiver intimate relationship instability uniquely predicted a pattern of response processes over a 1-year period characterized by negative family representations, dominant interpersonal strategies for regulating resources, and diminished task persistence. In turn, each of these response processes over the 1-year period uniquely predicted a mother, teacher, and experimenter assessment of children’s externalizing symptoms over a 2-year period. These findings were robust after accounting for what turned out to be the negligible roles of residential and occupational changes as simultaneous predictors. The researchers interpret the findings in the context of how they inform and support life history theory as well as attachment and emotional security theory models.
Dual language learners (DLLs) represent one of the fastest growing populations in classrooms, and yet many teachers are monolingual and not trained in English as a Second Language, researchers report. The authors of a new paper in the Early Childhood Education Journal suggest that using translation apps can help teachers talk to their students, build relationships with children and families, and support bilingualism. They suggest further that once teachers and children can communicate successfully, DLLs can increase their understanding of content, engagement, motivation, communication, and sense of self-esteem.
Three apps discussed by authors include Speak and Translate, Microsoft Translator, and Google Translate. The authors submit that these apps have been shown to be helpful in facilitating interactions with children in their home language. Additional information is provided on using these apps, as well as their potential benefits and drawbacks.
In a new paper in the Australian Journal of Early Childhood, researchers examine the effects of an intervention model, Change Nutrition by Doing, in which children act as agents of change by taking responsibility for the contents of the lunch box they bring from home to consume at an early childhood center. The quality of the contents of the children’s lunch box in the intervention groups was measured pre- and post-intervention through structured observations that yielded standardized scores.
Researchers concluded that the intervention had a significant positive impact on the content of the lunch boxes. The researchers suggest that their study shows the potential of supporting children to be change agents at home. They also suggest that future research should include a follow-up of the family’s perseverance of the acquired habit.


The Early Childhood Education program in Woodring College of Education, Western Washington University, seeks a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Education beginning Sept. 2019.
The announcement is for “multiple positions” for a new program in Bremerton, Washington. The one remaining open position is for a candidate with a required focus on prenatal to age three children and their families. Preferred qualifications include early childhood special education with an emphasis on inclusive, reflective, culturally sustaining and relationship-based contexts.
The position is open until filled, but applicants are encouraged to submit materials by April 1, 2019.


April 5-9, 2019
Toronto, CA
Metro Toronto Convention Center
The theme of AERA’s 2019 conference, Leveraging Education Research in a “Post-Truth” Era: Multimodal Narratives to Democratize Evidence, is promoted as an opportunity to assess the state of education research, explore how research can help overcome today’s challenges by becoming more relevant to communities, practitioners, and policy makers.
Several NIEER faculty will be presenting during the meeting. Register here

Early Education News Round-up

ICYMI: Read this week’s key stories on early childhood education issues.

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