INQUIRE

Quality Initiatives Research and Evaluation Consortium

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What percent of all at-risk children (children with high needs) in the state/territory participate in high quality care?

Data Elements

Child

Class/Group

Quality Measures

Family

Program Site

Identification
Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

General Analysis Recommendations

The first step in this analysis is to determine the total number of at-risk children in the state or territory. With the ultimate goal of aligning definitions across early childhood data collection and reporting efforts, we recommend using the criteria outlined in the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge application in determining how many children fall into each of seven high-needs categories. These categories (and the corresponding data elements) are: low-income (Family Income, Number of People in Family); developmental disability (Primary Type of Disability); English learner (Language Code); Indian Lands, (Child Resides on Indian Lands); migrant (Child: Migrant Status); homeless (Child: Homelessness Status); and, foster care status (Child: Foster Care Status). Children are considered at-risk/high needs if they meet one of these criteria.

Calculating inclusion for each of the high-needs categories

Low-Income: Whether or not a family is considered low-income depends on the Family Income, Number of People in the Family, and current data from the US Census Bureau[i] regarding poverty levels. First, apply poverty level data to each family in the dataset. For example, if a family has four members their current poverty threshold is $23,550. Next, compare the poverty threshold to the Family Incomeby subtracting the income from threshold. If the number is positive, the family falls below the poverty line; if it is negative the family does not fall below the poverty line. Assign a code (“1”) to any child that is in a family that falls below the threshold and another code (“0”) to any child in a family that does not.

Developmental Disability: Use the data element Primary Type of Disability to determine whether a child has a developmental disability. For each of the categories in this data element, total the number of children with that type of disability by counting the number of “Yes” responses. Assign a code (“1”) to any child with at least one “Yes” response. Children with no “Yes” responses are assigned another code (“0”).

 English Learner: Using the data element Language Code, assign a new code (“1”) to any child with a “Yes” response for any of the languages other than “English.” Assign another code (“0”) for children that indicate that “English” is the only language with which they communicate. For children with a “Yes” response for more than one language, use the element Child Language Type and the category “Dominant” to determine if a bi-lingual child’s primary language is English or another language.

Resides on Indian Lands: Assign a code (“1”) to the “Yes” responses for the data element Child Resides on Indian Lands. Assign another code (“0”) to children with “No” responses for the same data element.

Migrant: Assign a code (“1”) to the “Yes” responses for the data element Child Migrant Status. Assign another code (“0”) to children with “No” responses for the same data element.

Homeless: Assign a code (“1”) to the “Yes” responses for the data element Child Homeless Status. Assign another code (“0”) to children with “No” responses for the same data element.

Foster Care Status: Assign a code (“1”) to the “Yes” responses for the data element Child Foster Care Status. Assign another code (“0”) to children with “No” responses for the same data element.

Create a new variable “High Needs” that adds the newly assigned codes across the seven categories. Any child with a code of “1” to “7” is considered high needs while any child with a code of “0” is not high needs.

Calculating the percent of high-needs children in high-quality care.

Once children with high needs have been identified, use the data element QRIS Participation Historyto isolate program sites (Program Site ID) participating in the state’s QRIS by selecting the option “Program site currently participates in the QRIS.” Children will be connected to program sites through their Child ID. Total the number of children who are High Needs (“1” to “7”) and who are connected to a program site that participates in the QRIS (“Program site currently participates in the QRIS”) for the number of high needs children receiving care at program sites participating in the QRIS. Then use QRIS Scoreto capture only those program sites that are at the highest levels of quality however that is defined by the state (typically, the top one or two levels). Total the number of children who are considered high needs (“1” to “7”) receiving care at a program site that is at the highest levels of quality. Divide by the total of children who are considered high needs.

If the state does not have a QRIS, but has another quality improvement systems or initiative use the data element Quality Improvement Participation to isolate program sites (Program Site ID) participating in the state’s other quality improvement initiative by selecting the option “Program site currently participates in another QI initiative.” Children will be connected to program sites through their Child ID. Total the number of children who are High Needs (“1” to “7”) and who are connected to a program site that participates in another QI initiative (“Program site currently participates in another QI initiative”) for the number of high needs children receiving care at program sites participating in another QI initiative. Determining which program sites are high quality in another QI initiative depends on criteria set by the state.

If the state has neither a QRIS nor another QI initiative but does collect other observational measures of quality (e.g. ERS, CLASS), those can be used to determine which program sites are at the highest levels of quality. Using the example of the CLASS, the CLASS Average Scoreor the average scores from each of the three domains (Emotional Support, Instructional Support, Classroom Organization) can be used to make designations of high quality although the specific cut-off points in making those determinations are left up to the state.