Findings from An Inquiry into Pennsylvania's Early Childhood Quality Rating and Improvement System study supports the position that higher ratings represent a meaningful transition into higher quality. Keystone STARS quality ratings were observed to be significantly and positively associated with child outcomes. Improvements were not evident in the transition across all levels. The findings provide support for making system revisions to more clearly distinguish levels from one another.
The notion that there is an opportunity to refocus Keystone STARS is one that has been gaining traction nationwide as QRIS seek to identify the few and the powerful standards, while rethinking or eliminating everything else. Likewise, QRIS research has called for focusing on indicators with demonstrable links to childrens' learning that will define quality in ways that matter most for improving child outcomes.