Document Type


Publication Date



Child and Family Studies


Research Findings: The current study looks at the validity of a voluntary self-report Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) and the characteristics of participating childcare centers. The self-reported quality indicators are compared to external ratings of quality Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised ([ECERS-R]) and correlated with variables such as size of center and number of state subsidy clients. ECERS-R scores were unrelated to capacity but significantly lower for centers with a large percentage of state-supported clients. Regarding self-reported quality, centers frequently under-reported their quality and what was claimed was not always externally validated, suggesting a self-report QRIS may not be an accurate assessment of quality. Additionally, no significant differences in quality were found between centers participating and those not participating in the self-report QRIS. Practice or Policy: Self-reported childcare quality was not accurate in this study. Although providers over-reported some quality, they frequently under-reported quality, by claiming fewer indicators than external validators found. When centers are unmotivated to participate in a voluntary, self-report QRIS, when items reported are the easiest to report, and when existing quality indicators are unreported, a self-reported QRIS cannot validly reflect quality. Because providers over-reported and under-reported quality criteria, it is doubtful the system truly incentivizes desired quality changes.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in 'Early Education and Development' on 3/2019, available online:

Publication Title

Early Education and Development

Find in your library