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What Does QRIS Mean for Your State?

04 Oct 2013 by Vicki Kintner-Duffy

Recently, a Science article assessing over 600 centers in multiple states highlighted that current ways of assigning quality ratings in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) may not differentiate quality levels or predict important child outcomes. In light of that study, it is important to think about how the findings relate to individual states and their systems of quality measurement.

From 2009 to 2011, a research team in North Carolina[1] decided to examine such questions about their state’s QRIS. Specifically, they asked:

  • How are program standards such as quality measurement scores related to QRIS star ratings?
  • How are these measures related to young children’s social-emotional outcomes?

To test these questions, assessors observed teachers in randomly selected classrooms across the state (94 toddler and 98 preschool classrooms varying in star-rating levels) on several quality measures (ITERS-R, ECERS-R, ECERS-E, Toddler CLASS, and Pre-K CLASS) and collected teachers’ reports of children’s social skills and problem behaviors.

Findings from their study[2] showed:

  • Four- and five-star programs scored higher than one-, two-, or three-star programs, but these differences were neither significant nor consistent across tools.
  • Toddler: CLASS Positive Climate and Behavior Guidance predicted toddlers’ problem behaviors; higher scores meant fewer problem behaviors.
  • Pre-K: CLASS Emotional Support predicted internalizing behaviors; children with more internalizing behaviors had teachers who scored higher on Emotional Support.
  • Pre-K: CLASS Instructional Support predicted children’s social skills; higher Instructional Support was associated with higher social-skills ratings.

What does this mean for one state’s QRIS? These results suggest that QRIS stakeholders need to review how classroom quality is assessed and how it relates to program ratings. This is especially important as we find more and more evidence that teacher-child interactions best predict children’s developmental outcomes.

How about your state? How does your state measure quality? How could your state better align the quality measurement, child outcomes, and QRIS ratings? Please let us know using the comments below.

 

Notes

1. The research team consisted of staff at the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE), assessors and staff from the North Carolina Rated License Assessment Project, and faculty from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

2. These findings were presented at the 2013 SRCD Biennial Meeting in Seattle, WA.


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