Arkansas

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

Provider Incentives and Support

Comprehensive, Statewide Training Opportunities Supported Arkansas Providers

Arkansas always had a rich offering of early childhood coursework for child care providers, but with the launch of Better Beginnings, training was aligned with the QRIS criteria to support providers in attaining higher star levels. Some of the more innovative training that was available included the following:

  • Orientation training for directors and family child care providers and preemployment training for people who are new to the field of child care
  • Certificate programs for administrators, caregivers, and child care specialists based on ages of children served
  • A 30-hour course that provided an introduction to the Arkansas early childhood education framework and included curriculum development, planning activities, assessment and evaluation, and portfolio development; there was also a 12-hour course on the infant/toddler framework
  • Two 30-hour courses that focused on language and literacy development and on math and science strategies in working with young children
  • A 45-hour course that addressed strategies and activities to ensure healthy social and emotional development in programs for children ages 3–5 years
  • Welcome the Children training and technical assistance to help early childhood professionals better understand diversity, appreciate cultural differences and similarities, learn strategies to support English language learners, and promote inclusion.

Arkansas Validated Standards

Arkansas developed their QRIS standards over several years, affording them the opportunity to have a group of researchers compare the standards to what research says about these measures (in other words, they validated their standards and offered the opportunity to make adjustments). Recommendations from the researchers were as follows:

  • Reduce redundancy—exclude content areas in the Strengthening Families component that are already measured with the Program Administration Scale (PAS) and Environment Rating Scales (ERS) assessments.
  • Use measures as written and tested—do not exclude items from the PAS assessment since this reduces it validity and reliability.
  • Designate teacher-child ratios above the minimum in licensing. This standard is present in other state rating systems and other systems such as accreditation and Head Start.
  • Incorporate process measures because they are stronger predictors of child outcomes and collect evidence of them through independent observation.
  • Address lower levels of quality in the QRIS—level 1 should be designated “getting ready,” and the minimum ERS score to designate quality should be revisited.
  • Address higher levels of quality—develop levels of quality beyond the current highest level to encourage programs to improve to a level that promotes optimal child development.
  • Include child screening as a measure—this will lead to better child outcomes and early intervention is more effective.

This research is described in Evaluating Arkansas’ Path to Better Child Outcomes (2010) by Partners for Inclusive Communities, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.