UW College of Education Home College of Education eNews

Dr. Gail Joseph and Team Write New Standards for Washington Quality Rating and Improvement System (WQRIS)

Press Release August 2011 – WA State Department of Early Learning

High-quality child care helps children get ready for success in kindergarten and beyond. Yet child care quality varies considerably around Washington. The Washington Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) is the state's voluntary program for helping licensed child care providers offer high-quality care.

The final QRIS Quality Standards were developed by University of Washington faculty member Dr. Gail Joseph and other researchers, including Erika Feldman, Carrie Brennan and Rachel Naslund. Joseph's team made the recommendations based on their conceptual model and the extant research, including a modified field test developed by the team. The standards have been posted on the Department of Early Learning website and distributed to Field Test Site Coordinators and early adopter applicants. The updated standards are the culmination of two years of hard work in the five field test sites.

For two years, child care providers in five communities around the state participated in the development of Washington's QRIS. An evaluation of the model showed promising results—with one-on-one coaching and funding support, the quality of care increases quickly. Based on feedback from participants and lessons learned from the field test, DEL has refined the QRIS standards:

  1. Washington Quality Rating and Improvement System Standards
  2. Overview of how feedback informed modification of QRIS Standards

The standards are one part of the QRIS "model," which DEL and partners will develop over the course of the state fiscal year (July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012). The model will include an explanation/guidance of how the standards can be met, tools and templates to assist with meeting specific standards, a training calendar, and a QRIS database under development. Planning for branding the Washington QRIS will also happen during this time.

Family home and child care center providers who participated in the field test are encouraged to apply to be an "early adopter" of the updated QRIS. DEL is selecting up to 60 "early adopter" providers to receive incentives and support in exchange for participating in the updated QRIS.
DEL will expand the voluntary program statewide in mid-2012, within available resources. Part of a QRIS is making ratings available to families searching for child care. DEL is building a QRIS database that will provide information about QRIS participants' quality in late 2012.

Background information on QRIS field test

The QRIS model is based on a two-year field test, which was called Seeds to Success. Read More »

QRIS around the nation
Many other states have a QRIS and many more are developing one.
Read More »


College of Education, University of Washington
Box 353600 Seattle, WA 98195-3600
To ensure our newsletter always reaches your inbox, please add ecoe@u.washington.edu to your
address book.