System Challenge: Quality Standards

Consider this scenario...

Your state has high quality child level standards for children birth to five which have been shared with all local programs. You know that the local early intervention and preschool special education programs or agencies in your state are not consistently using these standards. It seems like the state needs to provide more support to locals in this effort. When locals are asked about barriers to using the child standards to guide their practice, issues such as lack of time, lack of skills, and need for guidance and TA are listed.

Sample Process:

Document Thumbnail: ECTA System Framework Self-Assessment

Being generally familiar with the System Framework Self-Assessment as a means to target needed changes, you review the PDF: Guidance Document and decide to convene a group of relevant stakeholders to complete the Self-Assessment for the Quality Standards Component. This will provide baseline information about what aspects of your Quality Standards system are strong and what areas should be improved.

In reviewing the Quality Standards Component, your stakeholder group decides to focus their analysis on Subcomponent 1: Child Level Standards.

Screenshot: Self-Assessment (Excel Worksheet)

As a result, the Self-Assessment determines that Quality Indicator QS3 contains the elements in need of improvement to respond to the challenge faced by your state. This will assist your state improving your infrastructure to support the effective use of child level standards at the local level.

In completing the Self-Assessment, your stakeholder group identified the level of implementation for each of the Elements of Quality under Quality Indicator QS3 along with supporting evidence.

Your team uses the results of the Self-Assessment to identify what needs improvement or modifications to ensure local early intervention and preschool special education programs or agencies in your state consistently use child standards. The information is used to help set priorities for your action planning and implementation.

Specifically, you identify that although you have disseminated, provided training and had discussions with locals regarding your child level standards and have excellent resources for families on the standards, but you have limited infrastructure supports in place to ensure the use of the standards. To accomplish this, you decide to form a work group, including stakeholders from other state agencies, your provider community and families to assist you in making improvements to your state's infrastructure related to child standards. You outline several activities of the work group to include:

  • Assisting with developing a coaching/mentoring structure as well as various ongoing learning opportunities to support your teachers and practitioners over time in using the child level standards when working with children and families;
  • Making recommendations for modifying existing policies and procedures so that assessments and curriculum align with the child standards;
  • Advising on what changes need to be made to the existing accountability processes to ensure use of the child level standards at the local level is adequately monitored.

In summary, the System Framework and the Self-Assessment are tools you can use to identify areas of improvement to enhance your system of services.

ECTA recommends you complete the Self-Assessment for the entire System Framework. But you may decide to complete just the Quality Standards Component, or a specific Subcomponent, but always consider how the System Framework Components interact with each other. Remember, the components are not stand-alone. Even though your challenge is related to Quality Standards, other components may be impacted by your challenge as well (e.g. Finance, Personnel/Workforce, Accountability & Quality Improvement).

Don't hesitate to call on your TA providers for assistance in using the System Framework and Self-Assessment, including:

  • Stakeholder selection and communication
  • Stakeholder meeting facilitation
  • Priority selection of activities to address improvement
  • Action planning and implementation
  • Evaluation of state efforts

Finally, use the information provided in Considerations for Implementing System Change to help guide implementation of your improvement plan activities to improve your Personnel/Workforce system.

We are here to help!

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

  • CB 8040
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8040
  • phone: 919.962.2001
  • fax: 919.966.7463
  • email: ectacenter@unc.edu

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P120002 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

  • FPG Child Development Institute
  • OSEP's TA&D Network:IDEAs that Work