Best Practices in Data Governance and Management for Early Care and Education: Supporting Effective Quality Rating and Improvement Systems

Publication Date: July 14, 2014


Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) currently serve as a centerpiece of many states’ early care and education (ECE) activities. However, QRIS can only strengthen ECE program quality if they are built on quality data. Intentional and rigorous data management and governance practices are essential for data gathered exclusively for the QRIS (such as program observation scores) as well as for external data accessed by the QRIS (such as workforce registry data).  The purpose of this brief is to illustrate the need for and benefits of building strong ECE data governance structures and implementing system-wide data management policies and practices, using the example of QRIS. The brief first describes existing QRIS data systems and the common challenges to data coordination and integrity in these data systems. The brief then provides guidance on best practices related to data governance and the development of integrated data systems that can support QRIS implementation, monitoring and evaluation. As additional resources, the appendices include the interview protocol used with states, as well as specific state and local case studies and a glossary of terms related to coordinated data systems. 

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