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QRIS Resource Guide


Oregon is currently field testing the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). Starting in 2014, the QRIS field test will expand statewide. The system has five tiers, with licensure as the foundation. Licensed programs can apply for an initial Commitment to Quality (C2Q) level that requires additional quality standards including licensing compliance standards and then apply for a 3, 4 or 5 star rating. Parents will have access to the information about the C2Q and star levels and what this means for children in licensed care environments.

Oregon Contacts

Organization: Western Oregon University, Teaching Research Institute, Center on Inclusion

Web Site:

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

Approaches to Implementation

Oregon Uses Research Partners in Implementation of QRIS

Oregon contracted with Western Oregon University to conduct the field test of the QRIS, working with the CCR&R system which provides improvement specialists to the child care programs.  Western Oregon University will conduct a process evaluation of the QRIS. Oregon has also contracted with Oregon State University to conduct the validation study of their QRIS field test.  One critical goal of Oregon QRIS is to increase the quality of care for children with high needs.  Focusing on this goal has opened up a dialog regarding “children with high needs” including how to identify care and education programs who serve these populations and target them for recruitment into the QRIS.

Field Test and Phase-in of Oregon Program of Quality (OPQ)

Oregon developed a State designation of quality that serves as a stepping stone between program licensure and national accreditation.  

OPQ is designed to:

  • improve program quality,
  • recognize higher quality programs, and
  • increase the number of programs eligible to partner with Head Start and Early Intervention.

OPR standards resulted from a crosswalk of six common areas across:

  • Head Start Performance Standards,
  • NAEYC accreditation standards,
  • Oregon’s early learning guidelines, and
  • State licensure requirements. 

The field test began in January 2011 with a cohort of 25 diverse programs from across the State. Programs are required to complete orientation, develop a quality improvement plan, and submit a portfolio demonstrating how they meet the standards at the end of a 7-month period. Participating programs receive customized technical assistance and up to $5,000 in quality improvement awards. The second cohort was expected to begin the process in late 2011.

Standards and Criteria

Oregon Partners Base QRIS Standards on Research and Input from the Field

Oregon’s Child Care Division partnered with Western Oregon University’s Teaching Research Institute and other key partners to develop Oregon’s QRIS.  The system is based on best practices from targeted research, education awards and other states QRISs.  The QRIS was built on Oregon’s own licensing regulations, the Oregon Registry, Quality Indicators and Oregon Programs of Quality.  The QRIS standards were then refined with input from professionals in the field:  child care providers, CCR&R agencies, licensing specialists, health and nutrition specialists, child care union members, Oregon’s Professional Development Committee and the Standards Workgroup of Statewide Partners.  The resulting structure of standards has five tiers, starting with licensure and uses a building block approach that assures that programs have a strong foundation at each tier before they move to the next tier.  Programs use portfolios to document their progress, employing a variety of evidence, including data, documentation, reports, observations, and expert reviews. Four regions across the State are currently piloting the QRIS program standards, supports, and incentives. Additional information is available at

Cost Projections and Financing

Oregon Uses Provider Cost of Quality Calculator (PCQC) in Design of QRIS

Oregon was one of three states selected to pilot the PCQC.  They used the calculator to create scenarios and review them with various stakeholders.  The process provided several key points of learning including a focus on “the few and the powerful” in terms of standards and other specific standards because of the projected fiscal impact.  As a result, Oregon decided not to include Caring for our Children group size and ratio standards because of the fiscal impact. Oregon also realized the significant cost to programs to provide staff benefits as well as the fiscal value of programs participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Programs (CACFP).  Oregon now plans to include the PCQC as a tool in child care administration classes.