Behind the numbers. A mixed-methods study of the CLASS tool application in Italy
Keywords:quality assessment; mixed-methods; standardized instruments; ECEC; cross-cultural research.
The increasing globalization of tools used to assess ECEC quality requires reflection on their cultural coherence and ecological validity when applied in cultural contexts other than those of origin, as well as on the meaning of inconsistencies at the psychometric level that sometimes emerge - inconsistencies that quantitative methods alone often struggle to explain adequately. This paper proposes an integrated framework that combines the statistical analysis of quality assessment tools with a qualitative exploration of the meanings and interpretations that accompany their use in other cultures. This mixed-methods study, analyzing the implications of the CLASS Pre-K tool application in Italian preschools, offers a broader reflection on the importance and the need to adopt a critical, culturally-sensitive approach when using assessment tools outside their cultural cradle.
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