The Quality Rating Scale (QRS) was developed to guide quality improvement of preschool programmes for children aged six and below. The scale is a key component in the 2nd and 3rd tiers of the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK), and is based on the Quality Rating Model. The model comprises 8 criteria: Leadership, Planning and Administration, Staff Management, Early Years Learning Environment, Early Learning and Development, Resources, Curriculum and Pedagogy.
QRS was first developed at the Ministry of Education and launched in 2010. It took reference from established early childhood quality assurance systems and was validated against established international early childhood environment rating scales and a program administration scale to ensure the validity and reliability of its constructs. SPARK and the accompanying QRS have been used since 2011 to support Singapore preschools in improving their programmes and management practices.
The QRS has been regularly reviewed to ensure its relevance to the changes in the early childhood landscape. From 2015 to 2017, Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) conducted a thorough review of QRS in consultation with early childhood experts and practitioners. This review included a comprehensive study of assessment data collected over the years and feedback from the instrument users. As a result, the Quality Rating Scale – Updated Edition (2017) was launched in 2017. Besides having a sharper focus on teaching and learning the items and indicators were refined to ensure greater clarity to support preschools in the use of the instrument for self appraisal.
In 2018, in line with the national effort to further raise the quality of preschools, the QRS was expanded to cover early childhood programmes for children between the age of two months and three years. ECDA’s journey to conceptualise the constructs and develop the quality indicators for the 0-3 section started with reviews of existing literature on the early years, and references to established early years quality rating scales in other countries. It was also developed in close consultation with local and overseas early childhood experts, and pilot tested in preschools to gather feedback from centre leaders and teachers.
The development of the Quality Rating Scale (0-6) in 2019 was a significant milestone in the quality assurance journey for the early childhood sector in Singapore. The 0-3 section was integrated with the QRS into a single instrument to provide preschools with a more comprehensive view of quality early childhood programmes for children aged zero to six years. ECDA had consulted overseas and local experts, and conducted extensive field testing with preschools to ensure validity and reliability of this new scale. The Quality Rating Scale (0-6) comprises three main sections, covering 8 criteria and 28 items, and has the same format and scoring system as the QRS. It will be used for SPARK assessments from 2020.