Minnesota

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

Minnesota Parent Aware Validation and Evaluation Strategies

Child Trends, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization conducted the Parent Aware Evaluation from 2012–2016 with funding from Parent Aware for School Readiness (PASR) and Greater Twin Cities United Way.

To address the research question about the effectiveness of the quality indicators and structure of the Parent Aware Rating Tool in differentiating quality, a validation study was conducted. The study completed the following:

  • Collected data from participating early care and education programs to test whether the interactions between children and their teachers or caregivers and the learning environments of programs were distinct at the four quality levels in Parent Aware.
    To address the research question about linkages between children’s development and the Parent Aware quality levels, the validation study completed the following:
  • Collected and analyzed data from children and families in rated programs. Programs selected to participate represented the range of center-based and family child care settings rated in both the Parent Aware full rating process and the Accelerated Pathways to Rating (APR). Children completed direct assessments of their school readiness skills in the fall and spring in the year before kindergarten. Teachers and parents also completed assessments of children’s skills and provided information about their background and family characteristics. Rigorous analytic models were used to identify whether and how the rating levels, process (the full rating compared to the APR process), and select quality indicators related to children’s gains.

Additional evaluation questions focused on understanding how implementation of Parent Aware was proceeding, how quality was improving over time, and how Parent Aware was contributing to Minnesota’s early care and education.

Cost Projections and Financing

Minnesota Leveraged Public and Private Funding

In addition to public funding from Minnesota’s Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge grant and federal Child Care Development Funds, the evaluation for Parent Aware, Minnesota’s QRIS, was funded by Parent Aware for School Readiness, a business-leader-led private nonprofit, and the Greater Twin Cities United Way. In addition to funding the evaluation, both entities funded other significant Parent Aware efforts. Parent Aware for School Readiness marketed ratings to parents and providers statewide. Greater Twin Cities United Way also supported the Accreditation Facilitation Project, which supported 350 child care centers in the nine-county metro area in becoming both accredited and Parent Aware rated.

Consumer Education

Minnesota Studied Parent Choices

Parent Aware for School Readiness (PASR) sponsored a Parent Aware Ratings campaign including radio, online, TV and neighborhood ads that drove consumers to parentawareratings.org. A 2013 random sample survey of Minnesota parents of 0–5 years of age found the following:

  • 61 percent of parents who recalled the ads said the ads “made them stop and think about the need to have prekindergarten children in stimulating learning environments.”
  • 72 percent of parents who can recalled the ads agreed that “all parents should be asking questions about a child care provider’s Parent Aware Rating.”

78 percent of Minnesota parents of young children who recalled the ads said that all things being equal, they would choose a rated provider over an unrated one, while only 4 percent would choose an unrated provider.

Standards and Criteria

Minnesota QRIS Included Child Assessment

Parent Aware, the Minnesota QRIS, required participating centers and family child care providers to conduct regular child assessments. To earn a one-star rating, all center lead teachers or lead family child care providers completed at least 2 hours of training on authentic observation practices; they also observed children regularly and recorded information at least monthly. For a two-star rating, observation summaries were shared with families. The higher QRIS levels (three- and four-star ratings) could be achieved by earning points. A total of four points could be earned in child assessment by meeting the following standards listed in the Parent Aware Participant’s Guide:

  • Conducts assessment using an approved tool with all children at least twice per year in at least the following domains: social-emotional, language and literacy, mathematical thinking and physical development; and all lead teachers have completed 8 hours of training on authentic child assessment, (one point) OR
  • Conducts assessment using an approved tool with all children at least once per year in two or more domains, and all lead teachers have completed at least 8 hours of training on authentic child assessment (one point).
  • Provides families with child assessment results, and if a child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individual Family Services Plan (IFSP), share assessment results with team with family’s permission. For a child with a special need who is receiving specialty services (for example, physical or occupational therapy), share assessment results with service providers with family’s permission (one point).

Use child assessment information to develop lesson plans and individual goals for all children in the program (one point).