Rhode Island

QRIS State Profile

This profile is from the Quality 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

Engagement of Rhode Island Parents, Partners, and Stakeholders in Developing a QRIS

As part of the development phase of Rhode Island’s BrightStars quality rating and improvement system (QRIS), nine parent focus groups were held in different regions of the state to determine what mattered most to them and to gather their input on the proposed standards. The discussions were held in English, Spanish, and Cambodian and reached 106 parents, mostly mothers. The steering committee that guided the development and oversaw the implementation of BrightStars had a parent representative from the Rhode Island Parent Information Network, an information and support agency for Rhode Island parents.

Annual community meetings, open to all, were held for 3 years to engage other partners, report progress, and get feedback. These well-attended meetings were widely promoted through professional association networks, community-based organizations, advocacy groups, and state-funded projects using email lists and websites.

A diverse 30-member steering committee oversaw the development of BrightStars and guided its implementation. The committee met quarterly or more frequently, if needed, to advise, guide, and act as a sounding board on policies and big decisions about BrightStars. Steering committee members championed BrightStars in the community and through their connections with other groups. Although 4 years was a long time to develop a QRIS, participants said “it [was] worth it” because the time allowed for ample communication and involvement. It was easy for anyone in Rhode Island to know about BrightStars and have a say in its development. Ultimately, even those who were not 100 percent satisfied with the program were still able to support it.

Data Collection and Evaluation

Rhode Island QRIS Evaluation: A Unique Partnership Focused on Informed Revision

A broadly representative community-based group developed the draft standards and quality criteria for BrightStars over several years. Researchers from the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina, who were selected for their depth and breadth of expertise and experience in evaluating program quality, conducted a pilot and random sample evaluation. The evaluation was conducted as a partnership between FPG and the community agency that manages BrightStars, Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children. This partnership facilitated training of BrightStars staff to collect data in a valid and reliable manner. The draft center framework included 62 criteria across 28 standards. The evaluation in the pilot revealed that using all 62 criteria resulted in small quality distinctions, and many programs had no stars or only one star. A review of the standards ensured that each criterion 1) was not already in state licensing, 2) had an actual outcome, and 3) adequately measured the differences in quality. This review pared the number of criteria down to 22, which were then grouped into nine standards. The final frameworks were  an effective scaffold for quality improvement; differences between the levels were meaningful but achievable. The evaluation not only improved the BrightStars standards and measurement tool; it also provided a baseline measure of program quality in a random sample of centers, homes, and afterschool programs in Rhode Island, which will be useful for tracking progress in the future. It has also been helpful to have expert evaluators give the Steering Committee specific advice and recommendations to improve the framework.