There are multiple indications that different forms of on-site technical assistance aimed at improving quality are being widely implemented as part of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). For example, coaching with teachers and caregivers to improve the learning environment and practices with young children is emerging as a central element within QRIS. The use of coaching in QRIS (and other quality improvement initiatives) reflects emerging evidence that in order to translate what is learned through professional development into high-quality practices in work with young children, early educators need the opportunity to see examples of specific practices being implemented in everyday settings by skilled role models and to implement these practices themselves with supportive feedback.
While the research on coaching is a foundation that can be built upon in QRIS efforts, this research is, in some ways, at an early stage of development, and lacks elements that would be informative for QRIS. In addition, on-site quality improvement efforts within QRIS include but go beyond a focus on practices of individual teachers and caregivers to encompass issues such as improvement of program administration and management, understanding of the QRIS and the rating process, and navigation of forms and paperwork. Yet, the existing research on early childhood program quality improvement strategies typically addresses coaching and consultation1 approaches that focus on practices with individual teachers and caregivers (and, less often, program administrators).