Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Donna M. Brackin


Despite state requirements, standards, and recommendations from various early childhood agencies, huge differences exist in levels of education held by teachers of 4-year-olds in early childhood classrooms, which may affect the quality of service they offer to children as well as students' performance on assessments. This quantitative study determined whether significant differences existed between assessment scores of at-risk children taught by teachers with different levels of education and years of experience using standardized assessments (Teaching Strategies GOLD [TSG] and Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening [PALS]). The theoretical framework for this study was Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory of human development. Data were analyzed using a descriptive and 1-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). Pretest and posttest data were collected from an archived database of TSG and PALS assessment scores of 142 at-risk Prekindergarten 4 children who were taught by 18 different Prekindergarten 4 teachers at a local Head Start site. A 1-way MANOVA multivariate test indicated that assistant teachers' level of education was statistically significant at p = .012. A univariate 1-way ANOVA indicated that no statistically significant difference was found among the groups of dependent variables. It is recommended that attention be focused on teacher practice and teacher-child interaction backed with adequate professional development, rather than levels of education and experience. This study may support the hiring of committed teachers who can turn knowledge into practice and use data to inform their practice to unlock the potential of at-risk children.