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Early Education and Development


Taylor & Francis

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Research Findings. The current study looks at the validity of a voluntary self-report Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) and the characteristics of participating childcare centers. The self-reported quality indicators are compared to external ratings of quality (ECERSR) and correlated with variables such as size of center and number of state subsidy clients. ECERS-R scores were unrelated to capacity but significantly lower for centers with a large percentage of state supported clients. Regarding self-reported quality, centers frequently underreported their quality and what was claimed was not always externally validated, suggesting a self-report QRIS may not be an accurate assessment of quality. Additionally, no significant differences in quality were found between centers participating and those not-participating in the self-report QRIS.

Practice or Policy. Self-reported childcare quality was not accurate in this study. Although providers over-reported some quality, they frequently under-reported quality, by claiming fewer indicators than external validators found. When centers are unmotivated to participate in a voluntary, self-report QRIS, when items reported are the easiest to report, and when existing quality indicators are unreported, a self-reported QRIS cannot validly reflect quality. Because providers both over reported and under-reported quality criteria, it is doubtful the system truly incentivizes desired quality changes.

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