Editor’s Note: With the school year in full swing, formal program assessments are once again underway. Preparing for assessments such as the ECERS-R, ITERS-R, FCCERS-R, SACERS, PAS, BAS, and/or CLASS can be a source of anxiety for administrators. The McCormick Center will publish blogs during November to give administrators tips and resources to help them prepare for a program quality review.
NINE TIPS ADMINISTRATORS REALLY NEED TO KNOW
In some states, basic participation in assessments is becoming mandatory, not optional. Are you ready? Early childhood professionals are feeling the pressure to document learning outcomes for the purpose of continuous quality improvement (CQI). This assessment visit will differ greatly from any other compliance or licensing visit that programs have received in the past. Therefore, there is an understandable amount of stress related to having your program assessment.
The Environment Rating Scales (ERS) are comprehensive and internationally tested for reliability and validity. These tools look at space and furnishings, personal care routines, listening and talking, activities, interaction, and program structure. Below are the different types of ERS:
- Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R): A thorough revision of the ECERS, designed to assess group programs for preschool-kindergarten aged children, from ages 2–5.
- Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R): A thorough revision of the ITERS, designed to assess group programs for children from ages 0–2 ½.
- Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised (FCCERS-R): A thorough revision of the FDCRS, designed to assess family child care programs conducted in a provider’s home.
- School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale (SACERS-U): An updated version of the SACERS designed to assess before and after school group care programs for school-age children ages 5–12.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your ERS visit:
- Purchase copies of the scales for your classrooms and have a copy on-hand of All About the ECERS-R and All About the ITERS-R.
- Provide your staff with access to the scale for advance preparation of the assessment day.
- Set aside time for teachers to review and reflect on items in the scale.
- Be aware that typically the Lead Teacher of each observed classroom will need to take part in an interview after the assessment.
- Be prepared to provide a relatively private space as well as staff coverage for approximately 30 minutes.
- Have classroom identifying information ready as stated on top of the scoring sheet.
- Take time for yourself and your staff to review the Playground Information safety sheet.
- Be prepared to provide information on children who have individualized education programs or receive special needs services.
- If an infant sleeps on his/her stomach, a physician’s note must be provided prior to assessment.
Preparing for your assessment using the tips above will help you and your staff feel less overwhelmed. Are you interested in reading more about the ERS? Here are some additional resources:
- Environment Rating Scales Institute
- Ordering information for the scales, All About ECERS-R, and All About ITERS-R
- Four tips to prepare documentation for an assessment
- Environment Rating Scale Tip Sheets
What ERS assessment preparation tips do you have to share? Post them in the comments section below. If you enjoyed this post, help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Kia L. Hill is an Assessor and Training Specialist at the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University. Prior to joining the McCormick Center, Kia worked for many years as a site director of a NAEYC accredited Head Start program. Kia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For assistance in preparing for the assessment visit, contact your local CCR&R.