Spark Alternate Evidence Clarifications Are Here!

Spark! Oregon’s Quality Improvement System (QIS) for family and center-based childcare programs, is now easier to use and more accessible to all with the recent release of the Alternate Evidence Pathways from The Teaching Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University.

Creating the portfolio to become Star-Rated is a big project. TRI staff has been working to make this important quality improvement process manageable.  These Alternate Evidence Pathways are the response to valuable feedback from previous Spark! cycles and are available for use right now. If you have not received this notification, the information you need is right here!

    Alternate Evidence’s purpose is to:

  • Simplify and streamline documentation of some Spark standards

  • Offer programs options on how to document practice for some Spark standards

It is important to note that the standards of Spark! have not changed. Programs must still work toward meeting the standards. What has changed is now programs can submit their evidence of meeting the standards the usual way listed in the portfolio, or they can use the Alternate Evidence forms to demonstrate how they meet the quality improvement standards in other ways by using the Alternate Evidence forms for documentation.

Not all of the Standards have the Alternate Evidence possibility.  TRI created the Alternate Evidence option based on input and research, selecting the standards that would ease accessibility without affecting quality. The table below shows the included standards and the reasoning for the change:   

         Standard

Reasoning for Alternate Evidence

PQ 1-5 Professional Qualifications for providers and staff to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, recognizes quality work in progress, lets programs identify their aides’ qualifications, eliminates PD plans, and simplifies documentation of ethical commitment.

The Alternate Evidence option has always existed for family childcare. Additional challenges identified during the field test extended this to Center Care and beyond PQ!

LD 2- Implementation of Curriculum

Programs can authentically describe how their curriculum addresses the age groups represented in their programs and streamline the evidence, reducing the workload on programs without compromising the integrity of Spark.

AB Domain

The QRIS process evaluation study indicated that the vast majority of programs passed the AB domain. This data gives us confidence that expanding alternative evidence to this domain will not compromise the integrity of our system. Additionally, the benefit of this change will mean that programs will no longer need to compile evidence, saving them considerable amounts of time.

How can you access the Alternate Evidence forms as well as other Spark! info?  Several Ways….

For those new to Spark! or getting ready to fill out an application, the Alternate Evidence forms come with your Welcome Kit White Box that is sent when you apply. The above contacts can connect you.