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Comparisons among quality measures in child care settings: Understanding the use of multiple measures in North Carolina's QRIS and their links to social-emotional development in preschool children

Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) include the assessment of classroom quality as one component of how early childhood programs are monitored and licensed in many states across the United States. However, varying measures and foci of quality exist and have led to challenges in accurately depicting program quality across programs and improvement efforts. The current validation study explores several measures of classroom quality and their associations with components and overall star ratings of the North Carolina QRIS and preschool children's social-emotional outcomes within center-based child care programs. Data for this study were collected in 2009, 10 years after the start of North Carolina's QRIS. Results indicate that individual levels of star ratings did not generally represent distinctive levels of classroom quality, but did differentiate classrooms at the lower and higher levels of quality. Structural features of the environments such as teacher education and teacher-child ratio were associated with classroom quality across these measures in the expected directions; however, teacher experience was not. Further, children's social-emotional outcomes were predicted to a varying degree by star levels and different aspects of classroom quality as represented by these various measures. Results are discussed in terms of the differing levels of quality and teaching processes in classrooms. Future directions for research are presented to contribute to an increased understanding of QRIS and children' experiences in early care and education programs. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States
State(s)/Territories/Tribal Nation(s):
North Carolina

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