Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Educational research has largely focused on the correlation between governmental entities and classroom pedagogy as policymakers develop more comprehensive evaluation systems that raise the expectations of teacher quality. However, some researchers in the field of early childhood suggest the measurement of teacher quality is largely a “mismatch between informant-based, retroactive methods” (Downer, Booren, Lima, Luckner, & Pianta, 2010, p. 5) as developmentally appropriate measurements of early childhood quality that include the perceptions of the children are few. To examine the potential for researchers to consider the inclusion of children’s perceptions within evaluation systems, this study examines the following area of inquiry: (1) What kind of verbal and visual information is provided by four-year-old children within interviews, story stems, and drawing activities that describe their classroom teacher and the teacher’s classroom practices; and (2) How does what children shared relate to the ECERS-R Interaction dimension. This qualitative study sought to understand how children express their perceptions of their classroom teacher and the teacher’s classroom practices. Data was collected using three measures: (1) verbal interviews; (2) story stem interviews; and (3) drawing activities. Transcribed data was coded and categorized, in which four themes, 11 sub-themes, and four main findings emerged. These themes, sub-themes, and findings suggest four-year-old children are able to share information including emotional experiences within the classroom, classroom procedures, the teacher’s behaviors during free play, and interactions that occur with the teacher and peers. Findings also suggest an alignment of children’s descriptions to the ECERS-R Interaction domain, supporting the consideration of young children’s perceptions within formal evaluation systems.

Committee Chair

Baumgartner, Jennifer