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How did we get here?
First, a little history. Delaware Stars for Early Success is Delaware’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), charged with supporting quality improvements in Delaware’s early care and education programs. Delaware Stars began in 2008 and was one of nine states awarded an Early Learning Challenge grant in 2011. The Early Learning Challenge grant gave rise to a rapid growth of Delaware Stars, allowing new programs to join and providing financial incentives to support improvements.
The Early Learning Challenge grant also prompted a closer look at the system, and as a result Delaware Stars underwent a revision in 2012. Delaware Stars relaunched with new standards, moving from a building block model to a hybrid model that included some requirements and incorporated a points system. The hybrid model allows programs more choice in selecting areas to target for improvements when working toward higher Star Levels.
From 2013 – 2016, Delaware contracted with the RAND Corporation to conduct an independent evaluation to formally evaluate the Delaware Stars system.
The purpose of the RAND evaluation was to support Delaware in its efforts to design and implement an effective system for measuring and reporting on the quality of early care and education programs in both home and center settings. The evaluation further aimed to inform efforts to improve the quality of programs in ways that are beneficial for children and their families. The RAND evaluation provided independent, objective, and rigorous empirical evidence of the extent to which Star Levels reflect relevant differences in the quality of early care and education; it also documented providers’ experiences with technical assistance, financial supports, and other QRIS features.
The final RAND evaluation report, Evaluation of Delaware Stars for Early Success, was released in 2016. Like other Quality Rating and Improvement Systems across the country, Delaware Stars was shown to improve children’s executive functioning and moderately increase growth in other domains. However, room for improvement is still evident, based on research, anecdotal data, and the RAND evaluation report.
Final recommendations from the RAND evaluation include:
- As many states have now undergone formal evaluations, the Office of Early Learning (OEL) should look beyond the findings of any one study for any particular QRIS and discern the broader findings with relevance for QRIS design and implementation.
- OEL should consider a streamlined rating system based on carefully selected measures of the dimensions of quality that matter most to Stars’ ultimate goals.
- Providers are generally supportive of technical assistance, but there is room for improvement.
- There is opportunity for further marketing of Delaware Stars to families with young children.
- Improved data management is warranted.
Building on the most recent research as well as feedback from Delaware stakeholders, the QRIS Revision team proposed the following structural model for Delaware’s QRIS.
- The proposed structure is a hybrid model, with Building Blocks (sets of required standards) at star levels 1-3 and a system of choice points and points thresholds for star levels 4-5.
- The model is built on the foundational concepts of 1) Reciprocal relationships are fundamental to equitable, inclusive programs and 2) Continuous Quality Improvement is integral to the success of programs and of Delaware Stars.
- There are content areas emphasized at each star level, starting with Health & Safety, then Leadership & Administration, Environment, and building to Interactions & Intentional Teaching.
The model was presented and discussed at the recent structural recommendation information meetings, and the QRIS revision team will continue revising the new structure based on the feedback received. If you were not able to make it, the presentation slides and a summary of the feedback are available below.
Your input is vital for the revision and its implementation to be successful.
Upcoming Participation Opportunities
The QRIS advisory committee will be forming sub-committees to revise standards and additional membership is needed. Please email John.Fisher-Klein@doe.k12.de.us if you are interested in participating.
QRIS Revision Process Timeline
We are updating the timeline for the revision process to ensure that the revised Stars system meets the needs of all of Delaware’s early childhood stakeholders. We will share additional information about the revision process and the updated timeline as it is available.
QRIS Revision Reference Materials
|QRIS Revision Introduction
OEL presentation to introduce the revision process and share collected data with stakeholders.
|Revision Report 1
A summary of initial stakeholder feedback on Delaware’s current QRIS.
Overview of QRIS and recommendations for Delaware’s QRIS revision.
|Structural Recommendation Information Sessions
OEL presentation to share and gather feedback on the proposed structural changes to the QRIS model.
|Revision Report 2
Summary of feedback on the initial draft proposal for structural changes gathered during information sessions.
Frequently Asked Questions
We will be regularly updating FAQs as we hear from you. If you have additional questions, you can submit a comment above or reach out to John Fisher-Klein at the Office of Early Learning (302) -735-4295 or firstname.lastname@example.org.