This Rand Corporation study identifies five strategies for incorporating child assessments into the design, implementation, and evaluation of initiatives designed to raise the quality of care in early care and education settings such as quality rating and improvement systems.
• Promoting successful child development is the ultimate goal of initiatives to improve the quality of early care and education (ECE) programs.
• There are multiple approaches to incorporating child assessments into state early childhood quality improvement initiatives, including quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs).
• The use of child assessments by caregivers and teachers to improve their practice should be promoted through a QRIS or other mechanisms.
• Validating the link between the rating portion of a QRIS and child developmental outcomes can be cost-effective, especially as part of a QRIS pilot phase.
• Periodic evaluations of ECE programs or the larger ECE system based on child assessments can support accountability and quality improvement.
• Concerns with cost and methodological rigor weaken the rationale for using child assessments to rate individual ECE programs.