Massachusetts fully implemented its Quality Rating and Improvement System as of March 2011. The QRIS will enable the State’s efforts to build an early childhood and afterschool system of care, as QRIS acts as a framework for organizing all of the functions of these systems. The process for the development of the Massachusetts’ QRIS included each of the components going through three phases: Design, Public Input, and Implementation, which included a pilot period for each component. Massachusetts will use their Web-based data system to track the progress of providers as they attain levels within the QRIS.
QRIS Name: Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
QRIS State Profile
This profile is from the QRIS Compendium—a comprehensive resource for information about all of the QRIS operating in the U.S. and its Territories. It was developed by a partnership of the BUILD Initiative, the Early Learning Challenge Collaborative, and Child Trends.
QRIS Resource Guide Examples
Initial Design Process
Logic Model Helps Guide Massachusetts QRIS Revisions
In conjunction with five other states through the QRIS National Learning Network, Massachusetts used a logic model approach to develop an Outcomes Map for each of the components of QRIS. The Outcome Map documents the interconnected relationships between each of the components and to the expected child outcomes of school readiness and future success.
In revising their QRIS, Massachusetts used the logic model to guide their process. Inputs in the logic model included the provisional standards used for the pilot, stakeholders‘ and pilot participants’ perspectives and insights, pilot documentation, national experts‘ knowledge, the scientific literature, the licensing standards and existing tools and measures, best practices in the field, and agency leadership. The model illustrates how inputs and resources inform activities and link to final outcomes. The project activities presented in the model include gathering input through regional forums, survey and interviews, a literature review, the development of a cross-walk of the provisional standards with licensing regulations and national assessment tools and standards, and refining recommendations to ensure standards could be documented. The model then aligns these requirements resulting in both interim and ultimate outputs including the final revised standards and the launch of the revised system. The logic model can be found at: http://www.eec.state.ma.us/docs1/qris/20110307_ma_qris_provisional_study_final_rpt.pdf.
Provider Incentives and Support
Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care Creates Simple Guide
To assist with the QRIS application process a 2-page guide with the step-by-step process, examples of assessment tools, and illustrative graphics were developed and posted on the Web site along with other resources. Additional information is available at http://www.eec.state.ma.us/docs1/qris/20110525_qris_assessment_guide.pdf.
In addition, Massachusetts also offers support to providers new to the QRIS with the following supports:
- Orientation sessions in the five regional offices following Licensing Renewal meetings;
- Trainings on QRIS with Educator/Provider support grantees;
- Trainings on all of the measurement tools required for the QRIS;
- A Program Quality Specialist in each regional office who is able to provide technical assistance via phone, email, or site visits; and
- Monthly technical assistance webinars to field coaches and mentors.
The Department of Early Education and Care (DEEC) developed an online fundamentals course on QRIS in multiple languages (English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Khmer, and Portuguese) for providers. This course is designed to introduce early education and out-of-school-time educators to the Massachusetts QRIS so that they become familiar with and participate in QRIS. The first 2-hour course module introduces the QRIS and explores the current science of brain development. The next four modules introduce the five categories of the QRIS standards and the tools that measure process and structural quality indicators. The final module covers how to apply this knowledge to an early education or out-of-school-time program to identify areas for program improvement. More than 1,500 educators have accessed the course since its launch. In addition to the fundamentals course, DEEC has begun to develop QRIS Technical Assistance Courses. The modules will provide in-depth knowledge in and strategies for QRIS content areas and standards, be easily accessible to professionals currently working in the field, and be translated into Spanish.
In 2012, DEEC began to develop a Business Planning Course for early educators to help them implement sound business practices that will result in higher scores on the PAS, BAS, and APT and to achieve a higher QRIS level. This course can be taken on line and in a classroom format and will be available in multiple languages (Spanish, Portuguese, and English).
Data Collection and Evaluation
Massachusetts Revises Standards
Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care has been working throughout 2013 to evaluate the MA QRIS. This work has been done in collaboration with the UMass Donahue Institute, the EEC Board, the EEC Program Quality Unit, and a QRIS Working Group comprised of representatives from the field. Several policy changes and minor revisions to the standards will be implemented in 2014.