|Quality Rating & Improvement Systems|
The creation and implementation of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) has become a key topic in early childhood education in the last ten years. QRIS is designed to be a rating and assessment system to evaluate early childhood education programs for children ages birth through five, provide incentives and support to improve quality, and communicate their level of quality to the public by attaching a rating to the early childhood program.
The five components of QRIS include:
A number of states have implemented QRIS, and many that have not are in the process of creating them. The Obama administration is very interested in these and is looking at attaching incentives to state QRIS programs. CCW/AFTEF has been actively monitoring QRIS in the states. Our particular areas of interest include
FAQ's about QRIS
What is QRIS?
When and how was QRIS developed?
What does a QRIS rating mean?
Does this affect Head Start or preschool teachers in K-12 schools?
1. Standards: Built on state-specific child care licensing requirements, these standards add multiple steps between licensing and higher quality standards. For example, a child care center may be a Star 1, if they meet the standards necessary for licensing. At the same time, another child care center may be a Star 4, because they not only meet the necessary licensing requirements, but they go above and beyond to reach high-quality state standards.
2. Accountability measures: Accountability and monitoring determine how well programs meet QRIS standards, and assign ratings based on their performance. In most States, the licensing agency alone, or in partnership with the subsidy agency or a private entity, monitors the QRIS. States use a variety of approaches, such as onsite visits, program self-assessments, and document reviews and verifications, to monitor QRIS standards.
3. Program and practitioner outreach and support: Training, mentoring and technical assistance support is provided to help programs increase quality. Some states have hired personnel to support QRIS participants. For example, Pennsylvania has "Star Managers" that work within a designated region of QRIS participants in the state.
4. Financing incentives: Financial incentives, as determined by the state governing agency, are awarded to programs when quality levels are achieved. According to NCCIC (http://nccic.acf.hhs.gov/qrisresourceguide/index.cfm?do=qrisabout), all statewide QRIS provides financial incentives of some kind, including increased CCDF subsidy reimbursement rates, bonuses, quality grants, or merit awards; refundable tax credits; loans linked to quality ratings; and priority on applications for practitioner wage initiatives, scholarships, or other professional development supports. However, states vary on the amount of financial incentives offered and the use of discretion with such financial rewards.
5. Parent/Consumer education efforts: States differ in their method of indicating a QRIS participant. For example, New Mexico uses a "Star" system to indicate levels of quality, whereas, the District of Columbia uses "Bronze, Silver, and Gold" to indicate quality ratings in their QRIS participants. These indicators are used to show the level of program quality in a center and to inform parents of that quality. Also, many states have developed media campaigns and outreach materials to promote their QRIS and educate the public.
Which providers/programs are subject to (or must implement) QRIS?
Which states currently utilize QRIS?
Who do I contact for more information about QRIS in my state?