Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) - Early Learning - The Issues - BUILD Initiative
Strong Foundations For Our Youngest Children

Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)

A quality rating and improvement system provides a framework for building strong early care and education systems within states. With its increased focus on data collection, QRIS can be a powerful policy tool to transform early childhood education. 

A comprehensive QRIS: 

  • Makes program quality comparable across the field.
  • Creates and aligns program standards with early learning and practitioner standards.
  • Develops and aligns infrastructure to support quality improvement.
  • Assesses achievement along a continuum.

A quality rating and improvement system also provides families and government with clear data about where to invest early care and education dollars.  

QRIS National Learning Network

The BUILD Initiative's QRIS National Learning Network helps BUILD states and others develop and improve their QRIS. The network:

  • Provides direct technical assistance* to states for their planning and implementation efforts.
  • Brings state leaders, technical assistance providers, advocates and researchers together to share QRIS knowledge.
  • Publishes the latest QRIS research.
  • Hosts an ongoing webinar series on innovative QRIS practices.
  • Maintains a comprehensive sister website with QRIS information and resources.
  • Provides additional and targeted learning opportunities to state QRIS leaders.
  • Hosts the annual QRIS conference. The conference is a highlight of BUILD’s 50-state Learning Community dedicated to advancing high-quality, equitable, culturally competent, affordable, and accessible early learning opportunities for each and every young child. As one of the few national conferences that brings a cross-systems perspective to the study of quality in early childhood, it aims to provide opportunities that inform and improve the practices of the attending professionals while emphasizing cross-system and cross-sector approaches to meeting the needs of the whole child, the promotion of equity, and engagement of families, providers, and stakeholders. Read our QRIS 2019 conference report here.

All states considering a quality rating and improvement system, piloting one, or in full-scale implementation can visit the QRIS National Learning Network website. You will find information and a variety of resources that will help your state advocate for or plan and improve your QRIS, or contact the network staff.

*Technical assistance is available through grant funding and on a fee-for-service basis.


Washington’s Expanded Learning Opportunities: The Promise of a Systems Approach 

This report examines how partners in Washington state took on a multi-year effort to ensure that programs across the state could achieve a high-bar of quality so that young people would be more likely to enjoy the potential benefits of these programs. Borrowing from many of the lessons learned from the Early Learning Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), Washington sought to leverage the strengths of the QRIS and extend the quality system to serve school-age and youth in ways that propel the field forward.