Participation Process

QUALITYstarsNY Participation Process

Once a program is selected to participate in QUALITYstarsNY, they earn their first Star Rating of 1-5 Stars before beginning their quality improvement work. The majority of each programs’ time and effort in QUALITYstarsNY is focused on the core of QUALITYstarsNY’s mission, Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI).

To help participants improve their quality and earn a higher rating, QUALITYstarsNY participants receive individualized support from a designated Quality Improvement Specialist (QI Specialist) and access to professional and career development opportunities, classroom materials and furnishings, and a wide range of resources. Programs are rated every 18 months to three years to measure their quality improvement progress and inform next steps in quality improvement. Programs continue to build on their quality for as long as they are participants in QUALITYstarsNY.

Programs selected to participate in QUALITYstarsNY are assigned a Quality Improvement Specialist (QI Specialist), an expert in the field of early childhood education, who serves as the program’s partner and guide throughout their participation and quality improvement work. New participants are required to attend an orientation session with their QI Specialist and sign the QUALITYstarsNY Participant Agreement before officially beginning their participation and moving into the rating process.

Components of the QUALITYstarsNY Rating Process

Quality Standards

Quality Standards

  • Provides a framework for the elements of high quality early learning and education programs
  • Serves as the foundation for the quality rating process

Standards Inventory

Standards Inventory

  • Program gathers evidence to demonstrate which Standards they meet and submits their collection of supporting documents as their Standards inventory
  • Raters review Standards Inventory to award a Provisional Rating

Star Rating

Star Rating

  • Programs receive a rating between 1 and 5 Stars, with a 5-Star rating representing the highest program quality
  • Each rating is determined using a point system based on program practices and accomplishments that are verified with supporting documentation

Standards Inventory

The QUALITYstarNY rating process begins with a program self-assessment based on the QUALITYstarsNY Standards – referred to as the Standards Inventory process. Over a six week period, programs partner with their QI Specialist to review the QUALITYstarsNY Standards, determine which of the indicators their program meets, and gather the required supporting documentation to demonstrate compliance with those indicators. Once complete, the program submits their Standards Inventory, which is used to determine their Provisional Rating.

Provisional Rating

After a program’s Standards Inventory is reviewed, they are awarded a Provisional Rating based on the points they earned from their Standards Inventory. As with Active Ratings, Provisional Ratings are awarded on a 5-Star scale with 5 Stars representing the highest quality.

A program’s Provisional Rating determines whether they are eligible for an Environmental Rating Scale (ERS) assessment as part of the rating process:

  • 3-5 Star Provisional Rating: an ERS assessment will be conducted by QUALITYstarsNY’s independent observation team and score results will be used to calculate the program’s Active Rating
  • 1-2 Star Provisional Rating: will become the program’s Active Rating

Active Rating

For programs that receive a Provisional Rating of 1 or 2 Stars, their Provisional Rating becomes their program’s Active Rating and they can begin their quality improvement work. Programs Provisionally Rated 3-5 Stars will undergo an Environmental Rating Scale (ERS) assessment from an independent observation team, the results of which will be combined with their Standards Inventory points to determine the program’s Active Rating. If a program receives an average score of 4.25 or below on their ERS assessment, they will automatically drop one Star level from their Provisional Rating to their Active Rating. Learn more about the QUALITYstarsNY point system. 

A program’s Active Rating is effective for 3 years, however, programs may submit for re-rating as early as 18 months after receiving their Active Rating if they feel they have made significant progress toward improving their quality.

We encouraged programs to celebrate their Star Rating with their staff, their families, and the community. By choosing to participate and work toward quality improvement, a program’s QUALITYstarsNY rating reflects their commitment to making their program the best it can be for the children and families they serve.

After programs earn their Active Rating, they begin the process of Continuous Quality Improvement. Partnering with their Quality Improvement Specialist, programs reflect on the results of their rating to identify opportunities for improvement and develop a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). The QIP represents the goals a program will work toward immediately or over time to better their program.

Programs have access to a range of resources, professional development opportunities, and materials—in addition to one-on-one guidance from their QI Specialist—to achieve their quality improvement goals.