Quality Rated—Georgia’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS)—is Georgia’s systematic approach to assessing, improving, and communicating the level of quality in early childhood and school‐age care and education programs. The Quality Rated Validation Project, led by Child Trends, was part of these evaluation activities.
The primary goal of the Quality Rated Validation Project was to provide Georgia’s early childhood leaders with high-quality information about the validity of Quality Rated that can be used to strengthen the system. The primary objectives of the project were to help Quality Rated leaders gain a better understanding of:
- The extent to which Quality Rated ratings are accurate, meaningful indicators of program quality
- The extent to which Quality Rated ratings—and the standards that comprise the ratings—are related to children’s development and learning
- The strengths and limitations of the Quality Rated administrative data system, as well as an understanding of how the rating system is functioning (e.g., associations among various components of the rating, amount of time for programs to be rated)
The project started in 2015 and continued through spring of 2019; four reports were planned. The first uses administrative data to provide information about how the rating system is working. The second examines the distribution of ratings among different types of programs, the timing of each step in the rating process, and the re-rating of programs. The third report includes information about directors’, providers’, and teachers’ perceptions of Quality Rated. The fourth and final report outlines how quality ratings relate to independent measures of quality and children’s development.
Child Trends and Georgia State University collaborated to collect and analyze information from teachers, providers, and directors about their experiences with Quality Rated; independent classroom and program observations; audio recordings of teacher and provider interactions with children to understand language use; and assessments of children’s emerging academic and social skills. Combined, this series of reports addressed the three primary objectives stated above and provided data to guide Quality Rated leaders in considering future implementation and revision.
Follow-up work investigated other areas of interest to DECAL. The project first used publicly available Google and Yelp reviews of ECE programs in Georgia to better understand how the public views ECE access and how online ratings relate to Quality Rated ratings. The second project used the sample of teachers in the Quality Rated Validation study to examine the relationship between work climate and classroom quality, as measured by the CLASS. The third project used the sample of teachers in the study to examine the relationship between the TOP/COP observation tool and the CLASS.