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Numerous states include family child care in their quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) and many of these utilize alternative pathways to provide evidence of quality at specific QRIS levels. However, research examining the variation in QRIS models for family child care and the validity of alternative pathways as aligned measures of quality is limited. … Download this resource to read the rest of the research.
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Numerous states include family child care in their quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) and many of these utilize alternative pathways to provide evidence of quality at specific QRIS levels. However, research examining the variation in QRIS models for family child care and the validity of alternative pathways as aligned measures of quality is limited.
The variation across states is especially evident in the use of different quality measures. Some states conduct external assessments using scaled tools with threshold scores required to attain quality rating levels while other models utilize self-assessments to determine if programs meet required criteria. Some models require a combination of assessment scores as well as accreditation status. Still others use accreditation status as an alternative pathway or proxy for certain indicators to achieve a rating level.
Kelton, Talan, and Bloom recently published a study evaluating the validity of Illinois’ alternative pathway model for family child care programs.1 They examined the relationship between three accountability measures frequently used in QRIS to measure quality in family child care programs: accreditation from National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale–Revised Edition (FCCERS-R),2 and the Business Administration Scale for Family Child Care (BAS).3 The study compared the average FCCERS-R and BAS scores of NAFCC-accredited family child care programs participating in Illinois’ QRS and the likelihood of an accredited program meeting the FCCERS-R and BAS threshold scores set for the alternative pathway.4
When the data for the study were collected in 2011, family child care programs in Illinois could follow one of two pathways to achieve a 3-star level in the state’s 4-star level QRS. The first pathway involved achieving an average score of 4.25 on the FCCERS-R and an average score of 4.25 on the BAS while the second pathway required programs to demonstrate NAFCC accreditation status. Star levels 1 and 2 required FCCERS-R threshold scores of 3.00 and 3.50 respectively and star level 4 required FCCERS-R and BAS threshold scores of 5.00 as well as NAFCC accreditation status.
Thirty-one 3-star rated family child care programs in Illinois QRS comprised the sample. The data for the programs came from two data sets. One data set included 18 programs that had achieved a 3-star rating and had made application to advance to star level 4. The other data set included 13 accredited 3-star programs that volunteered to be a part of the study. These programs were contacted from a public list of 3-star family child care programs participating in the QRS.
Data collection included conducting FCCERS-R and BAS assessments in each of the participating family child care programs. All of the FCCERS-R and BAS were conducted by assessors who had been trained to reliability by authors and maintained inter-rater reliability of 85% or above throughout the study. Each of the programs had achieved NAFCC accreditation status prior to the study.
FCCERS-R and BAS scores varied greatly; however, the sample’s average scores for both tools fell below the threshold required for 3-star non-accredited programs. As Table 1 demonstrates, the average FCCERS-R score for accredited programs was 3.29, falling .96 below the threshold score of 4.25 required of non-accredited programs. The average BAS score for the sample was 3.81, falling .44 below the 4.25 threshold.
|Assessment||Possible Range||Actual Range||N||SD|
|FCCERS-R||1.00 - 7.00||1.67 - 4.47||3.29||.61|
|BAS||1.00 - 7.00||2.30 - 5.89||3.81||1.03|