A population was a group of potential participants to whom a researcher wanted to generalize the results of a study (Leedy & Ormod, 2013). The population for the study was licensed early childhood centers in Illinois. The research population for the study was early childcare staff from childcare centers, home based programs in Illinois. The sample consisted of early childcare staff from a major Midwestern town in Illinois. The childcare staff included teachers, aids, home visitors, directors, executive directors, family service specialists, and coordinators.
A sample was a subset of that population. Samples should be selected from populations in ways that it matched the characteristics of the population. The goal was to have the sample much like the population. A larger group was referred to as a population, and the smaller group selected from the population was called sample (Salkind, 2014). The sample for the research was a non-probability sampling technique in which the probability of selecting any one member of the population was not known (Salkind, 2012). Larger sample size reduced sampling error.
The sampling strategy was convenience sample due to the researcher’s access to licensed early childcare centers serving children from birth to 5 years old in a major Midwestern town in Illinois. A convenience sampling is a nonprobability sampling procedure where the selected participants represent a confined audience (Salkind, 2012). Convenience sample consists of people or units readily available (Leedy & Ormrod, 2013). The sample included 12 early childhood centers. From those 12 early childhood centers, 135 teachers, coordinators, directors, and support staff participated in the survey.
The participating early childhood centers included non-for-profit, profit, center-based, and home-based programs. Ninety-one percent (123) participants were female and 9% (7) were males and 5 were missing values. Fifty-six percent (75) were Hispanic, 32% (44) were White, 3. 7% (5) were Black, and 7. 4% (10) were other. Mean age of the respondents was 41 years. Fourteen percent (19) had High school diploma or GED, 33% (45) had Associates degree, 31% (42) had Bachelors degree, 17% (23) had Masters, and 0. 7% (1) had PHD.
The mean number of years in the early childhood field was 12 whereas; mean years in the current center were 7. 5 years. The mean for wage per hour was $ 14. 50; 33. 4% (41) were part time employee and 67. 4% (91) were full time worker. Data Collection The procedure for this study involved the identification of 25 licensed early childhood centers in the state of Illinois through convenience sampling. One hundred and thirty five teachers and support staff participated in the research study from twelve childcare centers due to researcher’s limited time availability to visit all 25 centers.
Out of 124 staff 76 (56. 3%) participants were teachers and 48 (35. 6%) were support staff including director, teacher/director, and support staff. The researcher contacted program directors through e-mail and phone conversation and explained the research study to invite participation. The researcher collected consent letters from the administrator of each program. The researcher set up a schedule to administer ECJSS and SIS. The survey was coded using numbers starting 001 thru 150. The SIS and ECJSS were stapled together as a package.
The package that contained four sheets was distributed to the participants. The researcher collected the surveys and put them in a manila envelope per center. The survey completion process took about 20 minutes. The researcher discussed and obtained informed consent, prior to administering the survey, from all participants. The researcher collected individual consents and put them in a manila envelope. The researcher administered the ECJSS and SIS at each early childhood center. Following the research study, the researcher shared study results with the participating programs by submitting a letter.
The researcher administered surveys in 12 programs for her research. She contacts center directors via email to explain the research study. The researcher collected the consent letters from each program to administer ECJSS and SIS to the research participants. Researcher scheduled dates in collaboration with center directors to administer ECJSS and SIS. The researcher administered the ECJSS and SIS. She organized the data in a spreadsheet. She uploaded the data to the SPSS. She cleaned the data after running descriptive statistics.
She analyzed the data using inferential statistics for each of the three questions. The researcher investigated the impact of individual wages on job satisfaction, program quality and job commitment of childcare staff through a quantitative survey. The quantitative data came from the response to the Early Childhood Job Satisfaction Survey (ECJSS) (Bloom, 2010). The ECJSS is a standardized survey instrument that measures the perceived job satisfaction on five facets of the scale among early childhood personnel.
The items included in ECJSS relate to the perceived job satisfaction of early childhood personnel such as teachers and support staff. The five facets of this survey were: co-worker relations, supervisor relations, the nature of the work itself, working condition, and pay and promotion opportunities. The response format of the ECJSS contains rating scales, checklists, and unstructured responses. The Supplemental Information Sheet, prepared by the researcher included demographic information, wage, and program quality measures.
Part I of the ECJSS was categorized into five facets on a 5-point Likert scale that consisted of 10 items each (Appendix A). The five facets are: co-worker relations, supervisor relations, the nature of the work itself, working conditions, and pay and promotion opportunities. Co-worker relations describe the degree of mutual trust and respect by forming close relationships with colleagues. A supervisor relation is childcare staff’s assessment of supervisor’s overall competence through the perceived quality and quantity of feedback, encouragement, and helpful support from a supervisor.
The nature of work itself includes different aspects of the work experience, the perceived importance of the work, and the extend ton which it provides innate joy and fulfills the need for recognition, creativity, and skill building. Working conditions include both the structure of the work experience as well as the context. Pay and promotion opportunities are concerned with the adequacy of pay as well as the perceived equity and fairness of compensation policies, fringe benefits, and opportunities for advancement.
It also includes childcare staff’s perceived job security (Bloom, 2010). Part I described the perceived climate and Part II measured the importance attached to dimensions in Part I. Part III had provision for two unstructured responses each for the satisfactions and frustrations. The score obtained from five facets provided the job satisfaction score for this study. The researcher obtained wage and program quality measure from Supplemental Information Sheet (SIS), created by the researcher (Appendix B). Two levels of quality, a lower level corresponded to state licensing only.
Level 2 the higher level indicated that early childhood center had achieved national accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The quality meant higher if the NAEYC accredited check box was selected “yes” in SIS (Appendix B). NAEYC is a national organization that promotes well-being of young children from birth through eight years through cutting edge early childhood research in advocacy, professional development, child development, and quality measures in early childhood programs.
NAEYC attempts to raise the quality of education for all children from birth through age eight. Accreditation systems are a key part of NAEYC’s efforts to improve early childhood education; these procedures allow programs to provide the best learning experiences for young children and their educators by meeting national standards of quality (naeyc. org). Part V of the survey responded to staff job commitment on a 10 items that consists of 5 positive and 5 negative responses and each item were worth a point.
The difference between positive and negative items plus 5 gave a commitment score that ranged from 0 to 10. In addition, the response to another commitment item in the Part V ranged from 1 to 10 on a Likert 10-point scale. The commitment score consisted of two items combined that ranged from 1 to 20. The three research questions were answered based on sample response to EJJSS and SIS. Reliability and validity are important aspects of any research tool. Robson (2010) indicated that a high reliability of response was obtainable by providing all respondents with the same set of questions.
The ECJSS has statistical reliability and validity. The internal consistency for three studies in the manual was consistent. The overall internal consistency for three studies was . 89, . 90, and . 81. Test-retest reliability conducted on a subsample over a two-month period that ranged from moderate to high. The results ranged from . 70 to . 80. The ECJSS appeared to have strong face validity. Comments from workers in response to two open ended questions regarding sources of job satisfaction and job frustrations fell into one of the five job facet categories.
The overall agreement for content analysis was . 95. The convergent validity was demonstrated with correlation of Job Description Index (JDI). Discriminant validity was demonstrated using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) for which the variance was less than 12%. The burnout was a synonym for job dissatisfaction and was rejected. Therefore, ECJSS was an appropriate measure for the research since it evaluated childcare staff perception on job satisfaction and job commitment and the survey had established reliability and validity.