Pedagogical leadership of early childhood administrators in implementing quality rating and improvement systems



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Early childhood educational quality relies on state regulations. One method states have begun using to improve quality are called quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS). These voluntary systems along with increased standards for classroom practice as well as staff educational requirements have been implemented in many states to varying degrees. In addition to improving the quality of early childhood educational programs are also used to communicate quality to teachers and families. Using a policy analysis framework to identify the differences in QRIS programs, a sample of five states that represented the range of current quality standards used in the analysis. QRIS policy and supporting materials for Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Massachusetts were analyzed for similarities and differences in the breadth and depth of their quality expectations. Additionally, they were analyzed to identify the varying implicit and explicit expectations for administrators within the QRIS policy. In childcare centers the administrators are inherently responsible for understanding and implementing program quality standards. In order to understand and implement high quality programs, administrators need pedagogical leadership skills in order to implement appropriate program policies and support classroom teachers. These skills and positions contribute to overall program quality. This study found there are noticeable differences in the breadth and depth of quality across the states studied. There are differences in the stated expectations, amount of expectations, and level of training required to improve quality; differences in implicit and explicit expectations for administrators within the QRIS policy. Additionally, there were noticeable differences in training requirements and the amount of explicitly stated responsibility for administrators in center based programs.



Early childhood educational quality, Quality rating and improvement systems, Pedagogical leadership, Child care administrator

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Master of Science


School of Family Studies and Human Services

Major Professor

Deborah Norris