Designing Quality Rating and Improvement Systems for Scale and Impact

As recent research has shown, early childhood care and education must be high-quality to maximize its potential impact on child development and school readiness. Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) are the key lever for state leaders to measure quality and drive continuous quality improvement in early childhood sites and classrooms. Unfortunately, QRIS, as typically designed, rarely achieve the scale and impact necessary to move the needle on quality for children.

This white paper articulates the challenges of traditional QRIS and offers recommendations for strengthening states’ QRIS. It is informed in part by the Watershed team’s work to implement a unified quality rating system in Louisiana, which has proven to drive system-wide improvements in the quality of early childhood classrooms.

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