Rebecca Sayre & Abbie Raikes, ECD Measure
We now know that quality early childhood programs can have a lasting positive impact. But we know less about how to translate that science into workable solutions for programs around the world. While there is increasing interest in measuring the quality of preschool environments, a challenge comes in creating feedback loops where quality data lead to improved teaching and learning processes.
ECD Measure recently started a partnership with the Schools2030 program, a ten-year longitudinal action research and learning improvement program working in preschools, primary schools, and secondary schools across ten countries.
Schools2030 will work across ten countries. Source: schools2030.org
Schools2030 has an innovative approach using design thinking to engage schools in creating new ideas for improving quality, from the bottom up. Schools2030 is led by the Aga Khan Foundation and supported by nine philanthropic partners invested in improving holistic learning outcomes. We’re excited to be partnering with Schools2030 country teams to build capacity to monitor and improve preschool quality using our Brief Early Childhood Quality Inventory (BEQI) instrument.
Schools2030 takes a human-centered design approach that empowers teachers to identify their own needs and solutions to improve learning. Because of this unique approach, they needed a practical tool to encourage teachers to reflect on new solutions and adapt their teaching to meet their goals while still maintaining an emphasis on universal elements of quality that promote children’s learning. Compared with more complicated quality scales designed for research and static, one-time measurement approaches, the BEQI fits well into the Schools2030 assessment strategy as it provides adaptable and user-friendly tools that can actively inform practice on an ongoing basis.
We developed the BEQI as a practical tool to monitor the quality of early childhood settings, with a focus on play-based learning and interactions between teachers and children. BEQI is adaptable to context and local quality standards. It includes a classroom observation checklist as well as a teacher self-assessment. The classroom observation checklist is administered by an observer (principal, coach, peer teacher, or external evaluator) and examines program activities and materials, teacher-child interactions, and health and safety. The self-assessment allows teachers to reflect on their classroom practices and self-identified strengths as well as their areas of need. Both tools center around four areas of preschool quality: play-based learning, learning through conversations, promoting strong relationships, and safe and stimulating environments. We’re excited to work with the Schools2030 country teams to adapt both the BEQI classroom observation and self-assessment tools to gather locally relevant and actionable data on preschool quality and integrate regular quality measurement into their school practices.
Teachers will use ECD Measure’s BEQI to assess preschool quality and Save the Children’s IDELA to assess preschoolers’ learning outcomes.
As illustrated in the figure below, Schools2030 puts teachers in the drivers’ seat as they will contribute to the design and use of contextualized measurement tools to understand quality and outcomes in their own classrooms. Teachers will use BEQI to identify what is working well and what could be done differently to improve children’s learning experience. They will then use the BEQI and IDELA data to design solutions to enhance holistic learning in preschools. Once the classroom solutions are implemented, teachers will use BEQI on an ongoing basis to track progress and make data-driven decisions about how to continuously improve classroom practices.
Teachers play active role in Schools2030 assessment. Source: Schools2030 Assessment Strategy, Oxford MeasurEd 2021
In 2021, ECD Measure is working with country teams in Kenya, Uganda, Portugal, and Tajikistan to adapt and pilot their own versions of the BEQI classroom observation and self-assessment tools. By 2022, teachers and programs in all ten Schools2030 countries (Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Portugal, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Uganda) will be trained to use the BEQI modules as part of the broader Schools2030 assessment strategy.
We are looking forward to continuing to support and learn from our country partners as we take a human-centered and data-driven approach to improving quality and learning in preschools around the world.