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

Standards and Criteria

Vermont’s QRIS Used a Point System

When Vermont’s STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS) was being developed, the state presented rating systems based on building blocks and points to the early childhood community in a series of focus groups. The consensus was to use points. Blocks were seen as “making us all do the same things” whereas points “recognize us for our varied strengths and the different ways we operate.” A point system was more flexible than a block system and fit the Vermont ethos of independence.

In STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS) Standards a maximum number of points was assigned in five arenas (categories of standards): regulatory history (three points), staff qualifications and training (three points), families and community (three points), program practices (five points), and administration (three points).

Vermont continually reviewed its system and made program practices the arena in which the most points could be achieved. Vermont also created customized applications based on program type. For example, the family child care home provider application noted only program assessment tools pertinent to family child care in the application, and the administration arena documentation reflected the home context. Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) and the Youth Program Quality Assessment were added to the menu of approved tools to assess programs. Teaching Strategies Gold was the child assessment tool that had to be used in early childhood programs at the four-point level in the program practices arena, but all public prekindergarten programs had to use this tool at each point level.

Vermont intentionally prepared programs for a change to STARS that requires third-party onsite program assessment (two points in program practices) before the program could attain three stars. This would require a formal change in STARS rules. Vermont prepared the field by providing more training on the Environment Rating Scales and providing an onsite mentoring visit at the two-point level in the program practices arena.

Quality Assurance and Monitoring

Vermont's Grievance Process

Applicants or program participants had the right to appeal rejection of their application materials or other adverse decisions related to the Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS) program such as the suspension or revocation of a STARS certificate in connection with enforcement of licensing regulations, subsidy regulations, or these standards.

Appeals had to be in writing and received by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner within 30 days of the date of rejection or other adverse decision. If the appeal was from a school-operated prekindergarten program, the Commissioner of the Department of Education joined the Commissioner of the DCF in deciding the appeal.

The applicant or grievant had the opportunity to present the appeal to a STARS grievance committee, which was appointed by one or both commissioners and consisted of at least three members, including one from the regulated provider community. The committee provided a recommendation to the commissioner or commissioners, who made a final decision on the grievance and provided the grievant with a written decision. The grievant could appeal the final decision to the Human Services Board within 30 days of the final decision date.

Financial incentives were not paid while an appeal was pending. If a successful final appeal resulted in the determination that a STARS program participant was due a financial incentive or maintenance payment, DCF awarded payment in full within 60 days

Additional information is available in STARS Standards (September 2019).