Improving Quality In Early Childhood Settings

Jun 09, 2009

In the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) roundup of child care and early education legislative actions in 2008, one of the highlighted issues was improving quality in early childhood settings. States are engaging in more activities to improve the quality of early care programs. NCSL documents that over half of states have established or are in the process of developing quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) that set program standards for quality and create incentives for achieving them. Currently, 17 states have a QRIS while 25 states are in the exploration or development phases of forming one. Among actions taken in 2008, California and Delaware passed legislation to begin planning for a statewide QRIS. As states think about how to raise the bar on quality in early childhood settings, there are a variety of factors to consider, such as what elements of quality are critical to measure and how to evaluate quality across settings. A new series of research briefs by Child Trends provides a useful examination of these and other factors. The briefs address the following topics:

These briefs can ground stakeholders in an understanding of how research on early childhood quality can inform the development and implantation of QRIS and other quality initiatives. Ongoing evaluation, modifications, and technical assistance are necessary to ensure that QRIS are as effective as possible in moving early childhood programs towards higher levels of quality.

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