Democratic accountability and contextualised systemic evaluation
A comment on the OECD initiative to launch an International Early Learning Study (IELS)

Abstract

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has initiated a process to develop and pilot an international comparative assessment of learning outcomes for young children aged 4.5 to 5.5 years. The International Early Learning Study (IELS) has received little attention from early childhood scholars and practitioners due not least to the absence of a meaningful consultation process. In this paper, written on behalf of the international Reconceptualising Early Childhood (RECE) network, we argue that research evidence that draws large-scale standardised assessment and comparison of young children into question is not taken into account by the proponents of IELS. We express our concern that IELS confirms the OECD's renunciation of the more contextually sensitive approach to understanding early childhood systems that underpinned earlier studies, in particular Start-ing Strong I+II. We argue that emerging resistance from the field against decontextualized standardised assessment of children, and the nature of the information gathered will render IELS results largely meaningless for the stated purpose of improving early childhood experiences for all children. The paper concludes with a call for supporting competent systems, democratic accountability and systemic evaluation.

Introduction

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has a long tradition of providing data and policy advice in early childhood education (OECD, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2009). The Starting Strong I+II studies, in particular (OECD, 2001, 2006), are considered landmark research in the field and have contributed hugely to a better understanding of the policy choices available to countries faced with the task of developing and improving their early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in order to achieve more equitable and just outcomes for all children and families, as well as for the wider society.

Building on these studies the OECD is now in the early stages of developing and piloting an international assessment of early learning outcomes – the International Early Learning Study (IELS). While we are convinced that international collaboration and joint learning with and from the diversity of experiences in early childhood systems around the world is necessary, we are concerned that joint learning at the international level is increasingly replaced by universal standardised assessment of children, decontextualized comparisons, and, as a consequence, ranking of countries.

There is ample evidence of the low reliability and validity of standardized tests of children, especially in contexts of large-scale comparison (Meisels, 2004, 2006; Meisels & Atkins-Burnett, 2006; Madaus & Clarke, 2001; Raudenbush, 2005). Promoting and rolling out standardised assessment and comparison approaches regardless of overwhelming evidence that they cannot achieve their stated goals raises the question whether political and corporate profit interests are being privileged over valid research, children’s rights and meaningful evaluation.

As members of the international and interdisciplinary movement Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education, representing scholars, senior academic researchers, policy-makers and practitioners in over 25 nations, we outline our shared concerns, counter arguments, and our offer for collaboration in this statement.

About RECE

The Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education (RECE) movement gained momentum in the 1980s with conversations among scholars around the world who were concerned about the dominance of a narrow interpretation of developmental psychology and child development theory, and who drew from an array of more critical, feminist, postcolonial, postmodern and Indigenous perspectives in their work. Such reconceptualist scholars, like those in other fields, question the belief that scientific truths could be 'discovered' about any individual or group of children and then applied to all children, no matter the culture, language, belief structure, or physical life circumstances. In other words, the early work from reconceptualists in our field questioned the promotion of universal prescriptions for 'best practice' and other 'grand narratives,' which continue to dominate our field.

As an international community coming from a wide range of disciplines and professions, we share a concern about privileging particular sets of beliefs or forms of knowledge that typically reflect western or Eurocentric traditions and values. Historically, on a global scale, the privilege of western onto-epistemologies (ways of knowing, doing, and being) have created power for certain groups of people, and continue to oppress others.

Over the past 25 years reconceptualist scholars have contributed to a rapidly growing body of research and knowledge that offer alternative – postcolonial, critical, feminist, indigenous, transdisciplinary – understandings of what it means to educate and care for young children.

Several publishing companies devote an entire series to reconceptualizing early childhood education scholarship (Peter Lang, Routledge, Palgrave-Macmillan and others) and many of us have published in a range of journals and implemented various forms of critical prac-tice in education and public policy work (Bloch, Swadener, & Cannella, 2014. See more examples in the bibliography at the end of this page).

Reconceptualist scholarship has been shared at annual international conferences since 1991, with conferences held in locations across the United States and in Australia, Norway, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Palestine, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Kenya and Canada, regularly drawing participants from over 20 countries on all continents. Reconceptualist scholarship and research has taken a prominent place in other academic forums, too. This includes the Special Interest Group 'critical perspectives on early childhood' within the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). We write this statement as part of the proceedings of the 24th international RECE conference, Taupo, Aotearoa New Zealand, 30 October – 3 November 2016.

The need for critical inquiry, democratic accountability and contextualised, systemic evaluation

Much of our argument about diversity, inter- and trans-disciplinarity, and multiple stake-holder perspectives as the basis for in-depth understandings of early childhood practices, policies and systems in complex socio-cultural contexts resonates with the OECD’s own understanding, as outlined in the first two Starting Strong studies that, as Penn (2011, p. 83) states, have become a 'reference point for all policy makers everywhere' (Penn, 2011, p. 83).

The OECD’s own approach to investigating, documenting and comparing early childhood systems has been underpinned by the notion that

ECEC policy and the quality of services are deeply influenced by underlying assumptions about childhood and education: what does childhood mean in this society? How should young children be reared and educated? What are the purposes of education and care, of early childhood institutions? What are the functions of early childhood staff?

(OECD, 2001, p. 63)

In consequence, Starting Strong II concludes by proposing a set of ten policy areas 'for con-sideration by governments and the major ECEC stakeholders' (OECD, 2006, pp. 205-220; Urban, 2015b)

  1. To attend to the social context of early childhood development
  2. To place well-being, early development and learning at the core of ECEC work, while respecting the child's agency and natural learning strategies
  3. To create the governance structures necessary for system accountability and quality assurance
  4. To develop with the stakeholders broad guidelines and curricular standards for all ECEC services
  5. To base public funding estimates on achieving quality pedagogical goals
  6. To reduce child poverty and exclusion through upstream fiscal, social and labour policies, and to increase resources within universal programmes for children with diverse learning rights
  7. To encourage family and community involvement in early childhood services
  8. To improve the working conditions and professional education of ECEC staff
  9. To provide autonomy, funding and support to early childhood services
  10. To aspire toward ECEC systems that support broad learning, participation and democracy

These ten areas outline a comprehensive and systemic approach to developing policies and practices for young children, their families and communities. They take into account the social, cultural, economic and political context of early childhood systems and the complexity and diversity of countries' histories that inevitably shape their institutions and shared understandings of what 'quality' in early childhood means and how it can and can-not be developed.

There can be no one-size-fits-all approach to understanding and evaluating the quality of early childhood services (Meisels, 2006; Meisels & Atkins-Burnett, 2006; Urban, 2015b). Instead, the complexity of the task, especially when the international dimension is added to the local picture, calls for broad and meaningful consultation and democratic debate with all stakeholders at local, national and international level.

Decontextualised comparison and preschool PISA instead?

Comparison is a grand epistemological strategy, a powerful conceptual mecha-nism, fixing attention upon one or a few attributes.[… However, it] obscures case knowledge that fails to facilitate comparison

(Stake, 2003, p. 148)

Instead of careful, culturally and contextually appropriate consideration of the achievements of early childhood systems in diverse countries, and of systemic evaluation of the actual outcomes for children, families and society, IELS appears to adopt a strategy that favours largely decontextualised comparison and measurement of narrowly defined pre-determined outcomes. It is our concern that such an approach will not provide necessary or meaningful information for decision makers and early childhood leaders in participating countries and beyond. What it will do is draw early childhood education firmly into a global framework of standardised assessment across all tiers of the education system, from early childhood to higher education. As the 'Call for Tenders' for IELS specifies, the information gathered at preschool age will eventually

provide information on the trajectory between early learning outcomes and those at age 15, as measured by PISA. In this way, countries can have an earlier and more specific indication of how to lift the skills and other capabilities of its young people.

(OECD, 2015, p. 103)

A persistent criticism of such league table approaches is that they lend themselves to over-simplification and ignore the reality that different cultural traditions and socio-cultural con-texts produce different paradigms, particularly in education. As Alexander (2000) states with the British example in mind:

[…] international comparison offered policy makers the tempting prospect of both plausible explanations and viable solutions. The explanations tended to be mono-causal and linear, and to jump incautiously from correlation to causality. Thus, with international league tables of both economic and educational performance now conveniently available, it was assumed that a country's position on one was determined by its position on the other. […] The solution was clear: adopt strategies that would raise the average test scores of British children, and Britain's economic future would be assured.

(Alexander, 2000, p. 41)

A further matter of concern is that comparative studies across complex international and cultural contexts inevitably lose sight of the messy, complex, unique – and therefore crucially important – aspects of educational practices. Methodological decisions aimed at keeping comparison manageable contribute to shifting the focus of interest, perhaps in-voluntarily, from the 'thick of what is going on' (Stake, 2003, p. 148) to the comparison itself.

We see such an approach as diametrically opposed to the need for creating better understandings (Schwandt, 2004) of early childhood systems and their contribution to the well-being of all children, and are convinced that IELS as it is currently conceptualised – a pre-school PISA in all but name (Moss et al., 2016) – is not going to provide a meaningful basis for achieving more just and equitable outcomes for children, families, and the wider community. Resources will be diverted from much needed local and national improvement processes to creating a largely meaningless international league table instead.

Beyond IELS: the global context for standardised assessment of predeter-mined outcomes

We are aware and concerned, as well, about the increasing entanglement between standardised assessment as central part of the agendas and strategies of influential global agents in education and corporate interests, especially, but not limited to, the Global South. We see this entanglement reflected in the changing approach to developing and administering standardised assessment, including PISA:

[…] PISA is changing – and changing in a way that both mirrors and facilitates the neoliberal mania for privatization. In the early years of PISA, test design, data collection and analysis were all entrusted to international consortia of professional organizations. In 2013, the OECD awarded the contract for the administration of their tests in the US to McGraw-Hill Education, the giant textbook and testing com-pany. In 2014, however, the OECD gave the contract for developing the frameworks for PISA 2018 to Pearson, the largest education company in the world: Pearson will determine what is to be tested and how.

(Unwin & Yandell, 2016, p. 43)

Pearson, they continue to explain, is using its global position to 'simultaneously [influence] educational policy and providing solutions for the problems which it identifies (and thus creating opportunities for further profit-making interventions)' (ibid). It is becoming ever more clear that the global frameworks for standardised assessment, of which IELS will be-come an inextricable part if it goes ahead, are neither designed to serve and inform demo-cratic policy-making nor to support contextually appropriate improvement of educational practices and equitable outcomes for all children. On the contrary, they are designed to deflect attention from the need for democratically legitimate, local, and systemic devel-opment of policies, practices and evaluation approaches. If not by intention then by de-sign, the current international initiatives for standardised assessment contribute to open-ing public education sectors to corporate profit interests and to channelling scarce re-sources from the public sphere to private, corporate profit.4

Searching for alternative approaches

In some of the 16 countries that took part in 'scoping' IELS5 initiatives from the early childhood field, together with critical scholars and organisations in civil society, have begun to voice their concerns and organise resistance against the approach. In Germany, for example, a coalition of national organisations that include service providers, trade unions, parents’ organisations and research have published a statement bringing together critical arguments against Germany’s participation in IELS. The authors build their case on the lack of recognition of children's rights, diversity, and socio-cultural contextualisation of early childhood practices in the OECD approach. Crucial elements that underpin early childhood practices in any country, they suggest, are given up in order to enable international comparison and ranking. The detailed critique voiced from within the German early childhood community echoes our argument that IELS abandons meaningful contextualised evaluation in order to create comparability, which, in turn renders possible findings largely meaningless.

[…] the signees fear the planned standardization will pay too little attention to each child's specific rights and needs, disregarding them in order to adopt an "effective" methodology capable of generating findings that can be used for cost-benefit analyses. A study structured in this manner would be at odds with the educational standards of inclusion and diversity that German practice explicitly adheres to.

Critical questions are being raised in a number of other countries, too. At the time of our writing this statement they include (not an exhaustive list):

  • An initiative launched by the Finnish Haukkala Foundation to protect well-being and children's rights as the foundation of early childhood policy and practice in Finland
  • An initiative by the Alliance for Childhood at the European Parliament taking a stand against standardisation and privatisation of early childhood education and care in the EU
  • A critical statement currently being developed by PLÉ, the National Association of Higher Education Institutions Offering Degree Level Training in Early Childhood Care and Education in Ireland
  • A detailed argument against the participation of New Zealand in IELS on grounds of its inappropriateness for evaluating the highly culturally contextualised early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki, written by leading New Zealand early childhood scholars Carr, Mitchell and Rameka
  • We are aware of further position papers, responses and statements currently being developed by a range of international early childhood organisations including DE-CET (Diversity and Equality in Early Childhood Education and Training / www.decet.org) and the International Froebel Society (IFS).

  1. University of Roehampton, London, UK
  2. Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
  3. This statement was initially discussed at a working group whose members have also contributed to the final wording of the document. Names and affiliations are listed at the end of this document.
  4. A visit of the website that publishes the call for tender for the IELS pilot in the US provides revealing insight into the values that guide the initiative: IELS is presented as a ‘business opportunity’ by the US government (https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=f1f768686c6d0a656582efc61e23b3ad&tab=core&_cview=0 ). Revealing, too, is the fact that item 5 of the tender document specifies that ‘expert help’ in developing and piloting IELS is ‘optional’.
  5. Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Turkey, the UK, the USA and Wales (UK).

Meaningful consultation, active engagement, and respect for diversity and rights

The overall picture that is beginning to emerge is that early childhood professionals, scholars, and activists in many countries are urging their governments not to take part in IELS because of its disregard for the diverse histories, practices, understandings and values of childrearing and early care and education.

As Moss et al. (2016) remind us, debate about the proposed International Early Learning Study has not reached practitioners, parents and policy makers beyond the immediate group of country representatives at the OECD Starting Strong network. For an initiative aspiring to have direct impact on the practices of potentially all early childhood services in and beyond the participating countries, this woeful lack of information and consultation is entirely inappropriate. It is also a strategic mistake, a fundamental methodological flaw, and an opportunity missed on a global scale. Members of the international early childhood community – practitioners and scholars – will render IELS findings largely meaningless due to their disconnect with and disrespect for diverse, locally embedded approaches to early childhood education and care.

The general approach suggested by IELS not only underestimates the complexity of local practice, rooted in diverse historical and cultural contexts. It actively contradicts the rights of children, families and communities to meaningful participation in all matters concerning and affecting the upbringing and education of young children. Conspicuous by its absence from the IELS proposal is, for example, the recognition of minority groups and indigenous peoples in OECD countries and beyond. The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIPS) explicitly recognises the right of Indigenous Peoples to diversity and to education 'in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning' (Article 14), and to 'dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information' (Article 15). Despite these rights the present OECD initiative intersects and overshadows countries' own approaches to conceptualising, framing and evaluating early childhood education and care practices. In the case of Aotearoa New Zealand, to give just one example, this may lead to existential threats to the culturally sensitive evaluation approach that underpins the world-renowned Te Whāriki curriculum.

If the initiative carries on without a much more proactive and meaningful engagement with the field, resistance will grow and actors at all levels of early childhood systems will individually and collectively reject not only the assessment but also the findings. This, in turn, will contribute to IELS becoming largely meaningless and unable to achieve its stated goals.

Within RECE we understand this to be due to the lack of democratic, professional AND scholarly debate about the purpose of and approach to the initiative. We will continue to work with our international partners (individuals and organisations) to initiate and support this debate at all levels of practice, research and policy-making, and we are looking forward to engaging in a constructive forward looking debate with the proponents of IELS.

Towards Competent Systems

The controversy over how to document, understand, evaluate and support the experiences of the youngest citizens in early childhood education and care institutions and systems points beyond the methodological to more fundamental questions: what is the purpose of early childhood education and care? How do we understand what it means to be a child, and to live and grow up in our societies at this point in time and in the current cultural, eco-nomic and political context? How do we understand and shape the relationship between private and the public responsibilities and contributions regarding the upbringing of young children? Each of these questions is contested and subject to democratic debate. How we respond to them, individually and collectively, contributes to shaping our early childhood practices, institutions and policies. The current focus on early learning (often with a connotation of preparedness for the following stages of the formal education system) is not the only possible response to the question of purpose of early childhood services. A recent research project funded by the European Commission outlines much deeper connections between early childhood services and societal and political challenges of our time. They include

  • promoting democracy, citizenship, children's and civil rights
  • working towards equality (of opportunity and outcome) and social cohesion
  • addressing diversity (linguistic, ethnic, cultural . . .) and social justice, including children with special educational needs
  • reducing poverty and exclusion
  • promoting creativity and innovation
    (Urban, Vandenbroeck, Van Laere, Lazzari, & Peeters, 2012, p. 478)

While inevitably grounded in local practices and concrete life experiences of children, families and communities, early childhood services are also responding to these much broader and ambitious socio-political agendas. Increasingly, policies at international and national levels are recognising that the realisation of such complex tasks requires shifting our focus from individual elements to the ‘bigger picture’: the capability of the early childhood system to support competent, meaningful and sustainable interactions between children, practitioners, families and communities. Findings of the international research project Competence Requirements in Early Childhood Education and Care CoRe) suggest that competence in early childhood systems unfolds in relationships between individuals, institutions, and governance of the system, based on shared knowledge(s), practices and values (Urban, Vandenbroeck, Van Laere, Lazzari, & Peeters, 2011; Urban et al., 2012).

The need for systemic approaches is now widely recognised in national and international early childhood policy documents (Romero et al., 2013; Urban, 2015a; Vandenbroeck, Urban, & Peeters, 2016; Working Group on Early Childhood Education and Care, 2014). Competent Systems require systemic evaluation rather than measurement of predetermined and decontextualised outcomes. We strongly believe this is where the OECD and its member states should direct their resources and expertise.

Summary

To sum up our position, we think there are fundamental questions about the proposed International Early Learning Study that call for urgent democratic, scholarly and professional debate. The need for open debate reaches beyond technical 'consultation' on methodological or operational aspects of the study. Instead, the motives and interests driving international standardised assessment and its underlying assumptions need to be questioned at all levels. We disagree with an approach that conceptualises and instrumentalises early childhood education and care mainly as preparation for the following stages of formal education, and as tool for achieving long-term economic outcomes – which are in itself questionable or unsubstantiated. The use of research evidence to justify IELS is highly selective, as there appears to be complete disregard of the large and sustained body of critical work, undertaken not least by reconceptualist researchers over the past decades. If this omission was due to those working towards IELS being unaware that substantial counter evidence and counter arguments exist, we would be happy to bring them into the discussion. It would raise fundamental questions, however, about whose political or business interests are being privileged over research evidence, if the omission would be seen to be the result of deliberate disregard of critical scholarship and research.

We are concerned that scarce resources are being directed towards an initiative that will provide little meaningful information for policy makers and practitioners. Considering the growing critique, opposition and resistance to IELS, which will render the entire exercise meaningless, it can only be a distraction from urgently needed systemic evaluations and improvements of early childhood education and care at local level.

We find our argument supported by a broad international consensus (supported by earlier work of the OECD) that more equitable and just experiences for all children and families require competent systems and democratic accountability rather than standardised assessment of narrowly predefined outcomes.

December 2016

On behalf of Reconceptualising Early Childhood Education

  • Mathias Urban, PhD
  • Professor of Early Childhood Studies
  • University of Roehampton, London, UK

  • Jenny Ritchie, PhD
  • Associate Professor, School of Education
  • Victoria University of Wellington, NZ

  • Andrea Delaune
  • Early Years Enquiry Research Hub
  • University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ

  • Marek Tesar, PhD
  • Senior Lecturer in Childhood Studies and Early Childhood Education
  • University of Auckland, NZ

  • Sonja Arndt, PhD
  • Senior Lecturer
  • University of Waikato, NZ

  • Beth Blue Swadener, PhD
  • Professor of Justice and Social Inquiry
  • Arizona State University, AZ, USA

  • Alex Gunn, EdD
  • Associate Dean
  • College of Education, University of Otago, NZ

  • Alison Warren
  • Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand

  • Louise Phillips, PhD
  • School of Education
  • The University of Queensland, AU

  • Marianne Bloch, PhD
  • Professor Emerita, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

  • Kenya Wolff, PhD
  • Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education
  • The University of Mississippi, MS, USA

  • Kylie Smith, PhD
  • Associate Professor, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
  • University of Melbourne, AU

  • Sonya Gaches, PhD
  • Assistant Professor, University of Arizona, AZ, USA | University of Otago, NZ



Supporters

  • Sandy Farquhar, PhD
  • Director Early Childhood Education
  • University of Auckland, New Zealand

  • Claudia Diaz-Diaz
  • PhD Candidate
  • University of British Columbia, Canada

  • Elin Madil
  • Otago University Childcare Association
  • Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Casey Y. Myers, PhD
  • Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education
  • Studio & Research Arts Coordinator Child Development Center
  • Kent State University, OH, USA

  • E Jayne White, PhD
  • Associate Professor
  • University of Waikato, New Zealand

  • Nikki Fairchild
  • Senior Lecturer Early Childhood
  • University of Chichester, UK

  • Dr. Zsuzsa Millei
  • Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Social Research, University of Tampere, Finland
  • Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood and Comparative Education, University of Newcastle, Australia

  • Joanne Lehrer
  • Assistant Professor
  • Université du Québec en Outaouais, Canada

  • Dr. Iris Duhn
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Course Leader (Bachelor of Education (Hons) in Early Years and Master of Teaching in Early Years)
  • Faculty of Education
  • Monash University, Australia

  • I-Fang Lee, PhD
  • Senior Lecturer
  • School of Education
  • University of Newcastle, Australia

  • Laurie Kocher
  • Early Childhood Care and Education
  • Capilano University
  • North Vancouver, Canada

  • Jonathan Silin, EdD
  • Editor-In-Chief, Occasional Papers
  • Bank Street College of Education
  • Fellow, Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies
  • University of Toronto

  • Margaret J Stuart, PhD
  • Independent researcher
  • New Zealand

  • Dr. Vina Adriany
  • Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Universitas Pendidikan, Indonesia

  • Anette Hellman
  • Department of education, communication and learning
  • University of Gothenburg, Sweden

  • Rachel Berman, PhD
  • School of Early Childhood Studies
  • Ryerson University
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • Janice Kroeger, PhD
  • Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator
  • Kent State University
  • Kent, Ohio, USA

  • Janette Kelly
  • Academic Staff Member
  • ECE Wintec
  • Hamilton, New Zealand

  • Professor Jayne Osgood
  • Centre for Education Research & Scholarship
  • Middlesex University
  • London, UK

  • Rebecca Hopkins
  • Doctoral Candidate
  • The University of Auckland, New Zealand

  • Prof. Michel Vandenbroeck
  • Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy
  • Ghent University, Belgium

  • Susan Matoba Alder, PhD
  • Professor of Early Childhood Education
  • University of Hawaii West Oahu, USA

  • Emeritus Professor Peter Moss
  • Thomas Coram Research Unit
  • UCL Institute of Education
  • University College London, UK

  • Professor Tamsin Meaney
  • Bergen University College, Norway

  • Susanna Mantovani
  • Senior Professor of general and Social Pedagogy
  • Dipartimento di Scienze Umane per la formazione
  • Università di Milano-Bicocca, Italy

  • Lacey Peters, PhD
  • Hunter College of the City University of New York, USA

  • Chelsea Bailey
  • Chief Play Executive
  • AnjiPlay International

  • Helen May, PhD
  • Professor of Education
  • University of Otago, New Zealand

  • Antje Bitterberg
  • Instructor - School of Education and Childhood Studies
  • Capilano University, Canada

  • Michelle Salazar Pérez, PhD
  • Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education
  • New Mexico State University, USA

  • Suzanne Quinn, PhD
  • SL Early Childhood Studies
  • University of Roehampton, Froebel College, London, UK

  • Peter Elfer, PhD
  • Principal Lecturer Early Childhood Studies
  • University of Roehampton, London, UK

  • Camilla Eline Andersen
  • Associate Professor
  • Hedmark University of Applied Science, Norway

  • Ann Merete Otterstad
  • Docent
  • Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science, Norway

  • Cassandra Kotsanas, PhD
  • Research Assistant
  • University of Melbourne, Australia

  • Leigh O'Brien
  • Professor
  • Ella Cline Shear School of Education
  • State University of New York at Geneseo, USA

  • Dr Linda Knight
  • School of Early Childhood
  • Queensland University of Technology, Australia

  • Kathleen Kummen, PhD
  • Coordinator, ECCE Department
  • School of Education and Childhood Studies Capilano University
  • North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

  • Bruce Hurst
  • PhD Candidate
  • University of Melbourne, Australia

  • Dr Joanne Ailwood
  • Senior Lecturer
  • School of Education
  • The University of Newcastle, Australia

  • Monica Lysack
  • Professor, School of Education
  • Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario, Canada

  • Ilene Berson
  • Professor of Ealy Childhood
  • University of South Florida, USA

  • Felicity McArdle, PhD
  • Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Education
  • Queensland University of Technology, Australia

  • Yasin Ozturk, PhD
  • Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education
  • Fatih School of Education
  • Karadeniz Technical University, Turkey

  • Amita Gupta
  • Professor of Early Childhood Education
  • School of Education, The City College of New York, USA

  • Sue Robson, PhD
  • Research Fellow, Early Childhood Research Centre
  • University of Roehampton, London, UK

  • Hanne Berit Myrvold
  • Assistant professor
  • Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway

  • Valeria Scacchi
  • Research Officer/Visiting Lecturer Early Childhood Studies
  • University of Roehampton, London, UK

  • Joseph Michael Valente, PhD
  • Assistant Professor
  • The Pennsylvania State University, USA

  • Gail Boldt, PhD
  • Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Program Coordinator, Ph.D. Emphasis in Language, Culture and Society
  • Affiliate, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Penn State University, USA

  • Hanne Berit Myrvold
  • Assistant Professor
  • Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway

  • Melissa Scott
  • Preschool Teacher and Pedagogista
  • Albuquerque NM, USA

  • Colette Murray
  • Lecturer, Early Childhood Care and Education
  • Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland

  • Meghan Fitzgerald-Raimundo, EdD
  • Assistant Professor
  • Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, USA

  • Wendy Scott OBE
  • Former Adviser, Department for Education and Skills
  • Peter House
  • Braithwaite
  • Keswick, Cumbria, UK

  • Dr Sarah O'Flynn
  • Principal Lecturer, Special and Inclusive Education
  • School of Education
  • University of Roehampton, London, UK

  • Sue Palmer
  • Literacy specialist, author of 'Toxic Childhood'

  • Professor Debbie Epstein
  • Professor of Cultural Studies in Education
  • School of Education
  • University of Roehampton, London, UK

  • Diti Hill-Denee
  • Honorary Research Fellow
  • University of Auckland, New Zealand

  • Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, PhD
  • Professor of Early Childhood Education
  • Faculty of Education
  • Western University, Canada

  • WONG, Kit-mei Betty
  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Early Childhood Education
  • The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

  • Dr Elizabeth Dunphy
  • Senior Lecturer, Early Childhood Education
  • Institute of Education
  • Dublin City University, Ireland

  • Maggie MacLure, Professor of Education
  • Faculty of Education
  • Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

  • Cinthya M Saavedra, PhD
  • Associate Professor, Bilingual/ESL Education
  • Department of Bilingual & Literacy Studies
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA

  • Mara Sapon-Shevin
  • Professor of Inclusive Education
  • Syracuse University, NY, USA

  • Mariana Souto-Manning, PhD
  • Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education
  • Teachers College, Columbia University, USA

  • Marcela Montserrat Fonseca Bustos
  • Assistant Professor
  • College of Applied Sciences
  • Oslo and Akershus University, Norway

  • Dr Marie-Pierre Moreau
  • Reader in Sociology of Education
  • Director, RISE research centre (Research in Inequalities Societies and Education)
  • School of Education
  • University of Roehampton, London, UK

  • Chao-Ling Tseng
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

  • Olivera Kamenarac
  • Doctoral Candidate
  • University of Waikato, New Zealand

  • Adrian Marsh, PhD
  • Researcher in Romani Studies, Turkey

  • Sigrid Brogaard Clausen
  • Programme Convenor, BA Early Childhood Studies
  • School of Education, University of Roehampton, London, UK

  • Yordanka Valkanova, PhD
  • Senior Lecturer in Childhood Studies
  • Canterbury Christ Church University, UK

  • Richard Johnson, PhD
  • Professor, College of Education
  • University of Hawai'i, USA

  • Ninni Sandvik
  • Professor
  • Østfold University College, Norway

  • Dr Red Ruby Scarlet
  • Creative Director MultiVerse & Social Justice in Early Childhood
  • Sydney, Australia

  • Dr Christa Preissing
  • Internationale Akademie / Institut für den Situationsansatz
  • Berlin, Germany

  • Mark Nagasawa, PhD
  • Assistant Professor
  • Erikson Institute, graduate school in child development
  • Chicago, Ill, USA

  • Soula Mitakidou
  • Professor, Primary Education Department
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

  • Gunilla Dahlberg
  • Professor emerita
  • Stockholm University, Sweden

  • Inibehe Ekanem
  • PhD student, Early Childhood Research Centre
  • University of Roehampton, London, UK and University of Uyo, Nigeria

  • Professor Lea Pulkkinen
  • Chair, Haukkala Foundation
  • Helsinki, Finland

  • Kristen Nawrotzki, PhD
  • Pädagogische Hochschule Heidelberg
  • Heidelberg, Germany

  • Elizabeth Erwin
  • Professor, Montclair State University
  • Department of Early Childhood Elementary and Literacy Education
  • New Jersey, USA

  • Dasha Shalimo
  • Professor, Early Childhood Education
  • Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies
  • Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
  • Ontario, Canada

  • Jen Davy
  • Early Childhood Teacher
  • Otago University Childcare Association, New Zealand

  • Vicky Hutchin
  • Independent Early Childhood Education consultant with a special interest in assessment in early childhood education
  • UK

  • Dr. Karen Watson
  • Lecturer Early Childhood
  • University of Newcastle, Australia

  • Dr. Patrick Lewis
  • Professor Early Childhood Education, Elementary Program Chair
  • Editor, in education
  • Faculty of Education University of Regina, Canada

  • Andrea Yankah
  • Student, Early Childhood Studies
  • University of Roehampton, London, UK

  • Sheri L. Leafgren, PhD
  • Associate Professor/Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator
  • Department of Teacher Education
  • Miami University, USA

  • Michael O'Loughlin
  • Professor, Educaton and Clinical Psychology
  • Adelphi University, NY USA

  • Christine Marmé Thompson
  • Professor, School of Visual Arts
  • Penn State University, PA, USA

  • Simone Lehr
  • Early Childhood Teache
  • Otago University Childcare Association, New Zealand

  • Rachel Brophy
  • Professor, School of Early Childhood
  • George Brown College, Toronto, Canada

  • Koeun Kim
  • Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education Program
  • Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  • New Mexico State University, USA

  • Aysegul Ciyer, PhD
  • Independent scholar, USA

  • Radhika Viruru, PhD
  • Clinical Professor
  • Texas A&M University, USA

  • Professor Vera Brofman
  • Senior Researcher, Russian Academy of Education
  • The Institute of Research Family, Childhood and Education
  • Moscow, Russia

  • Eva Gulløv, PhD
  • Associate Professor
  • Section for Educational Anthropology
  • DPU, Aarhus University, Denmark

  • Professor Jan Kampmann
  • Institute of People and Technology
  • National Research Centre for Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Roskilde University, Denmark

  • Tomas Ellegaard, PhD
  • Associate Professor, Head of Research Group
  • Department of People and Technology
  • Roskilde University, Denmark

  • Kim Rasmussen, PhD
  • Associate Professor
  • Department of People and Technology
  • Roskilde University, Denmark

  • Karen Prins, MSc
  • Associate Professor
  • Roskilde University, Denmark

  • Enid Elliot, PhD
  • Adjunct professor, Program leader
  • Camosun College Early Learning and Care faculty
  • University of Victoria, BC, Canada

  • Janette Habashi, PhD
  • Associate Professor
  • University of Oklahoma
  • Department of Human Relations
  • Norman, Oklahoma, USA

  • Tamar Jacobson, PhD
  • Professor, Rider University
  • Lawrenceville, NJ, USA

  • Dr Jennifer Cartmel
  • School of Human Services and Social Work
  • Griffith University, Australia

  • Meral BEŞKEN ERGİŞİ, PhD
  • Assistant Professor Early Childhood Education
  • Fatih Faculty of Education
  • Karadeniz Technical University
  • Trabzon, Turkey

  • Arianna Lazzari, PhD
  • Post-doc research fellow
  • Department of Education
  • University of Bologna, Italy

  • Hyun Jean Yi
  • Professor
  • Catholic University of Daegu, KOREA

  • Diana Sousa
  • Senior Lecturer in Education
  • University of Winchester, UK

  • Carolyn Galizio
  • supervisor of preservice early childhood student teachers
  • Kent State University, USA

  • Allison Henward
  • Assistant Professor
  • Penn State University, USA

  • Francisca Chigbolu
  • Early Childhood Masters Student
  • University of Roehampton, UK

  • Michelle Cottle
  • University of Roehampton, UK

  • Tina Bruce
  • Professor
  • Honorary - International Froebel Society

  • Sally Cave
  • Head Teacher
  • Early Education, UK

  • Kathryn Susan Solly
  • Early Years Specialist Consultant
  • Froebel Travelling Trainer

  • Patricia Johnson
  • Retired Senior Early Years Lecturer
  • SEFDEY Professional Association

  • Thelma Suzanne Miller
  • Froebel Travelling Tutor
  • The Froebel Trust

  • John Manning D.Ed.
  • Executive Director
  • Sanctuary House

  • Clara Ines Rubiano
  • Visiting lecturer in ECS
  • University of Roehampton, UK

  • Flora Farago, PhD
  • Stephen F. Austin State University
  • Nacogdoches, Texas, USA

  • Andrew Gibbons
  • Associate Professor
  • Auckland University of Technology, Australia

  • Ashley Sullivan, PhD
  • Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education
  • Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

  • Angela Malloy Murphy, MEd
  • Founder, Early Educator
  • Rowanberry School

  • Sandie Wong
  • Senior Research Fellow
  • Charles Sturt University

  • Helen Logan
  • Academic
  • Charles Sturt University

  • Yael Dayan
  • lecturer
  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

  • Eunju Yun
  • professor
  • Sookmyung Women's University

  • Elizabeth Ann Rahman
  • ESRC GCRF Fellow, International Development
  • University of Oxford

  • Lynn Whiteside
  • Retired, formerly early childhood educator, policy developer, and consultant.
  • Early childhood networks

  • Tonya Rooney, PhD
  • Lecturer, Early Childhood Education
  • Australian Catholic University

  • Fikile Nxumalo, PhD
  • assistant professor
  • University of Texas at Austin

  • Randa Khattar
  • Professor of Early Childhood Education
  • Charles Sturt University

  • Mari Pettersvold
  • assistant professor
  • University college of South-East-Norway

  • Lisa Phyllis
  • professor
  • AECEO

  • Shin Ae Han
  • Student
  • University of Georgia

  • Jane Hewes
  • Associate Dean, Faculty of Education and Social Work
  • Thompson Rivers University

  • Helge Wasmuth
  • Assistant Professor
  • Mercy College

  • Ursula Carle
  • Professor of Primary Education
  • University of Bremen (Germany)

  • Dr. Cornelia Giebeler
  • theory and methodology in social and educational sciences
  • "Niñez indígena en América Latina"

  • Dr. Michael Wuensche
  • Accademic Assistant Early Childhodd Eduacation
  • Freiburg Protestant University of Applied Science

  • Prof. Dr. Ralf Haderlein
  • Professor Education & Social Management
  • University of Applied Sciences Koblenz, Germany

  • Dr. Christina MacRae
  • Research Fellow
  • Manchester Metropolitan University

  • Dr. Megan Gibson
  • Senior Lecturer, School of Early Childhood
  • Queensland University of Technology, Australia

  • Dr. Linda Henderson
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Monash University

  • Sabrina Schönwetter
  • Sozialpädagogin
  • Deutschland

  • Robyn Reid
  • Lecturer
  • Unitec

  • Jeana M. Hrepich
  • Core Faculty
  • Antioch University Seattle

  • Carolyn Helena Silberfeld
  • Chair/Director ECSDN
  • Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network

  • Dr. Joy Chalke
  • Principal Lecturer
  • University of Portsmouth

  • Julie Canavan
  • senior lecturer
  • University of Brighton

  • Rianne Mahon
  • Professor
  • Wilfrid Laurier University

  • Martha Friendly
  • Executive Director
  • Childcare Resource and Research Unit

  • Geraldine Nolan
  • PhD student/early years lecturer
  • Trinity College Dublin

  • Nina Petrovich
  • Head Preschool teacher
  • Kings Valley Charter School

  • Sue Stover, PhD
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Auckland University of Technology

  • Roswitha Sommer-Himmel
  • professor for early childhood development
  • University Of Applied Sciences

  • Dr. Sophia Han
  • Associate Professor
  • University of South Florida

  • Tanya Chappell
  • Student
  • MA Early Years Education

  • Dr. Ioanna Palaiologou
  • Psychologist
  • UCL, IoE

  • Regina Bushell
  • Managing Director
  • Early Years educators



























Click on panels below to view sections:

Alexander, R. J. (2000).Other primary schools and ours: hazards of international comparison: University of Warwick, Centre for Research in Elementary and Primary Education.

Bloch, M., Swadener, B. B., & Cannella, G. S. (2014). Reconceptualizing early childhood care and education : critical questions, new imaginaries and social activism: a reader. New York: Peter Lang.

Madaus, G. F., & Clarke, M. (2001). The adverse impact of high-stakes testing on minority students: Evidence from one hundred years of test data. In G. Orfield & M. L. Kornhaber (Eds.). Raising standards or raising barriers? Inequality and high-stakes testing in public education (pp. 85–106). New York: The Century Foundation Press.

Meisels, S.J. (2004). Should We Test Four -Year Olds? [Commentary]. Pediatrics, 113(5), 1401-1402.

Meisels, S.J. (2006). Accountability in Early Childhood: no easy answers. Occasional Paper 6, March 2006. Chicago: Erikson Institute.

Meisels, S. J., & Atkins-Burnett, S. (2006). Evaluating early childhood assessments: A differential analysis. In K. McCartney & D. Phillips (Eds.), Handbook of Early Childhood Development (pp. 533–549). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing

Moss, P., Dahlberg, G., Grieshaber, S., Mantovani, S., May, H., Pence, A., . . . Vandenbroeck, M. (2016). The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s International Early Learning Study: Opening for debate and contestation. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 17(3), 343-351. doi:10.1177/1463949116661126

OECD. (2001). Starting Strong. Early Childhood Education and Care. Paris: OECD.

OECD. (2006). Starting Strong II. Early Childhood Education and Care. Paris: OECD.

OECD. (2008). Growing Unequal. Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries. Paris: OECD.

OECD. (2009). Doing Better for Children. Paris: OECD.

OECD. (2015). Call for tenders: International Early Learning Study. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/callsfortenders/CfT 100001420 International Early Learning Study.pdf

Penn, H. (2011). Quality in early childhood services : an international perspective. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press.

Pestalozzi-Fröbel Verband, & Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Elterninitiativen. (2016). The OECD’s International Early Learning Assessment: A statement on Germany’s participation in the OECD survey. Berlin.

Raudenbush, S. (2005). Newsmaker Interview: How NCLB testing can leave some schools behind. Preschool matters, 3(2), Rutgers University: National Institute of Early Education Research.

Romero, R. F., Urban, M., Galvis Vásquez, D. J., Gómez Muñoz, D. P., Zárate Pinto, G. C., Acero Niño, G. A., . . . Ramírez Martinez, P. (2013). Estudio de caracterización de los perfiles, las competencias, las necesidades de cualificación y las condiciones sistémicas de apoyo al trabajo del talento humano que se desempeña en las modalidades de educación inicial (Institucional y familiar). Bogotá, Colombia: Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Schwandt, T. A. (2004). Hermeneutics: a Poetics of Inquiry Versus a Methodology for Research. In H. Piper & I. Stronach (Eds.), Educational research : difference and diversity (pp. 31-44). Aldershot: Ashgate.

Stake, R. E. (2003). Case Studies. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry (pp. 134-164). London: Sage.

Unwin, A., & Yandell, J. (2016). PISA-envy, Pearson and Starbucks-style schools. New Internationalist(491), 42-43.

United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).,
Urban, M. (2015a). Compromiso y Responsibilidad de Todos. Europe and Latin America learning from and with each other for Competent Systems in early childhood. Retrieved from http://reciprocamente.eurosocial-ii.eu/en/

Urban, M. (2015b). Starting wrong? A critical perspective on the latest permutation of the debate on the quality of early childhood provision. In M. Matthes, L. Pulkkinen, L. M. Pinto, & C. Clouder (Eds.), Improving the Quality of Childhood in Europe (Vol. 5). Brussels: Alliance for Childhood European Network Foundation.

Urban, M., Vandenbroeck, M., Van Laere, K., Lazzari, A., & Peeters, J. (2011). Competence requirements in early childhood education and care. Final report. Brussels: European Commission. Directorate General for Education and Culture.

Urban, M., Vandenbroeck, M., Van Laere, K., Lazzari, A., & Peeters, J. (2012). Towards Competent Systems in Early Childhood Education and Care. Implications for Policy and Practice. European Journal of Education, 47(4), 508-526. doi:10.1111/ejed.12010

Vandenbroeck, M., Urban, M., & Peeters, J. (Eds.). (2016). Pathways to Professionalism in Early Childhood Education and Care. London and New York: Routledge.

Working Group on Early Childhood Education and Care. (2014). Proposal for principles of a Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/strategic-framework/archive/documents/ecec-quality-framework_en.pdf

Bloch, M., Holmlund, K. Moqvist, I., & Popkewitz, T. (Eds.). (2004). Restructuring the governing patterns of the child, education, and the welfare state. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cannella, G.S. (1997).Deconstructing early childhood education: Social justice and revolution. New York: Peter Lang.

Cannella, G.S., Swadener, B.B., & Che, Y. (2007). Entry: Reconceptualizing early childhood education.In R. New (editor), International Encyclopedia of Early Childhood Education.

Cannella, G.S. & Soto, L.D. (2010). Childhoods: A handbook. New York: Peter Lang.

Dahlberg, G., Moss, P. & Pence, A. (1999). Beyond quality in early childhood education and care: Postmodern perspectives. London: Falmer Press.

Hauser, M. & Jipson, J.A. (Eds.). (1998). Intersections: Feminisms/early childhoods. New York: Peter Lang.

Kaomea, J. (2003). Reading erasures and making the familiar strange. EducationalResearcher

Kessler, S. & Swadener, B.B. (Eds.). (1992). Reconceptualizing the early childhood curriculum: Beginning the dialogue. New York: Teachers College Press.

Lubeck, S. (1985). Sandbox society: Early schooling in black and white America. London: Falmer Press.

Mac Naughton, G. (2000). Rethinking gender in early childhood Education. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.

Mutua, K. & Swadener, B.B. (2004). Decolonizing research in cross-cultural contexts: Critical personal narratives. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Polakow, V. (1993). Lives on the edge: Mothers and their children in the "other" America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ryan, S. & Grieshaber, S. (Eds.). (2005). Practical transformations and transformational practices: Globalization, postmodernism, and early childhood education.

Soto, L.D. (Eds.) (2000). The politics of early childhood education. New York: Peter Lang.

Soto, L.D. & Swadener, B.B. (2005). Power and voice in research with children. New York: Peter Lang.

Tobin, J. (2000). Good guys don't wear hats: Children's talk about the media. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


© Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education. All rights reserved.