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In the Early Start Act of 2015, the Washington State Legislature required child care and early learning providers who serve non-school aged children and receive state subsidies to participate in Early Achievers, the state’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). This legislation also directed WSIPP to examine the relationship between Early Achievers quality ratings and long-term outcomes for children who participate in state-subsidized child care and early learning programs. WSIPP was required to produce annual reports to the legislature from December 2019 through December 2022; the final report must include a benefit-cost analysis of Early Achievers.
In this second report, we found that enrollment in a pre-kindergarten site that has an Early Achievers rating does not significantly predict kindergarten readiness for children in ECEAP or those receiving child care subsidy, although we do observe modest positive associations for children in ECEAP. Enrollment in a pre-kindergarten site that met minimum quality standards is a significant positive predictor of greater kindergarten readiness for children in ECEAP sites and for those with child care subsidies.
WSIPP’s next report in the Early Achievers evaluation series, due in December 2021, will examine variation in Early Achievers quality standard areas (e.g., learning environment and interactions, professional development) to predict child outcomes. Additionally, to the extent possible given data availability, we will address special topics questions such as infant-toddler care quality and later child outcomes.