Measuring quality of preprimary education in sub-Saharan Africa: Evaluation of the Measuring Early Learning Environments scale

Abbie Raikes, Natalie Koziol, Dawn Davis, Anna Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Measurement of quality in early childhood education (ECE) helps shape policy and practice, yet few studies have examined the adaptation and resulting psychometric properties of ECE quality measures when used in low- and middle-income countries. This study reports on the adaptation of the Measure of Early Learning Environments scale (MELE-A), developed as part of the Measuring Early Learning Quality & Outcomes (MELQO) Initiative, in one sub-Saharan African country. Beginning with a global “core” of items, MELE-A was adapted to address measurement feasibility and align with cultural context and national standards. The sample included 250 public and private preprimary schools and 979 children from all regions of the country. Three factors were hypothesized to represent empirically documented aspects of quality and were supported by categorical confirmatory factor analysis: health/safety, materials/activities, and teacher/child interaction. Few associations were found between these factors and child development and learning and teacher characteristics; only materials/activities demonstrated significant associations with children's learning, while teacher education was associated with all three factors. Results document the multi-faceted process of adapting tools and the importance of documenting psychometric properties of these adapted tools, to improve accuracy of ECE measurement to inform policy and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-585
Number of pages15
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Africa
  • Measurement
  • Preprimary classroom observations
  • Professional development
  • Quality in early childhood education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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