Quality Rating and Improvement Systems

We know from both current research and day-to-day experience with children that the quality of child care is critical for a child’s growth and development. But how do we measure, maintain and reward high-quality programs?

Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) are a recent trend as states work to build early care and education infrastructure. In these systems, child care programs are assessed based on a set of criteria and assigned a rating level. Parents can make choices based on this information. The best QRIS initiatives begin by involving knowledgeable, high-quality providers in establishing the criteria and rating levels, and a system for moving up the levels. Sound QRIS initiatives are fully funded and have knowledgeable staff to back them up; incentives to participate; support to make improvements and achieve higher quality levels over time; and
rewards for reaching higher levels.

ECEC Resources

ECEC Policy Brief: Quality Rating and Improvement Systems

Other Helpful Resources & Reports

Research Notes, Accreditation as an Alternative Pathway to Quality in QRIS
McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University, Winter 2013

Validation of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS): Examples from Four States
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, October, 2013

Key Elements of a QRIS Validation Plan: Guidance and Planning Template
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Month and Year of Publication, February 2013

The Research Base for a Birth through Age Eight State Policy Framework
Child Trends, 2013

Considerations for an Efficient, Inclusive and Implementable Quality Rating and Improvement System
BUILD Initiative, QRIS National Learning Network, August 2012

A Count for Quality: Child Care Center Directors on Rating and Improvement Systems
The National Women’s Law Center, 2012

Title: Evaluation of Parent Aware: Minnesota’s Quality Rating & Improvement System Pilot
Child Trends, December 2011

QRIS Resource Guide
Office of Child Care. National Center on Child Care Quality and Center Improvement, November 2011

Incorporating Child Assessments into State Early Childhood Quality Improvement Initiatives
RAND, 2012

Fact Sheet on Quality Rating and Improvement Systems and Accreditation
National Association for the Education of Young Children, July 2010

QRIS Resources
National Child Care Information Center