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Louisiana’s Kindergarten Readiness System

Project Title

Building State-wide Quality Rating Strategies for Early Childhood System Reform: Lessons From the Development of Louisiana's Kindergarten Readiness System

Project Summary

Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) have emerged as a popular policy strategy aimed at integrating the Early Childhood Education (ECE) landscape and improving the quality of early childhood programs through quality standards, accountability, and supports. Although there is strong federal and state commitment to QRIS as a strategy towards quality improvement in ECE, the rapid design and roll-out of states’ QRIS systems has outpaced the research base around measuring and improving quality in early childhood settings.

In collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Education, this 3-year study examines Louisiana’s efforts to overhaul their early childhood education system through a novel QRIS focused on the quality of teacher-child interactions and a simplified system for parents to find out about the availability and quality of early childhood education options We are collecting rich primary data in approximately 90 classrooms serving four-year-olds in child care centers, Head Start and state-funded pre-kindergarten. Our data includes multiple classroom observations, direct child assessments, parent surveys and teacher interviews.  The two key goals of this study are (1) to validate a new process-based approach to QRIS and (2) to test assumptions embedded in QRIS around parental ECE decision-making.  We expect that findings from this project to inform Louisiana as well as other states’ efforts to develop or refine their QRIS and improve early learning opportunities.   This study is generously supported by the Institute of Education Sciences.

Funding Source

Institute of Educational Science (IES)

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