Measuring the Quality of Early Care and Education Programs at the Intersection of Research, Policy, and Practice

Publication Date: December 15, 2010


Quality measurement in early care and education programs now plays a central role in early childhood policy and program initiatives such as state Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). This Brief discusses the changing context of quality measurement and delineates a set of challenges that must be addressed as measures are used for purposes such as making ratings of quality levels widely available, and using quality ratings to make funding and programmatic decisions. These challenges include: alignment of measures to program goals, development of guidelines to ensure reliable measurement, weighting multiple components of quality, validating measurement across the full range of quality and across types of early childhood settings, cost-effectiveness, and developing an appropriate data collection infrastructure.

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