Quality Development through Participation in ECEC Institutions in Norway (KUMBA)

The project started November 15th, 2021, and ends December 31st, 2024

This project’s primary objective is to develop a research-based, validated quality assessment system, KUMBA, targeted towards monitoring and improving the process quality of Norwegian Early Childhood Education and Care institutions (ECECs). This system will be an easy-to-use, context-sensitive tool for ECECs, and will ensure both the demands from the national Framework Plan for the content and tasks of kindergartens (Ministry of Education and Research, 2017b), the professional’s judgment, and children’s experiences of quality. Secondary objectives are to support ECECs to monitor and improve process quality, and by this heighten the institutions’ awareness of the conditions of quality. If the quality assessment system developed in this project, through vigorous scientific development and analysis, displays high validity, usefulness, and an improvement of the quality of ECECs, the system will be available free of charge for all public and private Norwegian ECEC providers.

The aim of this project is to test, modify and evaluate existing Norwegian quality assessment tools, and through this process develop a new assessment system that will include assessment of the educational and relational environment from both internal ECEC teachers, external ECEC teachers, and 4-6-year-old children. Systematically collecting children’s perspectives through an online conversational tool, and analyzing their answers in relation to the staff’s and the external assessors’ ratings, will make a crucial and novel contribution to ECEC quality assessment work. The first part of this project is a feasibility study where two existing tools will be assessed and modified. Then we will test the sensitivity and validity of the revised version of the tools up against a standard observational quality assessment instrument. This project is initiated by ECEC providers and it emphasizes user participation in all phases by including ECEC teachers as fellow researchers. These teachers will participate in developing and planning the study, collecting data, and interpreting results. Their competence will be crucial in the process of developing the quality assessment system into a highly professional, ethically justifiable, and usable tool for ECEC institutions in Norway.

Project partners are: Queen Maud University College (project owner), NORD University, National knowledge center for ECEC, Espira and Levanger Kommune.