The Quality Rating Scale (QRS) was developed to help preschools work towards the outcomes of preschool education. The scale enables the evaluation of preschool education programmes catering to 0-6 year-old children in kindergartens and child care centres. The scale is a key part of the 2nd and 3rd tiers of 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 Years Learning and Development, Resources, Curriculum and Pedagogy.
First developed at the Ministry of Education, the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK) and the accompanying Quality Rating Scale (QRS) has been used since 2011 to support preschools in Singapore in improving their education and management practices.
In 2015, the Early Childhood Development Agency undertook a review of the QRS, in consultation with early childhood experts and practitioners. The QRS took reference from other established early childhood quality assurance systems, and was validated against established international early childhood environment rating scales and a program administration scale to ensure that its constructs remained robust.
In 2017, the QRS was reviewed. It was a thoughtful process that included a comprehensive study of the assessment data collected over the years and feedback from the instrument users. In this updated edition, every item and indicator was refined to ensure greater clarity without major changes to the original constructs of the QRS. In particular, the QRS-Update showed a sharper focus on teaching and learning practices. The update retained the same format and scoring system of the QRS so as to provide continuity between the QRS and the updated edition of QRS.
In 2018, the QRS was expanded to cover early childhood programmes for children between the age of two months and three years, in line with the national effort to further raise the quality of preschools. 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. The 0-3 section was also developed in close consultation with local and overseas early childhood experts. It has the same format and scoring system as the QRS, but varies considerably in requirements due to the unique developmental needs of the youngest children in this age group.