Evaluation of Delaware Stars for Early Success
Jun 2, 2015
As a first step in a larger study of Delaware Stars, a voluntary quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) for early learning and care programs, RAND researchers examined prior QRIS validation research, analyzed Delaware Stars administrative data, conducted key stakeholder interviews and focus groups, and implemented a virtual pilot test using national data to identify relationships between program quality and child developmental outcomes.
Year 1 Report (2014)
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Delaware was in the first group of states to receive a federal grant in 2012 to improve early care and education services and increase the number of infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children in high-quality programs. One component of the state's grant is a rigorous validation process for Delaware Stars for Early Success, a voluntary quality rating and improvement system (QRIS), including a study to assess the relationship between the quality ratings and the developmental outcomes of children. To support Delaware's efforts to ensure that the QRIS is working as intended, RAND researchers examined prior validation research, analyzed Delaware Stars administrative data, conducted a series of key stakeholder interviews and focus groups, and implemented a virtual pilot test of Delaware Stars using national data to identify relationships between program quality and child developmental outcomes. The results provide a baseline understanding of the types of child care providers that participate in Delaware Stars, their Delaware Stars quality ratings, how quickly they progress to higher quality levels and which standards they are meeting, how enrolled children are distributed across participating and nonparticipating programs, and the experiences of administrators, providers, and families with the current system. Although this initial study was not intended to provide definitive recommendations for improving Delaware Stars, the findings point to ways to reinforce initiatives already under way in Delaware Stars or that could be considered for the future.
The research activities documented in this first-year report were not designed to produce definitive recommendations, but they do provide support for initiatives under way in Delaware Stars or suggest future directions for the QRIS.
Overview of Delaware Stars
Participation in Delaware Stars and Rating Results
Stakeholders' Experiences with Delaware Stars
A Virtual Pilot of Delaware Stars
Conclusion and Implications
Additional Documentation for Delaware Stars
Data Sources for Administrative Data Analyses
Interview and Focus Group Protocols
Virtual Pilot Data, Measures, and Methods
The research in this report was produced within RAND Education and RAND Labor and Population, divisions of the RAND Corporation. The research was sponsored by the Delaware Office of Early Learning.
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