Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

James Elicker

Committee Chair

James Elicker

Committee Member 1

Douglas Powell

Committee Member 2

Mary B. McMullen

Committee Member 3

David Purpura

Abstract

The first three years in a child's life are particularly important, as this is a critical time for development in all learning domains, however some of the settings in which infants and toddlers are learning and developing (i.e., child care) have been found to be of despairingly low to mediocre quality, with teacher qualifications also being minimal (Burchinal, Roberts, Nabors, & Bryant, 1996; Howes, Whitebook, & Phillips, 1992; Ruzek, Burchinal, Farkas, & Duncan, 2014; National Survey of Early Care and Education [NSECE] Project Team, 2013, 2014; Vandell & Wolfe, 2000). With more than 60% of children birth to age three currently in non-parental child care (NSESE Project Team, 2014), issues of the quality of infant toddler education and care, including teacher preparation, beliefs, and classroom practices urgently need attention and call for a new approach of assessing the predictors of child care quality for this growing population. Using the theory of planned behavior as the theoretical framework, the purpose of this study was to develop a valid measure of infant toddler teacher beliefs to further explore indicators of quality care. Also, an examination of teacher education as a moderator of the relationship between beliefs and practices was conducted. Lastly, the theory of planned behavior was tested. Using various validation methods such as examining internal consistency, traditional forms of validity (content, construct, criterion-related), and factor analysis, the Beliefs About Infant Toddler Education and Care (BAITEC) survey resulted in a promising measure of infant toddler teacher beliefs. Teacher education was also found to be a moderator of the relation between beliefs and practices, and the data supported the theory of planned behavior, providing evidence for the mediating influence of intentions, between beliefs and practices.