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Assistant Teachers in Prekindergarten Programs: What roles do they play in classroom management and teaching? November 20, 2009 National Association for.

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1 Assistant Teachers in Prekindergarten Programs: What roles do they play in classroom management and teaching? November 20, 2009 National Association for the Education of Young Children Walter S. Gilliam, PhD The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy Child Study Center Yale University School of Medicine Laura Stout Sosinsky, PhD Department of Psychology Fordham University

2 2 Work Supported by: Foundation for Child Development Pew Charitable Trusts National Institute for Early Education Research Foundation for Child Development Pew Charitable Trusts National Institute for Early Education Research

3 3 Why look at assistant teachers? State prekindergarten enrollment is growing There are one to two assistants for every lead teacher, yet we know very little about assistants All teachers are central to a stimulating and supportive educational environment State prekindergarten enrollment is growing There are one to two assistants for every lead teacher, yet we know very little about assistants All teachers are central to a stimulating and supportive educational environment

4 Today: Overview the rise in state-funded PreK Describe what is known about assistant teachers Present new findings on assistant teachers in PreK classrooms Discuss implications for program practice and policy Overview the rise in state-funded PreK Describe what is known about assistant teachers Present new findings on assistant teachers in PreK classrooms Discuss implications for program practice and policy 4

5 5 The State-Funded PreK Explosion State administered & funded Serves children 3-4 Classroom-based Goal: School Readiness State administered & funded Serves children 3-4 Classroom-based Goal: School Readiness

6 6 State-Funded PreK & State-Funded Head Start

7 7 Where is PreK? 58% 29% 13%

8 8 What is the level of teacher education? Most lead teachers in state-funded prekindergarten classrooms meet state BA standards (NIEER, 2008) –Less likely in Head Start classrooms Most states do not have any required educational standards for assistants (NIEER, 2008) –Some indication that most assistants hold only a high school diploma (Bellm et al., 2002) –May vary by program setting Most lead teachers in state-funded prekindergarten classrooms meet state BA standards (NIEER, 2008) –Less likely in Head Start classrooms Most states do not have any required educational standards for assistants (NIEER, 2008) –Some indication that most assistants hold only a high school diploma (Bellm et al., 2002) –May vary by program setting

9 9 Do assistant teachers affect children in the classroom? In elementary classrooms, not directly (Blatchford et al., 2004; 2008) Assistants: –help maximize students’ and teachers' attention to work –improve lead teacher effectiveness and classroom management –Are often assigned to special needs children In elementary classrooms, not directly (Blatchford et al., 2004; 2008) Assistants: –help maximize students’ and teachers' attention to work –improve lead teacher effectiveness and classroom management –Are often assigned to special needs children

10 10 Does coordination among teachers matter? How do teachers plan and coordinate classroom activities? Co-teaching is linked with better classroom quality than traditional hierarchical teaching structures (Shim et al., 2004) Release hours for planning may help, but only if adequate and used well (Grisham-Brown & Pretti- Frontczak, 2003) Co-teaching is linked with better classroom quality than traditional hierarchical teaching structures (Shim et al., 2004) Release hours for planning may help, but only if adequate and used well (Grisham-Brown & Pretti- Frontczak, 2003)

11 11 Research Goals: Describe assistant teachers in preK classrooms Examine whether differences are related to program setting and other classroom characteristics. Specifically: 1.What are the numbers and educational backgrounds of assistant teachers in preK classrooms? 2.How many weekly release hours for planning do lead teachers have, alone or shared with assistants? 3.What predicts the usefulness of assistants to classroom management and teaching? Describe assistant teachers in preK classrooms Examine whether differences are related to program setting and other classroom characteristics. Specifically: 1.What are the numbers and educational backgrounds of assistant teachers in preK classrooms? 2.How many weekly release hours for planning do lead teachers have, alone or shared with assistants? 3.What predicts the usefulness of assistants to classroom management and teaching?

12 12 National Prekindergarten Study Policy and legislative analyses on PreK since 1996 The NPS is the only national study of the implementation of PreK Wide scope of variables Policy and legislative analyses on PreK since 1996 The NPS is the only national study of the implementation of PreK Wide scope of variables

13 13 NPS Methods: Sample All 52 state preK systems (40 states) Simple random selection –N = 40,211 -> n = 4,815 3,898 respondents (81.0% response) Response range: 73% to 100% No geographic response bias, small effect by setting type Overall MOE = ± <2% Subsample of 3,191 (82%) with assistants All 52 state preK systems (40 states) Simple random selection –N = 40,211 -> n = 4,815 3,898 respondents (81.0% response) Response range: 73% to 100% No geographic response bias, small effect by setting type Overall MOE = ± <2% Subsample of 3,191 (82%) with assistants

14 Classrooms by State and System State NPNP n Response Alabama694577.6% Alaska1035785.1% Arizona2438493.3% Arkansas1777181.6% California5,83120177.3% Colorado7589176.5% Connecticut67615985.5% Delaware684078.4% Florida1,60210186.3% Georgia3,11210073.0% Hawaii5189882.4% Illinois1,9359979.8% Iowa1285990.8% Kansas2116977.5% Kentucky1,02410488.1% Louisiana2687275.0% Maine23710481.9% Maryland3297875.7% Massachusetts2,42015378.5% Michigan1,1109374.4% Minnesota1,15718580.8% State NPNP n Response Missouri1426183.6% Nebraska16 100.0% Nevada3029 100.0% New Jersey2,78718382.1% New Mexico403997.5% New York4,06619278.0% North Carolina1376688.0% Ohio1,27118882.1% Oklahoma1,34318881.0% Oregon4609379.5% Pennsylvania885173.9% South Carolina6089179.8% Tennessee1776784.8% Texas5,66510173.7% Vermont825484.4% Virginia4199080.4% Washington3048787.9% West Virginia2289085.7% Wisconsin59715077.3% NATION40,2113,89881.0% 14

15 15 NPS Methods: Measurements Survey –Respondent = lead teacher –Mirrors previous policy studies –Validated measures –Extensive piloting & focus group work CATI; 45-55 minutes English & Spanish Versions Survey –Respondent = lead teacher –Mirrors previous policy studies –Validated measures –Extensive piloting & focus group work CATI; 45-55 minutes English & Spanish Versions

16 16 NPS Methods: Procedures Scheduled at teacher convenience Extensive & ongoing training Incentives: $10 + letter of appreciation Live monitoring & post-surveying Scheduled at teacher convenience Extensive & ongoing training Incentives: $10 + letter of appreciation Live monitoring & post-surveying

17 NPS Methods: Measures Lead teacher highest degree: High school/GED, CDA, AA, BA, MA Assistant teacher education: Number with HS, CDA, AA+ COMBINED lead and assistant teacher education: LeadHigh school Lead teacher highest degree: High school/GED, CDA, AA, BA, MA Assistant teacher education: Number with HS, CDA, AA+ COMBINED lead and assistant teacher education: LeadHigh school Number of paid assistant teachers Release hours per wk Child-staff ratio Class size Students with an IEP Program setting: School-based, Head Start, Head Start/School, Other 17

18 NPS Methods: Measures con’t. Importance of assistants to: Basic duties: Supervision (watching the children, taking them to the restroom) Caring for the room (cleaning tables, setting up rest areas) Teaching duties: Teaching (leading activities, implementing curriculum), Working with parents Planning the day’s activities χ 2 (4) = 76.15, p<.001; RMSEA =.072, C.I..058-.086; CFI =.983 r =.49, p<.01 Importance of assistants to: Basic duties: Supervision (watching the children, taking them to the restroom) Caring for the room (cleaning tables, setting up rest areas) Teaching duties: Teaching (leading activities, implementing curriculum), Working with parents Planning the day’s activities χ 2 (4) = 76.15, p<.001; RMSEA =.072, C.I..058-.086; CFI =.983 r =.49, p<.01 18

19 Results What are the numbers and education levels of assistant teachers? How useful are assistant teachers? Do program and classroom differences matter? What are the numbers and education levels of assistant teachers? How useful are assistant teachers? Do program and classroom differences matter? 19

20 What do PreK classrooms look like? 65% have 1 assistant 26% have 2 assistants 9% have 3 or more Almost half of Head Start classrooms had two or more, where as only one-quarter of public school classrooms had two or more χ2 (9) = 134.32, p <.001 Classes had 18 children on average (sd = 4.6) 72% of classrooms had any students with an IEP; average was 2 students 65% have 1 assistant 26% have 2 assistants 9% have 3 or more Almost half of Head Start classrooms had two or more, where as only one-quarter of public school classrooms had two or more χ2 (9) = 134.32, p <.001 Classes had 18 children on average (sd = 4.6) 72% of classrooms had any students with an IEP; average was 2 students 20

21 What do PreK classrooms look like? Lead teacher education High school or CDA 14% AA14% BA47% MA +21% Assistant teacher education High school53% CDA18% AA +30% 21 Combination of teacher education in a classroom LeadHigh school31%

22 What do PreK classrooms look like? The latter two combinations vary by program setting, and are found in: –87% of public school classrooms –only 45% of Head Start classrooms χ 2 (9) = 627.90, p <.001 The latter two combinations vary by program setting, and are found in: –87% of public school classrooms –only 45% of Head Start classrooms χ 2 (9) = 627.90, p <.001 22 Combination of teacher education in a classroom LeadHigh school31%

23 What do PreK classrooms look like? 81% of lead teachers reported having any release hours for planning –19% did not 4.2 hours per week total on average (sd = 3.4) –1.9 hours alone (sd = 2.3) –2.3 hours shared (sd = 2.5) 81% of lead teachers reported having any release hours for planning –19% did not 4.2 hours per week total on average (sd = 3.4) –1.9 hours alone (sd = 2.3) –2.3 hours shared (sd = 2.5) 23

24 Variations by program setting and combinations of teachers Head Start teachers had more release hours per week, alone and shared, than public school teachers F (3, 3187) = 22.76, p <.001; F (3, 3187) = 39.67, p <.001 Release hours: –Similar, except in some combinations of classrooms ( F (3, 3056) = 5.09, p <.01., F (3, 3056) = 32.58, p <.001): Shared release hours: LeadHigh school2.2 hrs. Head Start teachers had more release hours per week, alone and shared, than public school teachers F (3, 3187) = 22.76, p <.001; F (3, 3187) = 39.67, p <.001 Release hours: –Similar, except in some combinations of classrooms ( F (3, 3056) = 5.09, p <.01., F (3, 3056) = 32.58, p <.001): Shared release hours: LeadHigh school2.2 hrs. 24

25 How important are assistant teachers… …to BASIC duties? Very! 4.6 on a 1-5 scale (sd = 0.6) …to TEACHING duties? Not as much. 3.7 on a 1-5 scale (sd = 1.0) Difference: t = -50.988, p <.001 Correlation: r =.49, p <.05 …to BASIC duties? Very! 4.6 on a 1-5 scale (sd = 0.6) …to TEACHING duties? Not as much. 3.7 on a 1-5 scale (sd = 1.0) Difference: t = -50.988, p <.001 Correlation: r =.49, p <.05 25

26 Does importance of assistant teachers vary by program setting and combinations of teachers? Assistants were less important in public school settings than in Head Start settings –to basic duties (F (3, 3187) = 5.98, p <.001) and –teaching duties (F (3, 3187) = 68.56, p <.001) Lead teachers with a BA reported that assistants were less important when they had a high school degree –to basic duties (F (3,3056) = 11.87, p <.001) and –teaching duties (F (3, 3056) = 96.76, p <.001) Highest rating of usefulness to teaching duties: when the lead teacher had less than a BA and the assistant had more than a high school degree. Assistants were less important in public school settings than in Head Start settings –to basic duties (F (3, 3187) = 5.98, p <.001) and –teaching duties (F (3, 3187) = 68.56, p <.001) Lead teachers with a BA reported that assistants were less important when they had a high school degree –to basic duties (F (3,3056) = 11.87, p <.001) and –teaching duties (F (3, 3056) = 96.76, p <.001) Highest rating of usefulness to teaching duties: when the lead teacher had less than a BA and the assistant had more than a high school degree. 26

27 What predicts assistant teacher usefulness to BASIC classroom duties? 27 StepR 2 ΔF df Δβ (entry)β (final) Program Setting (School-based†).0065.86 (3,3052)** Head Start (school).17***.10*** Head Start (non-school).22***.11*** Other.09***.04* Classroom.0043.66 (2, 3049)*** # of Assistants.10***.06** Size.02.01 # of children with an IEP-.03 Combination of Teachers (Lead≥BA, Assistant=High school†).0087.84 (3, 3046) *** LeadHigh school.10***.09*** Release Hours.01550.16 (2, 3043)*** Alone-.04* Shared.12*** †=referent; * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001

28 What predicts assistant teacher usefulness to BASIC classroom duties? 28 StepR 2 ΔF df Δβ (entry)β (final) Program Setting (School-based†).0065.86 (3,3052)** Head Start (school).17***.10*** Head Start (non-school).22***.11*** Other.09***.04* Classroom.0043.66 (2, 3049)*** # of Assistants.10***.06** Size.02.01 # of children with an IEP-.03 Combination of Teachers (Lead≥BA, Assistant=High school†).0087.84 (3, 3046) *** LeadHigh school.10***.09*** Release Hours.01550.16 (2, 3043)*** Alone-.04* Shared.12*** †=referent; * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001

29 What predicts assistant teacher usefulness to BASIC classroom duties? 29 StepR 2 ΔF df Δβ (entry)β (final) Program Setting (School-based†).0065.86 (3,3052)** Head Start (school).17***.10*** Head Start (non-school).22***.11*** Other.09***.04* Classroom.0043.66 (2, 3049)*** # of Assistants.10***.06** Size.02.01 # of children with an IEP-.03 Combination of Teachers (Lead≥BA, Assistant=High school†).0087.84 (3, 3046) *** LeadHigh school.10***.09*** Release Hours.01550.16 (2, 3043)*** Alone-.04* Shared.12*** †=referent; * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001

30 What predicts assistant teacher usefulness to BASIC classroom duties? 30 StepR 2 ΔF df Δβ (entry)β (final) Program Setting (School-based†).0065.86 (3,3052)** Head Start (school).17***.10*** Head Start (non-school).22***.11*** Other.09***.04* Classroom.0043.66 (2, 3049)*** # of Assistants.10***.06** Size.02.01 # of children with an IEP-.03 Combination of Teachers (Lead≥BA, Assistant=High school†).0087.84 (3, 3046) *** LeadHigh school.10***.09*** Release Hours.01550.16 (2, 3043)*** Alone-.04* Shared.12*** †=referent; * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001 3%

31 What predicts assistant teacher usefulness to TEACHING duties? 31 StepR 2 ΔF df Δβ (entry)β (final) Program Setting (School-based†).06165.96 (3,3052)*** Head Start (school).07***.03 Head Start (non-school).04*-.01 Other-.01-.03 Classroom.00910.01 (2, 3049)*** # of Assistants.06**.04* Size-.01-.02 # of children with an IEP.01-.01 Combination of Teachers (Lead≥BA, Assistant=High school†).03843.81 (3, 3046) *** LeadHigh school.03.02 Release Hours.04215.94 (2, 3043)*** Alone-.07*** Shared.20*** †=referent; * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001

32 What predicts assistant teacher usefulness to TEACHING duties? 32 StepR 2 ΔF df Δβ (entry)β (final) Program Setting (School-based†).06165.96 (3,3052)*** Head Start (school).07***.03 Head Start (non-school).04*-.01 Other-.01-.03 Classroom.00910.01 (2, 3049)*** # of Assistants.06**.04* Size-.01-.02 # of children with an IEP.01-.01 Combination of Teachers (Lead≥BA, Assistant=High school†).03843.81 (3, 3046) *** LeadHigh school.03.02 Release Hours.04215.94 (2, 3043)*** Alone-.07*** Shared.20*** †=referent; * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001

33 What predicts assistant teacher usefulness to TEACHING duties? 33 StepR 2 ΔF df Δβ (entry)β (final) Program Setting (School-based†).06165.96 (3,3052)*** Head Start (school).07***.03 Head Start (non-school).04*-.01 Other-.01-.03 Classroom.00910.01 (2, 3049)*** # of Assistants.06**.04* Size-.01-.02 # of children with an IEP.01-.01 Combination of Teachers (Lead≥BA, Assistant=High school†).03843.81 (3, 3046) *** LeadHigh school.03.02 Release Hours.04215.94 (2, 3043)*** Alone-.07*** Shared.20*** †=referent; * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001

34 What predicts assistant teacher usefulness to TEACHING duties? 34 StepR 2 ΔF df Δβ (entry)β (final) Program Setting (School-based†).06165.96 (3,3052)*** Head Start (school).07***.03 Head Start (non-school).04*-.01 Other-.01-.03 Classroom.00910.01 (2, 3049)*** # of Assistants.06**.04* Size-.01-.02 # of children with an IEP.01-.01 Combination of Teachers (Lead≥BA, Assistant=High school†).03843.81 (3, 3046) *** LeadHigh school.03.02 Release Hours.04215.94 (2, 3043)*** Alone-.07*** Shared.20*** †=referent; * p <.05, ** p <.01, *** p <.001 15%

35 Summary of findings Assistant teachers’ education levels are generally low A more-educated lead teacher and a minimally-educated assistant teacher was the most common combination in a classroom When the discrepancy between the lead and assistant teachers’ educational level was smaller, lead teachers found assistants to be more useful to teaching Assistants are judged less useful to teaching in classrooms –in a public school –with a combination lead=BA, assistant=HS –With fewer shared release hours for planning Assistant teachers’ education levels are generally low A more-educated lead teacher and a minimally-educated assistant teacher was the most common combination in a classroom When the discrepancy between the lead and assistant teachers’ educational level was smaller, lead teachers found assistants to be more useful to teaching Assistants are judged less useful to teaching in classrooms –in a public school –with a combination lead=BA, assistant=HS –With fewer shared release hours for planning 35

36 Limitations NPS not primarily designed to examine assistant teachers –Assistant teachers could not be examined at the individual level if more than one –Levels of team-teaching or use of release hours could not be assessed NPS not primarily designed to examine assistant teachers –Assistant teachers could not be examined at the individual level if more than one –Levels of team-teaching or use of release hours could not be assessed 36

37 Discussion/ conclusions/ implications… How should we think about: –Training assistants? –Grooming assistants for lead teacher jobs? –Training lead teachers in effective supervision? Need to know more about: –Who assistants are and what they do? –Career development of assistants? –What makes for effective teaching team partnerships? What can we now recommend for: –Teacher preparation? –Practice? –Policy? How should we think about: –Training assistants? –Grooming assistants for lead teacher jobs? –Training lead teachers in effective supervision? Need to know more about: –Who assistants are and what they do? –Career development of assistants? –What makes for effective teaching team partnerships? What can we now recommend for: –Teacher preparation? –Practice? –Policy? 37

38 38 For More Info… Walter S. Gilliam, PhD Director The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy Child Study Center Yale University School of Medicine 230 South Frontage Road PO Box 207900 New Haven, CT 06520-7900 Phone: 203-785-3384 Email: walter.gilliam@yale.edu Laura Stout Sosinsky, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Psychology Fordham University 441 East Fordham Road Bronx, NY 10458 Phone: 718-817-3884 Email: sosinsky@fordham.edu


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