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Who participates in quality rating and improvement systems?


Even with rapid and widespread expansion of states’ quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS)—tiered frameworks that assess, communicate, and improve early childhood education (ECE) quality—there exists no population-level information regarding which providers choose to participate in these primarily voluntary systems. We use a nationally representative survey of ECE centers to examine how the characteristics of ECE centers and the communities in which they are located predict participation in QRIS to understand the scope of QRIS policy implementation and the extent to which QRIS may be equity enhancing. We find that approximately one-third of centers nationwide participated in QRIS in 2012. Selection model results reveal that participation is more likely among centers that blend multiple funding sources and who are NAEYC accredited, and in communities with high poverty rates. However, QRIS participation is less likely in communities with relatively higher proportions of Black residents. Findings raise questions about how QRISs can equitably engage programs in all communities. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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