Moving to Outcomes: Approaches to Incorporating Child Assessments into State Early Childhood Quality Rating and Improvement Systems

Many studies have shown that higher-quality early care and education (ECE) predicts positive developmental gains for the children who experience it. However, much ECE in the United States is not of sufficiently high quality to produce these benefits. Quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs) attempt to improve practice and care quality in ECE settings; both are expected to improve child functioning. However, these systems rarely assess children to determine their effects because of the high costs and assessment burdens involved. Yet including child assessments in the design, implementation, and evaluation of QRISs or other quality improvement (QI) efforts could improve practice and raise care quality. The authors identify five strategies for states to consider for incorporating child assessments into QRISs or other QI approaches.