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Regional Educational Laboratory Program


Examining Ratings and Dimensions of Quality in an Early Childhood Education Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

Region:
Midwest
Description:
Documenting and improving early childhood program quality is a national priority, leading to a rapid expansion of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs). QRISs document and improve the quality of early childhood education programs and provide clear information to families about their child care choices. The current study described how early childhood programs were rated in Michigan’s QRIS and examined how alternative approaches to calculating ratings affected the number of programs rated at each quality level. Using extant data from 2,390 early childhood education programs that voluntarily participated in Michigan’s QRIS, the study found that programs in Michigan self-rated at low quality (level 1) and high quality (level 5) more often than at moderate quality (levels 2 through 4). The study also found that programs with both a self-rating and an independent observation of quality generally had higher self-ratings than observational ratings. The study used simulated data to compare the distributions of ratings in the original QRIS, the newly revised QRIS with relaxed domain requirements, and an approach that only used programs’ overall scores. Findings revealed that in the new relaxed system and the total score approach, programs were rated at higher levels of quality when compared to the original QRIS. Finally, the study examined how small changes to the cutoff scores for the observational measure of quality created a new distribution of ratings for high quality programs. Implications of changes to the calculation systems in QRIS are discussed in terms of program ratings and financial implications for states.
Publication Type:
What's Happening
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
March 2015