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Quality Rating & Improvement System (QRIS)

A Quality Rating & Improvement System (QRIS) is a method to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care & education and after-school settings.

(Stair Steps to Quality, United Way Success by Six, p. 4)

   

In Massachusetts, EEC formally began developing a QRIS during the spring of 2008.

Seventeen other states have developed QRIS over the past decade. QRIS are a fast-spreading policy innovation because they align standards, supports to programs, and accountability efforts into one non-duplicative system.

   

There are many benefits to QRIS including:

-          Parents have easily accessible information about the quality of early care and education programs.

-          Programs and providers use one streamlined set of standards that are connected to supports and fiscal incentives to help them meet and maintain the standards.

-          Policymakers understand where and how to invest additional resources.

  
  
QRIS typically have five components:
  1. Standards – The QRIS’ standards build on the various standards already being used in the state, such as licensing, NAEYC, NAFCC, and Head Start Performance Standards, and organize them into one body of standards. The standards are usually categorized into a series of levels or steps, such as 1 - 5.
  2. Monitoring and Accountability – The measures the state will use to recognize where programs are in relation to the standards levels.
  3. Program and Practitioner Supports – The infrastructure to help programs meet and maintain the quality standards. The support infrastructure is built from current/existing resources (e.g., grants).
  4. Fiscal Incentives – The incentives to encourage programs and providers/educators to pursue higher levels of quality.
  5. Family and Consumer Engagement – The way that the content of the QRIS is communicated to parents and programs.
  

Where is Massachusetts in the Process of QRIS Development?

               

In February 2008, EEC convened internal and external working groups to make recommendations about the overarching structure of the QRIS and to design the QRIS Standards.  Workgroup members included stakeholders from across the early care and education field.

               

After substantial collaboration with stakeholders, EEC requested and received public input on the proposed QRIS Standards in March and April 2009. EEC would like to thank everyone who provided feedback. The department received over 350 responses to the public input survey. The QRIS Standards group, the Advisory Council, and the EEC Board will review and respond to the feedback and an updated version of the Standards will be available this summer.

 

This Spring, EEC is also designing the process for monitoring the quality ratings as well as the quality support infrastructure. EEC will be continuously updating the field about the progress of the development of the QRIS through this website and other means.

 

In Massachusetts, the QRIS will initially be a voluntary system; programs will not be required to participate. In the future, after the system is implemented and refined, it may eventually be required for programs and providers receiving certain funding from the Commonwealth.


  
QRIS Resources:   

If you have questions or would like additional information about the development of a QRIS for Massachusetts, please contact:

Corey Zimmerman, Director of Strategic Planning and Analysis

617-988-6635

corey.zimmerman@state.ma.us