Publication Details

Siraj, I., Howard, S. J., Kingston, D., Neilsen-Hewett, C., Melhuish, E. C. & de Rosnay, M. (2019). Comparing regulatory and non-regulatory indices of early childhood education and care (ECEC) quality in the Australian early childhood sector. The Australian Educational Researcher, 46 (3), 365-383.


This study examines associations between Australia's regulatory ratings of quality in early childhood education and care (ECEC)-the National Quality Standard (NQS)-and two research-based quality rating scales. The analytic sample consisted of 257 ECEC services across three Australian states. Results indicated (1) modest positive associations between NQS ratings and scale scores; (2) some specificity between NQS quality areas (educational programs and practice; relationships with children) and one research scale-the Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Wellbeing (SSTEW) scale; (3) variability in quality scales scores within each NQS designation; and (4) mitigation of these associations when the time-gap between ratings exceeded 24 months. Findings suggest NQS and research scales tap some common core of quality, yet capture different aspects of quality, suggesting both could be used to raise standards of quality in Australian preschools, where the research scales potentiate raising quality to even higher levels than NQS.



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