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Iowa Quality Rating System evaluation: Key concepts, psychometric properties, and the rating process [Executive summary]

Iowa is among a growing number of states that have a Quality Rating System (QRS)--over half of the states are designing, piloting, or implementing a QRS. A QRS is a systematic approach "to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education programs" (Mitchell, 2005). Iowa launched in 2006 its voluntary QRS, which as of August 2013 included 653 child care centers and 745 family child care homes. In June 2013, Governor Branstad signed into law SF466, which included a provision for an evaluation of the following aspects of Iowa's QRS, by December 2013: Key concepts: An assessment of the validity of the concepts included in the QRS; Psychometric properties: An assessment of the techniques and measures used to assess quality; Ratings: An analysis of the outputs quantified by the ratings process; and Child Outcomes: An analysis of the relationship between program ratings and child outcomes. Given the short timeline of this study, the first three components listed above were included in this evaluation. (author abstract)
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Executive Summary

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