Progress and Challenges in Developing Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (TQRIS) in the Round 1 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) States

Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences
Nov 28, 2017
Gretchen Kirby, Pia Caronongan, Andrea Mraz Esposito, Lauren Murphy, Megan Shoji, Patricia Del Grosso, Wamaitha Kiambuthi, Melissa Clark, and Lisa Dragoset

Key Findings:

  • Eight of the nine states had a statewide TQRIS in place by 2015.
  • States promoted participation in TQRIS in several ways. States made participation mandatory for certain programs, such as public prekindergarten programs or Head Start programs. States provided alternate pathways into higher rating levels. States offered financial incentives tied to higher ratings.
  • States used different methods to calculate ratings, some of which changed over time.
  • States used various sources of evidence to collect the information needed to rate programs, and they developed processes and standards to help ensure the reliability of this information. 
This report describes states’ progress in developing and implementing systems that rate early childhood education programs on quality and help them improve. These systems are known as tiered quality rating and improvement systems (TQRIS). The report focuses on the nine states that received the Round 1 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants, which encouraged the development and implementation of TQRIS. These nine states differed substantially in the ways that they structured and implemented, promoted participation in, and rated and monitored programs in their TQRIS. 

Evaluating Race to the Top and School Improvement Grants


U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences

Time Frame


Senior Staff

Megan Shoji
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Lisa Dragoset
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Gretchen Kirby
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Patricia Del Grosso
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Melissa Clark
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Pia Caronongan
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