Implications of QRIS Design for the Distribution of Program Ratings and Linkages between Ratings and Observed Quality

Publication Date: April 22, 2014


The majority of states are currently implementing, designing, or piloting a Quality Improvement and Rating System (QRIS). One key component of a QRIS is the way it assigns program ratings. However, there is a great deal of variability in the structure states use to determine a program’s rating level, with states using three primary structures. Block structures specify a set of quality standards at each level of quality. Before a program can move up to a higher level of quality, it must meet all of the standards at that level and those at the lower levels. In contrast, a points structure assigns points to each quality standard. A rating is determined by adding up the points a program receives and assigning a rating based upon defined point ranges for each quality level. A hybrid structure is a combination of a block and points structure. The hybrid approaches vary; a typical example is to use blocks to define the two lower levels of the system while points are used to determine the higher levels of the system. This brief is designed to compare the three different structural models by using three hypothetical QRIS. The data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), was used to model three QRIS using the three structure models described above, with the idea that by using consistent data but changing the structure and rules for the standards, it will be possible to look at how different QRIS structures would relate to observed quality as measured by the ECER-R.

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