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Quality Rating and Improvement Systems: Validation of a local implementation in LA County and children's school-readiness
As states are actively participating in the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant, research that validates the translation of child care quality measures for policy purposes is required. This paper presents results from a two-part study on QRIS ratings: (1) Study 1 examines the concurrent validity of a QRIS, and (2) Study 2 simulates the QRIS scores with a secondary dataset to predict child outcomes. Study 1 -- the QRIS descriptive study -- presents the pilot-study data from the L.A. County QRIS collected between 2009 and 2012. Data from 254 early childhood programs (98 family child care homes and 156 centers with 331 classrooms) indicate that individual quality rating indicators do contribute to an overall score, and the simulated scores were related to external measures of child care quality. Study 2 -- the QRIS simulation study -- included 223 low-income 3- and 4-year-old children in 101 early care and education classrooms/programs; one-quarter were dual language learners. Continuous measures of child care quality were positively associated with children's school-readiness. However, after quality measures were combined and scored into QRIS ratings, ratings were no longer associated with increases in cognitive/academic and social child outcomes across the school year. The lack of an association between QRIS ratings and child outcomes is consistent with findings from other studies and warrants further examination of QRIS ratings and their effect on children's learning. (author abstract)
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