What We Know and Don't Know About Measuring Quality in Early Childhood and School-Age Care and Education Settings

Published: May 15, 2009
Child Care
Child Care and Early Education Policy and Research Analysis Project, 2005-2018 | Learn more about this project
CCEEPRA Issue Briefs

Measures assessing the quality of children’s environments and interactions in nonparental care settings were developed originally for use in child care research and as self-assessment tools for practitioners. Within the last decade, however, these measurement tools have moved into the public policy arena, where they are now used to make programmatic decisions and inform consumers about the quality of settings. As new demands are placed on quality measures to be used in accountability systems, important questions emerge about how measures function in these new contexts and in what ways measurement strategies could be strengthened. This brief provides an overview of what we know and what we don’t know, given the current status of the research, about three key questions concerning the measurement of quality. It also provides suggestions for ongoing research and dialogue related to each question.

Last Reviewed: April 29, 2019