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Using ACEI's global guidelines assessment for improving early education: the intent of the Global Guidelines for Early Childhood Education and Care in the 21st Century was to provide guidance concerning the fundamental elements that are necessary to create high-quality environments for early care and education.

The Global Guidelines for Early Childhood Education and Care in the 21st Century were developed as a collaborative project between the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and the World Organization for Early Childhood (OMEP). The project's intent was to provide guidance concerning the fundamental elements that are necessary to create high-quality environments for early care and education. In 1999, an international symposium was co-sponsored by OMEP and ACEI in Ruschlikon, Switzerland. More than 80 professionals from 27 countries and every continent except Antarctica attended the symposium. The result of this meeting was the creation of the Global Guidelines (Wortham, 2001, 2003). An international work group articulated five premises that form the foundation for the Global Guidelines:

* Global Guidelines Premise #1: Children are both the present and the future of every nation. Children have needs, rights, and intrinsic worth that must be recognized and supported.

* Global Guidelines Premise #2: Every child should have the opportunity to grow up in a setting that values children, provides conditions for a safe and secure environment, and respects diversity.

* Global Guidelines Premise #3: Knowledge about human development is more substantial than at any other time in history. The new century offers opportunities to consolidate recent gains and to respond to new challenges that lie ahead.

* Global Guidelines Premise #4: Children must receive appropriate nurture and education within and outside their families from birth onward, if they are to develop optimally.

* Global Guidelines Premise #5: Paying attention to the health, nutrition, education, and psycho-social development of children during their early years is essential for the future well-being of nations and the global community.

In this first initiative, the international work group also defined criteria or items that would support concerned citizens throughout the world in advocating for quality child development and care. These were the guidelines in the "Global Guidelines."

Global Guidelines Assessment

In 2000, Sue Wortham led a second initiative to develop an assessment tool based on the Global Guidelines that could help local professionals and policymakers create and/or improve early care and education programs, particularly in developing countries. The first draft was created and piloted in Spanish in Chile and in English in the United States. Changes were made based on the pilot test results, including changes to the wording of items and to formatting, in order to make the instrument more user-friendly. In 2001-02, the second draft was piloted in Nigeria, Botswana, China (mainland China and Shanghai), and two additional locations in the United States (North Carolina and Texas).

In 2002, the ACEI Executive Board established a task force to oversee the implementation and refinement of the Global Guidelines and the Global Guidelines Self-Assessment Tool. One of the first activities of this task force was to examine the results of the second pilot test and make the recommended changes. The changes included additions and deletions of items, the addition of a "not applicable" category in the rating scale, and formatting changes.

In 2003, ACEI published the "Global Guidelines Self-Assessment Tool," which was posted on the association's website. In addition, a subcommittee of the ACEI Task Force developed guidelines for establishing reliability and validity when using the assessment.

In 2004, the task force voted to change the name of the self-assessment instrument to "ACEI Global Guidelines Assessment" (GGA). In 2006, a subcommittee of the task force revised the GGA, based on feedback from professionals in a variety of countries. For example, in 2003-04, a field test study was conducted with the GGA in five Latin American countries, including 138 participants in 69 programs, from Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela (Barbour, Boyer, Hardin, & Wortham, 2004). The results of this study and subsequent follow-up activities in Guatemala (Hardin, Vardell, & de Castaneda, 2008) suggest that the GGA is effective in helping programs identify and improve the quality of services.

Reliability and validity-related evidence were examined from data provided by raters from the United States, Macau, Mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan, India, and Kenya (Hardin, Hung, Bergen, Lin, & Trube, 2008). Revisions based on these data included changes in the content of the program indicators (e.g., wording, deletions, and additions), changing the rating "not applicable" to "not available," and format changes, such as renumbering the items.

A cover sheet was added to the GGA for users to record basic demographic information (name, gender, position in program, contact information). In addition, a Program Information Form was developed to record demographic information for each program, school, or classroom, including the type of program (e.g., public school kindergarten, private child care center), service area (rural, urban, suburban), ages served, months/days/hours of operation, and total program enrollment.

Format of the GGA

The GGA is easy for teachers or administrators to use as a guide for developing and maintaining quality early childhood services. For example, as shown in Table 1, the GGA is divided into five sections, called program areas: 1) Environment and Physical Space, 2) Curriculum Content and Pedagogy, 3) Early Childhood Educators and Caregivers, 4) Partnerships With Families and Communities, and 5) Young Children With Special Needs. Each of the five program areas is subdivided into descriptors of quality. For example, under Area 2, Curriculum Content and Pedagogy, there is a subcategory called "Learning Materials." Each subcategory includes program indicators. In the "Learning Materials" subcategory, for example, one indicator is: "Educators/caregivers use local materials as resources for teaching and learning." Users rate each indicator on a scale (excellent, good, adequate, minimum, inadequate, or not available) and write examples and comments that support item ratings (ACEI, n.d.). The revised GGA includes a total of 88 indicators.

Worldwide Use of the GGA

The GGA was designed to serve several purposes: 1) to provide a research-based process for making statements to distribute to national government leaders, 2) to promote and provoke policy discussions and curriculum development, and (3) to guide early childhood educators throughout the world to assess and improve the quality of their programs (Barbour et al., 2004).

Certificates are awarded by ACEI to early care and education individuals and/or programs that use the GGA to evaluate their services and programs. The certificates are issued to recognize the efforts of early childhood professionals who are seeking to improve their program services and/or who have assisted ACEI and Task Force members who are investigating the reliability and validity of the GGA. In 2004, the first Certificate of Participation was awarded for use of the ACEI Global Guidelines Assessment to the Wiseways School in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

The GGA has been used, is currently being used, or is being considered for use in: Botswana, Brazil, Burkino Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Korea, Macau, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Senegal, Shanghai, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Taiwan, the United States, and Venezuela.

Translations of the GGA have been completed in English, Italian, Russian, Spanish, French, Chinese (two versions), Greek Swahili, and Korean. Translations in progress include German, Thai, Khmer, and Portuguese. A consensus process (Geisinger, 1994) was used for translating the GGA into each new language. In this process, translators and reviewers reconcile wording, grammar, and the cultural appropriateness of items to ensure that the translation is congruent with the original instrument (Barbour et al., 2004).

Research With the GGA

In 2007, ACEI provided funding to the task force to conduct an international study to examine the reliability and validity of the revised instrument within and across countries. Data on the GGA have been collected from Guatemala, China, Taiwan, and the United States, including 168 programs and 336 early childhood professionals (an administrator and teacher or designee for each program). Additional data will be collected from Kenya in 2008-09. Preliminary results suggest the GGA has good internal consistency within and across subscales. Further analyses will be conducted to examine the reliability and validity of the GGA.

The ACEI Global Guidelines Assessment initiative in Russia is led by Olga Victorovna Klypa, Dean of the Pedagogical Faculty, North-eastern State University, Magadan, Russia, and Elizabeth J. Sandell, Assistant Professor, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota, USA. The first phase of this initiative was translating the GGA into Russian. A team of four researchers from the two universities worked on this translation phase.

During June 2008, Sandell presented an overview of the collaborative project at an international conference at North-eastern State University. About 30 students and faculty members from the Far East and Moscow regions of Russia attended. During 2008-09, the Russian version of the GGA instrument was pilot-tested in kindergarten classrooms (ages 3-6 years) at Golden Key Kindergarten in Magadan, Russia. Initial interrater reliability among internal and external raters was positive. The next step will be to collect and analyze the data from additional classrooms and enter data into the international database.

In Korea, Guang-Lea Lee, SoYoung Kang, and Soonohk Hong (Kyungsung University, Busan, South Korea) collaborated on the Korean translation of the GGA, verification of the translation, and collection of data, using the Korean translation. Ten privately owned kindergartens, licensed by the office of each local educational agency, were involved in the GGA study conducted in Korea in the summer of 2008. The selected kindergartens were located in three different regions of the country: Seoul, Busan, and Kyungido. These 10 schools also differed in school size and enrollment. The overall results of the GGA study show that even though Korea is a small and developing nation, it offers its citizens a high-quality educational environment. Educators, for example, have formed a remarkable partnership with families. Korea's excellence in providing kindergarten education is a source of national pride, providing evidence that society believes that childhood education is critical.

The ACEI Global Guidelines Assessment initiative in Italy is led by Luciano Cecconi, University of Reggio Emilia, Italy, and Dolores A. Stegelin, Professor, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA. The first phase of this initiative was translating the GGA into Italian. A team of four researchers from the University of Reggio Emilia was responsible for the translation phase. Data from the field test will be further analyzed by the consensus group, which will make revision recommendations for the translation of the Italian GGA.

In October 2008, Stegelin worked with the research team from the University of Reggio Emilia and presented an overview of the collaboration during an assessment conference at the University of Reggio Emilia, Italy. About 60 students and faculty members attended. The Italian version of the GGA instrument was pilot-tested in kindergarten classrooms (ages 3-6 years) in Bologna, Parma, Modenta, and Reggio Emilia, Italy. In total, 32 GGA forms were completed across classrooms in six school sites that represented all of the kindergarten types: state, communal, and private.

Future Work With GGA

The ACEI Global Guidelines Task Force members continue to use the GGA in international collaborative research. Future efforts will focus additional activities on reliability and validity studies. Although the GGA was developed to provide an assessment source for early childhood programs, it is also being used as a guide for communities that are developing early childhood programs for the first time. The guideline components contain helpful indicators for the program development process.

The Global Guidelines and the Global Guidelines Assessment materials may be downloaded free of charge from the ACEI website at www.acei.org. For administrators and researchers who do not have access to the Internet, please send a request for the Guidelines to Belinda Hardin at bjhardin@uncg.edu. To receive technical assistance before beginning the assessment process, please contact Elizabeth J. Sandell at Elizabeth.sandell@mnsu.edu.

References

Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and the World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP). (n.d.). Global guidelines for early childhood education and care in the 21st century. Retrieved May 13, 2008, from www.acei.org/globalguidelinesintro.htm

Association for Childhood Education International. (n.d.). Global guidelines assessment. Olney, MD: Author. Retrieved May 13, 2008, from www.acei.org/wguideshp.him

Barbour, A., Boyer, W., Hardin, B., & Wortham, S. C. (2004). From principle to practice: Using the Global Guidelines to assess quality education and care. Childhood Education, 80, 327-331.

Geisinger, K.F. (1994). Cross-cultural normative assessment: Translation and adaptation issues influencing the normative interpretation of assessment instruments. Psychological Assessment, 6, 304. Retrieved May 13, 2008, from http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/ recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_Search Value_0=EJ500588ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ500588.

Hardin, B. J., Hung, H., Bergen, D., Lin, L., & Trube, M. B. (2008, March). Investigating the reliability and validity of the 2006 ACEI Global Guidelines Assessment (GGA) in China, Guatemala, Kenya, Taiwan, and the United States. Presentation at the annual conference of the Association for Childhood Education International, Atlanta, GA.

Hardin, B. J., Vardell, R., & de Castaneda, A. (2008). More alike than different: Early childhood professional development in Guatemala. Childhood Education, 84, 128-134.

Wortham, S.C. (2001). Global guidelines for the education and care of young children: The work continues. Childhood Education, 78, 42-43.

Wortham, S. C. (2003). First, the global guidelines--Now, a self-assessment tool. Childhood Education, 79, 320-K.

Elizabeth J. Sandell is Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Studies: Elementary and Early Childhood, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota. Belinda J. Hardin is Assistant Professor, Department of Specialized Education Services, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina. Sue C. Wortham is Professor Emerita, Division of Education, The University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas.
Table 1
Structure of ACEI Global Guidelines Assessment (GGA)

Self-Assessment Program Areas With Subcategories      No. of Items

Area 1: Environment and Physical Space                    19
  * Environment and physical space                         7
  * Developmentally stimulating environment               12

Area 2: Curriculum Content and Pedagogy                   17
  * Curriculum                                             2
  * Content of the curriculum                              3
  * Pedagogical methods                                    4
  * Learning materials                                     2
  * Assessment of children's progress                      4
  * Evaluation of the program                              2

Area 3: Early Childhood Educators and Caregivers          13
  * Knowledge and performance                              6
  * Personal and professional characteristics              5
  * Moral/ethical dimensions                               2

Area 4: Partnerships With Families and Communities        24
  * Program policies                                       3
  * Communication with families                            2
  * Moral/ethical responsibilities and behaviors           3
  * Training and education policies                        4
  * Recognition of diversity                               2
  * Transition of children from home to the setting        3
  * Opportunities for family and community participation   5
  * Interprofessional collaboration                        2

Area 5: Young Children With Special Needs                 15
  * Access and quity of services                           5
  * Common philosophy and common aims                      3
  * Staff and service providers                            4
  * Service delivery                                       3
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Author:Sandell, Elizabeth J.; Hardin, Belinda J.; Wortham, Sue C.
Publication:Childhood Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 10, 2010
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