Coaching and Quality Assistance in Quality Rating Improvement Systems: Approaches Used by TA Providers to Improve Quality in Early Care and Education Programs and Home-based Settings

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This is an excerpt from the full report.


Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRISs) commonly offer on-site technical assistance (TA) and coaching to help early care and education settings achieve quality improvements and a higher QRIS rating. In surveys of administrators overseeing statewide QRISs, almost all states reported the use of on-site TA and coaching in both center-based and home-based settings.1 2 Coaching is also a key component of several pilot and local QRISs.3 While recently proposed definitions of technical assistance and coaching help distinguish these forms of quality assistance from other types of professional development (see box),4 it will be important to learn more about how on-site assistance is delivered and supported in QRISs.

Excerpt from
Early Childhood Education Professional Development:
Training and Technical Assistance Glossary

(A joint project of National Association for the Education of Young Children and National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies)

Technical Assistance is the provision of targeted and customized supports by a professional with subject matter and adult learning knowledge and skills to develop or strengthen processes, knowledge application, or implementation of services by recipients.

Coaching is a relationship-based process led by an expert with specialized and adult learning knowledge and skills, who often serves in a different professional role than the recipient. Coaching is designed to build the capacity for specific professional dispositions, skills, and behaviors, and is focused on goal-setting and achievement for an individual or group.

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This report presents findings from an interview study with TA providers in 17 states that have statewide QRISs. The aims of the study are: (1) to learn about features of on-site quality assistance so that a key strategy used by QRISs to improve quality is better understood; and (2) to examine approaches used by TA providers in light of current research on early learning and quality improvement in order to consider the potential of on-site assistance, as it is currently being delivered, to improve quality. The four main sections of the report present:

  • key findings from existing research relevant to technical assistance and coaching;
  • results from interviews with QRIS technical assistance (TA) providers showing trends in:
  • – the types of settings receiving TA and coaching,– the amount, frequency, and content focus of on-site assistance,– TA providers’ use of different coaching methods, and– training and supports available to TA providers;
  • a summary of interview study results; and
  • recommendations for strengthening and documenting QRIS technical assistance and coaching.

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