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Investigating Leverage Points in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems: Profiles of Quality and Professional Perspectives

Belle Ann Scheef, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This quantitative and qualitative study identified potential leverage points that can inform quality improvement efforts in early care and education (ECE). The quantitative component of the study examined profiles of ECE quality and predictors of membership in quality profiles by conducting analyses across two large data sets. The first data set includes combined data from two studies: The National Center for Early Development and Learning (NCEDL) Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten, which includes data from 238 community and school-based Pre-K programs in six states, and Study of State-Wide Early Education Programs (SWEEP), which includes data from 465 sites in 5 states; and the Midwest QRS Pilot Study (Midwest), which includes infant/toddler center-based, preschool center-based, and family child care settings in 4 Midwestern states. In the quantitative component, latent profile analysis identified profiles of quality in each data set and multinomial logistic regression identified teacher and program characteristics that predicted membership in each quality profile. For SWEEP PreK, teachers with higher education who were younger and self-identified as Hispanic were more likely to be in the Good profile. For Midwest infant/toddler teachers, predictors of membership in the Good-to-Excellent profile included planning to stay in the field longer, serving children with special needs in the past year, and following Head Start performance standards. For Midwest family-based providers, predictors of membership in the Good-to-Excellent quality profile included working fewer hours per week, not serving children with special needs, having higher education and having more training hours in the past year. For Midwest preschool teachers, highest level of education, the number of training hours completed in the past year, the number of paid work hours per week, and if they served special needs children in the past year predicted membership in the Excellent profile. The qualitative study examined perspectives of ECE professionals participating in Nebraska’s QRIS of Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) during the first year of implementation. Data analysis revealed several themes including issues with the implementation and rollout; family-based providers felt left out; intrinsic motivations for providers participating in SUTQ; and strengths of the program. Results provide guidance for continued improvement of SUTQ.

Subject Area

Early childhood education

Recommended Citation

Scheef, Belle Ann, "Investigating Leverage Points in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems: Profiles of Quality and Professional Perspectives" (2017). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10616255.