Level of structural quality and process quality in rural preschool classrooms

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Preschool classrooms with varying levels of structural quality requirements across the state of West Virginia were investigated for differences in measured structural and process quality. Quality was measured using group size, child-to-teacher/staff ratio, teacher education, and the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R; Harms, T., Clifford, R. M., & Cryer, D. (2005). The early childhood environment rating scale-revised. New York, NY: Teachers College Press). Thirty-six classrooms with less structural quality requirements and 136 with more structural quality requirements were measured. There were significant differences between classroom type, with classrooms with more structural quality requirements having significantly higher teacher education levels and higher environmental rating scores on the ECERS-R subscales of Space and Furnishings, Activities, and Program Structure. Results support previous research that stricter structural state regulations are correlated with higher measured structural and process quality in preschool classrooms. Implications for preschool state quality standards are discussed.