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The Environment Rating Scales in Research

The ECERS-R (1998) is the revised edition of the original ECERS (1980).  It is currently being used in several major studies, including the Early Head Start Study (Mathematica Corporation), and Welfare, Children and Families: A Three City Study (Columbia University, University of Chicago, and Harvard University).  The original ECERS and the ECERS-R have been used in the Head Start FACES study, in which over 400 classrooms are included nationwide.  The results in all these studies show that the ECERS and the ECERS-R are performing very well.

In addition, it should be noted that the ECERS and ITERS were used as the comprehensive quality measures in the National Child Care Staffing Study (Whitebook, Howes, & Phillips, 1989) and the Cost, Quality, and Child Outcomes Study (1995), the major studies of their time.  The FDCRS was used in The Study of Children in Family Child Care and Relative Care (Galinsky, Howes, Kontos, & Shinn, 1994).  In all of these studies, a relationship was found between higher scores on the ERS and more positive child development outcomes in areas that are considered important for later school success.  The effects of higher quality early childhood experiences have now been shown to last at least through the second graded of elementary school (Peisner-Feinberg, Burchinal, Clifford, Culkin, Howes, Kagan, Yazejian, Byler, Rustici, & Zelazo, 1999).  Research is continuing to evaluate longer-lasting effects.

It is also interesting to note that our scales have been used in research studies and program improvement efforts in many other countries including Canada, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Russia, Iceland, Portugal, England, Spain, Austria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Hungary and Greece.  They have been proven to be reliable and valid in each country with relatively minor adaptations.  No doubt there are cultural differences among these various countries, yet each of these countries adheres to a core set of child development goals and early childhood practices common to most modern industrialized countries (Tietze, et al, 1996).  It has been shown that in England, Greece, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Austria, higher scores on the scales are related to more positive child development outcomes (Petrogannis & Melhuish.  1996, European Child Care and Education Study Group, 1997).  This provides evidence that children from many backgrounds require similar inputs for success in developmental areas valued in western industrialized countries.

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