Quality Improvement Efforts Among Early Childhood Education Programs Participating in Iowa’s Quality Rating System

Laura Hawkinson
,
Nora Bouacha
,
Dong Hoon Lee
,
Ivan Metzger

States have prioritized documenting and improving the quality of early childhood education programs by developing quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs). This report describes the quality improvement efforts of early childhood education programs participating in Iowa’s voluntary quality rating and improvement system, the Iowa Quality Rating System (QRS).

The Iowa Quality Rating System Oversight Committee, which includes representatives of early childhood education programs and several state agencies and organizations in Iowa, requested Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest’s assistance in examining program quality improvement efforts in Iowa and how these efforts relate to increases in Iowa QRS ratings.

The findings of this study provide an overview of the landscape of quality improvement activities among early childhood education programs participating in the Iowa QRS and their relationship with increased ratings. These findings can help Iowa QRS administrators in planning and allocating resources to improve program quality. They can also help administrators of quality rating and improvement systems in other states understand more clearly the types of quality improvement activities to which programs are drawn naturally, as well as factors that may facilitate or impede programs in their pursuit of quality.