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DEVELOPMENT, PSYCHOMETRIC EVALUATION, AND VALIDATION OF AN INSTRUMENT TO MEASURE IMPLEMENTATION AND ACCESSIBILITY OF PRESCHOOL ARTS EDUCATION
Arts learning is a necessary part of childhood and essential to child development in the preschool years. However, little is known about how preschool teachers teach the arts including dance, drama, media arts, music, and visual arts. There is a lack of research on access (opportunities) and accessibility (quality of access) of arts education at the preschool level (Anderson et al., 2017; Bresler, 1993; Koralek, 2005; Phillips, Gorton, Pinciotti, & Sachdev, 2010). Most studies examining the availability and quality of arts education investigate the K-12 setting from the perspective of administrators (e.g., superintendents, school principals; Burt et al., 2009; Parsad & Spiegelman, 2012; Seidel et al., 2009; Wan et al., 2018). Hence, little is known about the status of arts education at the preschool level in the United States. The level of access to arts education and the accessibility of arts education for students with disabilities is a virtually unexplored area at the preschool level (Anderson et al., 2017). There is a need for valid instruments that can be used to gather information about the availability and quality of arts education for preschoolers with and without disabilities.
The Survey of Preschool Teachers and Arts Education (SPTAE) was developed explicitly to fill this assessment void. The SPTAE, a new instrument, was developed, evaluated, and validated to examine the arts opportunities teachers provide in preschool and the accessibility of those arts activities. A rigorous methodological procedure based on the McCoach et al. (2013) model was utilized for the development of the SPTAE. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (EFA; CFA) procedures were employed to provide evidence of content validity, construct validity, and internal consistency reliability of the SPTAE. EFA and CFA results are presented to demonstrate sound measurement properties of the instrument. The SPTAE is presented as the end of this study as a credible and valid instrument designed to measure access and accessibility of arts education in preschool. Data gathered with the SPTAE can help to establish a baseline understanding of arts education experienced in preschool. State-level SPTAE results can be used to impact advocacy and policy efforts in preschool arts education for all students. Recommendations for future research are discussed including applications of the SPTAE in other preschool populations.
As part of the instrument development process the SPTAE was pilot tested with preschool teachers (n = 157) in Indiana. Demographic data was collected on job title, school location, program location (elementary school or early childhood center), number of students with disabilities served, years of experience, level of education, and mode of instruction. Results from this pilot study provide a snapshot of the state of arts education in Indiana preschools for students with and without disabilities. Preliminary data from this study indicate that most preschool teachers are providing daily arts education in Indiana preschools, with music and dance instruction provided the most frequently. Media arts was the least likely to be included in the preschool curriculum in Indiana. When considering the accessibility of arts opportunities in preschool, about half of the teachers reported using a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework for planning arts activities, which eliminates barriers to access and ensures full participation in arts education for students with disabilities. About 85% of preschool teachers reported having accessible arts equipment and instruments such as adaptive arts tools, adaptive musical instruments, or assistive technology that make arts learning accessible for all students.