Research & Evaluations

Quality Start Los Angeles (QSLA) is Los Angeles’ (LA) county-wide Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) designed to empower early learning providers to build upon and improve the quality of care they provide to children birth to five.

Like the early learning providers who participate in QSLA, we are driven by the desire to continuously evaluate and improve the quality of the offerings we provide. Our goal is to share the processes, reports, and data on the elements of QSLA we have evaluated, as well as the ways we have modified our collective-impact model as a result of these findings.

QSLA Online Coaching Evaluation (2020-2021)

In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Quality Start Los Angeles (QSLA) – LA County’s Quality Rating and Improvement System – sought to support early learning providers in its network with the best possible adaptations to a new remote-work environment.

To this end, QSLA leadership invested in the video-based TORSH online coaching software. Coaching partners Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles (CCALA) and Child360 collaborated with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) to implement online coaching in the second half of the 2020-2021 academic school year. To document efforts to scale up this county-wide program and to measure its success, Child360 conducted an evaluation focusing on participants’ experiences, approaches, successes, and lessons learned.

The evaluation focused on:

The experiences of teachers and coaches who took part in online coaching.
What the work of an online coach looked like.
Technical challenges of online coaching.
Ways to support novice online coaches.

Data collection activities included:

Online survey of QSLA teachers.
Online survey of QSLA coaches.
A focus group with online coaches.
Semi-structured interviews with online coaches.

Results from the evaluation will be used to inform onboarding procedures for novice online coaches, the needs of teachers, and online coaching best practices.

Key takeaways:

In general, QSLA coaches felt comfortable using TORSH and alternative methods for online coaching.
Teachers and coaches shared a positive relationship in an online environment.
Teachers needed additional support at the start of the program.
To best support novice coaches, it is important to provide a wide range of learning materials and opportunities to practice online coaching.

Online Coaching Evaluation Resources:

Final Report: Evaluation of QSLA’s Implementation of Online Coaching

Virtual CLASS Assessment Pilot (2020-2021)

On March 13, 2020, Quality Start Los Angeles (QSLA) determined that all Quality Counts California (QCC) rating assessment visits should be suspended due to the state-wide COVID-19 shutdown orders.

QSLA recognizes the importance of supporting teachers in continuing to create environments where high quality teacher-child interactions occur, despite COVID-19 changes to the classroom, therefore the QSLA Assessment Committee discussed options for how to complete such an assessment.

In June 2020, the UCLA Center for Improving Child Care Quality (CICCQ), with the support of QSLA Assessment Committee, began to develop the idea for carrying out virtual CLASS assessments, using teacher’s recordings of their classroom interactions as an alternative to in-person observations.

Read the full report below to learn more about the planning, research, and the lessons learned while conducting this Virtual CLASS Assessment Pilot.

Click here to access the “QSLA (LACOE) Virtual Assessment Pilot Report by CICCQ 2.2.2021″

QSLA Developmental Evaluation (2019 – 2020)

In November 2018, First 5 LA contracted with the RAND Corporation to conduct a developmental evaluation of selected QSLA components. The primary goal of the developmental evaluation is to generate real-time, actionable information that will inform modifications to the QSLA model and/or implementation as it is expanded in L.A. County. The research is being conducted in two waves, with the project expected to be completed by June 30, 2020.

The evaluation focuses on:

  1. The assessment process and assessment technical assistance
  2. QRIS tier ratings
  3. Coaching

Data collection activities include:

  • Administrative data analysis
  • Focus groups with QSLA providers, coaches, and assessment technical assistance providers
  • Interviews with QSLA stakeholders
  • Landscape analysis of non-QSLA early childhood coaching agencies in L.A. County that also serve QSLA providers
  • Online survey of QSLA providers
  • Observations of coaching sessions

Throughout the ongoing developmental evaluation, emerging results and recommendations are provided to QSLA stakeholders as they work to build a sustainable quality improvement model for L.A. county.

At the end of the study, RAND will prepare a public final report, a research brief, and public presentations that detail the developmental evaluation process, findings, and recommendations.

Key takeaways:

Developmental Evaluation Resources

QSLA Formative Evaluation (2017)

In 2017, QSLA contracted with Juárez and Associates, in collaboration with Gary Resnick, Ph.D., to conduct a formative evaluation to understand experiences and perceptions of providers participating in a prior QRIS and/or QSLA, the level of collaboration between implementing partners, and QSLA’s family engagement models and outcomes.

The evaluation focused on:

  1. Site quality, tier rating distribution, and trends
  2. QRIS provider experiences & perceptions (current participants and non-participants)
  3. Collaboration and partnership among implementation partners of QSLA consortium in order to measure the perceived quality of the working relationship between partners
  4. QSLA’s family engagement models and outcomes

Data collection activities included:

  • Administrative data analysis
  • Focus groups of providers
  • Interviews with implementation partners, family engagement providers, and coaches
  • Literature reviews
  • Online survey of QSLA coaches, providers, and implementation partners

The results of the the provider perception study were used to improve the QSLA orientation, assessment and rating processes, coaching supports, professional development offerings. The results from the collaboration study were used to refine the governance structure, communications methods, and data sharing agreements. Finally, the results of the family engagement study served to enhance QSLA’s family engagement strategies in accordance with best practices.

Formative Evaluation Resources

QSLA Process Evaluation (2016)

In 2016, QSLA contracted with Helen Chavez Consulting Group to conduct a process evaluation designed to obtain input from QRIS administrative agencies and California State Preschool Program (CSPP) administrators about QSLA’s implementation.

The evaluation focused on:

  1. The enrollment of CSPP providers
  2. The incentives QSLA offers to participating providers
  3. The collaborative process between QSLA implementation partners

Data collection activities included:

  • Administrative data analysis
  • Focus groups with CSPP Program Directors
  • Interviews with QSLA Leadership Team members
  • Online survey of CSPP Program Directors

The results of the process evaluation informed improvements in QSLA’s approach to provider onboarding, enrollment, incentives, and collaboration amongst QLSA implementation partners.

Key takeaways: