Research and reports

Children learn more during the first five years than at any other time in life. The National Quality Framework (NQF) aims to improve the educational and developmental outcomes for children attending education and care services, and promote continuous improvement in service quality. On this page you will find research and reports relevant to the NQF.

Acecqa – The Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority

NQF Evaluation Framework

NQF Evaluation Framework

The NQF Evaluation Framework was developed so that governments and their regulatory agencies have an agreed way of understanding whether and how the NQF is meeting its objectives.

NQF Evaluation Framework - Program Logic model

Key NQF evaluation questions and sub question

ACECQA research and evaluation strategy

ACECQA's research and evaluation strategy (2021-24) sets out our approach to research and evaluation under the NQF.

NQF Snapshots

NQF Snapshot Q3 2021

View current and previous NQF Snapshots, which provide an overview of the Australian children’s education and care sector, including the progress and results of quality assessment and rating against the National Quality Standard (NQS).

NQF Annual Performance Report

NPAP report

ACECQA’s fourth annual performance report analyses fundamental aspects of the NQF, including children’s health and safety, educational program and practice, children from vulnerable and disadvantage backgrounds, and the sector workforce. It also considers the impact of COVID-19 and natural disasters on the children’s education and care sector.

See all Annual Performance Reports.

Occasional Papers

ACECQA publishes a series of occasional papers on different aspects of the NQF.

Quality improvement research project

Quality improvement research project

A report detailing findings from research commissioned by ACECQA on the drivers of quality improvement, conducted by Macquarie University, Queensland University of Technology and Edith Cowan University in 2019.

The research focused on long day care services that had improved their overall quality rating. It identified practices supporting of quality improvement in educational program and practice and governance and leadership.

An information sheet has been developed to support providers, service leaders, educational leaders and educators in all service types.

Quality improvement research project report

Practical ideas to support continuous quality improvement information sheet

Quality Support Program (NSW Department of Education/ACECQA)

Evaluations of Quality Support Program - NSW Department of Education

Early findings from the Quality Support Program

Supporting Quality Improvement in Education and Care


Stage 2 findings from the Quality Support Program

Supporting Quality Improvement in Education and Care
Findings from the Quality Support Program


Education and care sector research

Regulatory Burden Reports

To monitor changes in perceptions and experiences of regulatory burden between 2013 and 2015, ACECQA undertook a three stage longitudinal study. ACECQA conducted a fourth regulatory burden study in 2017.

Results from the 2017 and 2018 surveys are available in the National Partnership Annual Performance Reports.

Operational Activity Report

Operational Activity Report

As part of our ongoing commitment to openness and transparency, we make information publicly available about our operational functions including the number of Excellent rating applications received and awarded, and how many second tier review and qualification assessment applications we have received.

View the most recent ACECQA operational activity data including applications by month, location and outcome. The information is updated quarterly.

NQF foundation and review documents

National Quality Framework reviews

National Quality Framework foundation

Approved learning frameworks update

Approved learning frameworks foundation

Disability Standards for Education reviews

Disability Standards for Education foundation

Child Care in Australia reports

Australian Early Development Census (AEDC)

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) Resources

Spotlight reports – topics covered include early childhood teachers, inclusive education, initial teacher education, the value of the teaching profession, professional learning for rural, regional and remote teachers, and early career teacher induction and attrition rates.

Initial Teacher Education Data reports – annual data reports providing key insights into the future of teaching.

Australian Teacher Workforce Data reports – annual data reports examining the national initial teacher education pipeline and workforce characteristics.

Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) Resources

Tried and Tested evidence guides - AERO produces Tried and Tested evidence guides for educators and teachers, including a number focused on early childhood education and care. Topics covered include executive function and self-regulationearly literacy and early numeracy

Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) Resources

Strategic reviews - ASQA’s strategic review program examines serious systemic risks to Australia's vocational education and training (VET) sector. Topics covered include Training for early childhood education and care in Australia, 2015.

Focus on compliance - Spotlight On series - topics covered include trainers and assessors, assessment and assessment validation.

Starting Strong reports (OECD)

Starting Strong VI (2021) – Supporting Meaningful Interactions in Early Childhood Education and Care
Starting Strong: Mapping quality in Early Childhood Education and Care​ (2021) Interactive platform supporting the study and measurement of factors shaping quality in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings
Quality Beyond Regulations in ECEC Country Background Report – Australia (2021)
Providing Quality Early Childhood Education and Care (2019) Results from the Starting Strong Survey 2018
Engaging Young Children (2018) – Lessons from Research about Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care
Starting Strong 2017 (2017) – Key OECD Indicators on Early Childhood Education and Care
Starting Strong V (2017) – Transitions from Early Childhood Education and Care to Primary Education
Starting Strong IV (2015) – Monitoring quality in early childhood education and care
Starting Strong III (2011) – A quality toolbox for early childhood education and care
Starting Strong II (2006) – Early Childhood Education and Care
Starting Strong I (2001)

Report on Government Services

ACECQA collaborates with state and territory governments and other agencies on the early childhood education and care chapter of the annual Report on Government Services (RoGS) produced by the Productivity Commission.

ACECQA submissions

Families Research

Families Qualitative Research Project 2018

Families Qualitative Research Project 2018 (Hall & Partners Research)

Results of qualitative research, undertaken in the first half of 2018, exploring themes including influences on parents and carers’ decision‑making processes for selecting a service and feedback on Starting Blocks.

Families Research Project Pilot Study 2014 (Hall & Partners Research) 

Results from ACECQA’s families research (2017, 2018 and 2019) are available in the NQF Annual Performance Reports.

Guidelines for seeking ACECQA’s support with research and evaluation activities

ACECQA welcomes and encourages high quality research that contributes to the NQF evidence base. Please read these guidelines and complete the application form if you are seeking our support for, or participation in, research and evaluation activities.