Environment Rating Scale Assessment Project

Environment Rating Scale Assessment Project

Susan Hegland
Melissa Wagner

  • The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scales are nationally recognized tools used to assess and improve the quality of child care programs.
  • Early Childhood Education programs applying for a level five in Iowa’s Quality Rating System will receive Environment Rating Scale assessments. Programs must achieve an average score of 5.0 on each observed classroom to attain a QRS 5 star rating.
  • All programs assessed will receive a feedback report for each observed classroom. The reports contain valuable information to use towards quality improvement in areas such as health and safety, program structure, teacher-child interactions, activities, language, space and furnishings, parent communication and staff development.
  • Funded by Iowa Department of Human Services

Project participant information

The Environment Rating Scale Assessment Project is part of Iowa’s Quality Rating System. Early Care and Education programs working towards achieving a 5 star rating will receive an Environment Rating Scale assessment. The program must score an average of 5.0 on each observed classroom assessment to receive their level 5 rating. 

What is an ERS assessment?

  •  A trained assessor, through Iowa State University, will complete an assessment on the requested program by using the appropriate Environment Rating Scale (FCCERS-R, ITERS-R, ECERS-R, or SACERS). The assessment consists of a 3- 3 1/2 hour observation followed by a 15- 20 minute oral interview clarifying a typical day and discussing items not observed.
  • Center-base programs requesting an assessment must have at least 1/3 of all classes assessed and at least one from each rating scale (ITERS-R, ECERS-R, and/ or SACERS).
  • Child Development Homes will be assessed on the FCCERS-R.
  •  In order to receive an assessment the child development home owner or center-based director, supervisor, or principal must complete the appropriate ERS training. Click here to learn more about the Environment Rating Scale Training Project.

To learn more about the Environment Rating Scales, visit the ERS Institute. If you would like an assessment, please call the Environment Rating Scale Assessment Project office at (515) 294-7875. Please call at least one month in advance to reserve a date(s) for an assessor to visit your program. Keep in mind our busiest time of the year occurs from February - May. 

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