Pennsylvania Revises Quality Rating and Improvement System
Pennsylvania recently completed an 18-month process to update Keystone STARS, the state’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS), to make it more flexible while maintaining rigor.
More than 2,000 stakeholders provided input into the project to update Keystone STARS. One of the most significant changes is a shift from a “block” system, where providers are required to meet all performance standards before moving to the next STAR level, to a hybrid system that gives providers flexibility to choose the indicators they want to meet to achieve their continuous quality improvement goals. The performance standards themselves were also streamlined to include only those that are most meaningful to improving quality, resulting in a 50% cut in standards that will reduce administrative burden for providers and make it more affordable for them to move up the STAR ladder. The QRIS will now recognize child care certification as the foundation of quality by awarding all certified child care programs a STAR 1 rating, making them eligible for quality improvement supports. It also streamlines reciprocity so that programs meeting other standards (such as: NAEYC, Montessori, or Early Head Start/Head Start) can earn higher STAR levels. The state hosted a webinar and many regional meetings to introduce the new system and created a program manual to assist programs in moving through the QRIS. Transition to the new system will take place over the next year.