Investigating Quality (IQ) Project

For the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.2, quality is central:  “By 2030 ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education…”

SDG 4.2 is recent (2016), but some scholars have explored issues of quality Early Childhood Education, Care and Development (ECCE/ECD)  for decades. One such exploration is the Investigating Quality (IQ) project that initiated a fundamental re-formation of how quality in early childhood care and education is understood and operationalized at a provincial/state (or country) level. This website provides an overview of the multiple-systems approach taken by the IQ project and successes and challenges to date.


Although the specific origin of the Investigating Quality (IQ) project was a request received from the Ministry of  Children and Family Development (MCFD) of the British Columbia, Canada government in January 2005, the experiences and thoughts that most influenced its approach were evident by 1992, at a by-invitation scholarly workshop entitled ‘Quality Child Care in International Perspective’ which was held in Seville, Spain. As an invitee, I (Pence) opened my presentation entitled ‘Quality Care: Thoughts on R/rulers’ with: “I am interested in not only the small ‘r’ ruler, or how we attempt to measure quality, but also the capital ‘R’ Ruler, or who defines what it is that will be measured.”

Those thoughts subsequently influenced the development of an edited volume that Peter Moss and I co-edited and published in 1994, Valuing Quality in Early Childhood Services. That volume began with: “The starting point for this book is that ‘quality’ in early childhood services is a relative concept, not an objective reality”.

Valuing Quality was followed by the co-authored volume Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care, (Dahlberg, Moss & Pence, 1999) which, given its 3 editions and translation into 14 languages, has tapped into a broad set of interests, and concerns, regarding how ‘quality’ and child care are understood and addressed globally.


Launching IQ

Given this background, the 2005 invitation to explore and seek to operationalize these ideas with a provincial-level government was an opportunity not to be missed. For details about the IQ strategy and activities undertaken to re-form British Columbia’s approach to ECCE, click here.  For a list of the publications that either influenced or describe aspects of the IQ, click here.