January 30, 2020
The Environment Rating Scales (ERS) and Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) are valid and reliable assessment tools designed for evaluating program performance and guiding program improvement. Family Child Care Providers, Child Care Centers, and School-Age Programs use Environment Rating Scales to monitor, measure, and improve program performance.
Environment Rating Scales Self-Assessments during COVID-19
During this time, Maryland EXCELS is unable to provide the Environment Rating Scales (ERS) assessment books to child care programs. You can find ERS assessment books for about $25.00 each, through Kaplan, ERS Institute, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers.
If you have questions or concerns about conducting your self-assessment at this
time, please contact your Quality Assurance Specialist who will provide additional guidance.
You are encouraged to watch the 3 video presentations about how to use the Environment Rating Scales below.
Environment Rating Scales
Find instructions for downloading the video presentations here.
Presentations on Environment Rating Scales
- Presentation 1: Maryland EXCELS and the Environment Rating Scales (Video)
- Presentation 2: Conducting Your ERS Self-Assessment (Video)
- Presentation 3: Scoring Your ERS Self-Assessment (Video)
The Environment Rating Scales identify a program’s areas of strength and areas needing improvement in the following categories: Physical Environment; Basic Care; Curriculum; Interaction; Schedule and Program Structure; and Parent and Staff Education. There are four scales, each designed for a different program type or age group:
- The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) is designed to assess group programs for preschool-kindergarten aged children, from 2 through 5 years of age.
- The Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R) is designed to assess group programs for children from birth to 2 ½ years of age.
- The Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised (FCCERS-R) is designed to assess family child care programs conducted in a provider’s home.
- The School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale (SACERS) is designed to assess before and after school group care programs for school-age children, 5 to 12 years of age.
For more information on ERS, visit:
Classroom Assessment Scoring System
The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) measures classroom interactions in three broad domains: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support. Maryland EXCELS Head Start programs, Public Prekindergarten, and Preschool for All classrooms use the CLASS assessment tool to monitor, measure, and improve program performance.
Programs and providers who have achieved an Overall Check Level Rating of 3 must use the form below to request an onsite visit from an MSDE-approved ERS or CLASS assessor. Accredited programs should contact their Program Coordinator or review the Maryland EXCELS Guidebook for information regarding CLASS and ERS assessments.
The Business Administration Scale (BAS) for Family Child Care Providers and the Program Administration Scale (PAS) for Child Care Centers and School-Age Programs are reliable tools that identify and measure best administrative practices. BAS and PAS assessments are not required for Maryland EXCELS participation, however, programs wishing to receive the Quality Business Practice Achievement must complete the BAS or PAS program.
For more information on BAS and PAS, visit: