top of page

Contact ERSI

We are here to help with your Environment Rating Scale training needs.

Thank you for your message! For any scale-based inquiries, please email us at

Girl Coloring
  • What are the Environment Rating Scales (ERS)?
    There are four Environment Rating Scales (ERS): ECERS: Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale ITERS: Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale FCCERS: Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale SACERS: School Age Care Environment Rating Scale Through observation, the ERS assess the quality of childhood education, which directly impacts child development and outcomes. The scales have proven reliability and validity. If you integrate feedback from an ERS assessment, you will improve the quality of education because the scales address: inclusivity and diversity, building positive relationships, protecting children's health and safety, providing appropriate learning opportunities, and fostering social and emotional development for children, along with many other important developmental needs of children. Join us for an ERSI training and see why we're the leading training organization for the ERS and why the Environment Rating Scales are the best tools for improving quality in early childhood settings, resulting in higher developmental outcomes for children. ERSI is the only author-authorized training organization for the ERS. ERS® and Environment Rating Scale® are registered trademarks of Teachers College, Columbia University.
  • What is ERSI?
    The Environment Rating Scales Institute (ERSI) provides training, data collection, and review services related to use of the Environment Rating Scales (ERS). Trainings take place either in Chapel Hill, NC, or by special arrangement, in other areas. There are also many virtual options. We are the only author-authorized trainers for the scales.
  • I'm confused by all these acronyms (ECERS, ITERS-R, FCCERS-3, SACERS-U, etc.). What do they mean?
    Great question! The acronyms are: ECERS: Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale ITERS: Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale FCCERS: Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale SACERS: School Age Care Environment Rating Scale If the scale has an "R" or a "U" at the end (ex: ECERS-R, SACERS-U), its the revised or updated, second edition. If a scale has a "3" at the end of it, it's the 3rd and latest edition of the scale.
  • Where can I buy the scales?
    You may purchase the Environment Rating Scales online at: Teachers College Press Kaplan Early Learning Company Amazon ERS® and Environment Rating Scale® are registered trademarks of Teachers College, Columbia University.
  • Why use the ERS?
    The ERS are designed to assess process quality in an early childhood or school age care group. Process quality is what children directly experience in their programs that has a direct effect on their development, including the various interactions that go on in a classroom between staff and children and among the children themselves, and the interactions children have with the many materials and activities in the environment, as well as those features, such as space, schedule and materials that support these interactions. Process quality is assessed primarily through observation and has been found to be more predictive of child outcomes than structural indicators such as staff to child ratio, group size, cost of care, and even type of care, for example child care center or family child care home (Whitebook, Howes & Phillips, 1995). The scales also examine other less directly experienced quality which are more structural, such as staff provisions, parent participation and information, and interactions among adults. The scales view child development from a comprehensive, or global, point of view, examining a wide variety of areas that all contribute to positive children development. In order to provide care and education that will permit children to experience a high quality of life while helping them develop their abilities, a quality program must provide for the three basic needs of all children: Protection of their health and safety Supporting and guiding social/emotional development Opportunities for intellectual and language stimulation and appropriate learning activities No one component is more or less important than the others, nor can one substitute for another. It takes all three to create quality and education. Each of the three basic components or quality manifests itself in tangible forms in the program’s environment, curriculum, schedule, supervision and interaction, and can be observed. These are the key aspects of process quality that are included in our environment rating scales. The ERS define environment in a broad sense and guide the observer to assess the arrangement of space both indoors and outdoors, the materials and activities offered to the children, the supervision and interactions (including language) that occur in the classroom, and the schedule of the day, including routines and activities. The support offered to parents and staff is also included. All of the ERS have been developed in close collaboration with realistic field-based sites. They have good inter-rater reliability and validity, thus making them suitable for research and program evaluation, as well as program improvement efforts.
  • What's the ERS software offered through Branagh?
    Good question! The ERS software offered through our partner, Branagh Group, is used to conduct and automatically score ERS assessments. Their ERS Data System provides the information and tools that you need to conduct and accurately score ERS assessments. Whether your focus is providing technical assistance or conducting high stakes assessments, the ERS Data System can save you time and improve the quality of your assessment process. To learn more about using the ERS Data System, please visit the Branagh Group's website.
  • What's the difference between the 2nd edition (R's) and the 3rd edition scales?
    There are many improvements between the revised second editions of the scales (ECERS-R, ITERS-R, and FCCERS-R) and the 3rd editions (ITERS-3, ECERS-3, FCCERS-3). Please see below a few documents outlining the differences for the ECERS, ITERS, and FCCERS scales or visit our Scales page to learn more.
  • I have a question not answered here. Who do I contact?
    If you do not find your question listed, please send the question to To help expedite the process, when asking a question about one of the rating scales, please remember to include the item(s) and/or indicator(s) related to your question. If you have specific questions about training sessions related to the scales, please contact Vanessa McCullough at
  • How do I sign up for a training?
    It's simple! Visit our trainings page to sign up for all our current virtual or in-person offerings. Want to set up a personalized training for your team that works for you and your employees? It's simple! To set up your own custom training, please send Vanessa McCullough ( We look forward to working with you!
  • How long are trainings?
    Good question -- It depends on the training. Our introductory webinars are three hours long. We offer several of these each year for every scale. Please learn more here. If you're a beginner that would like to earn a certification, you must attend an in-person training, which includes 1 day of introductory training and 4 days of guided observations followed by debriefing sessions by a certified ERSI trainer. We offer custom in-person trainings [insert link] at any location and prescheduled in-person trainings throughout the year in Chapel Hill, NC. For experienced users that have participated in an in-person or virtual introductory training, we recommend doing 4 days of in-person guided observations followed by daily debriefing sessions through an official ERSI training in Chapel Hill or a custom training at the location of your choice. Those seeking recertification, may also earn it by participating in a 4-day training in Chapel Hill or a custom training at your location. Please contact us to book any one of these trainings!
  • What are the costs of trainings
    The cost varies based on in-person vs virtual introductory trainings. Please see our trainings page for full details. Group discounts are available.
  • Why should I sign up for an ERSI training?
    With over 20 years of experience, ERSI is the only author-approved training agency for the ERS. We offer thorough, hands-on, expert ERS reliability trainings by ERSI certified trainers. Whether you're a beginning or a long-time user of the ERS, ERSI can help meet all your training needs. Contact us to learn more.
  • What training should I sign up for?
    Great question! That all depends on your experience level with the Environment Rating Scales. Keeping in mind that individual states might have their own requirements, we generally recommend: -Beginner user: ERSI live virtual introductory courses -Beginner user interested in becoming a certificated reliable user of the ERS: 5-day in-person training (custom or in Chapel Hill) -Intermediary/Familiar user: Custom in-depth training (in-person or virtually) -Intermediary/Familiar user interested in becoming a certified reliable user of the ERS: 4-day in-person reliability training (custom or in Chapel Hill) **To view all of our training options, please visit our trainings page. If you are unable to attend or schedule a live virtual introductory training with ERSI, please consider Branagh Group's on-demand virtual 101 introductory courses on the ECERS, ITERS, and FCCERS.
  • How do you develop and maintain reliability in a system of assessment?
    Good question! Many states and other groups that are using the Environment Rating Scales (ERS) need to train large numbers of people to reliability. However, training a large group to reliability is a substantial task, requiring days of work, and a commitment of staff as well as resources. The following represents the plan to be used in “high stakes” observations (those observations where ERS scores are used to determine a program’s status or funding). We suggest training a core group to reliability with the authors of the scales and their associates. Often this might be a group of 6-8 people, but in some cases, is a larger group of up to 25 people. Other less costly (in terms of commitment and resources) training, for very large groups of people who do not do high stakes observations, for example, those who deliver technical assistance on the scales, can also be provided, but this can not substitute for the training to reliability procedure that is described below. Note: This plan must be implemented separately for each of the different scales in the ERS series. Reliability on one scale is not an indication of reliability on any other of the scales. Training to Reliability 1. Initial training of a core of assessors, who will later be able to train others. A period of 5 days training by at least one author, with the author’s associates, is required. The first day of training is classroom lecture in which the scale is introduced, and includes the following topics: What the scale is measuring How the scale measure the three basic components of quality The meaning of the scale scores Understanding reliability and validity of the scales Accurate scoring procedures Introduction to basic interpretations of terms used throughout the scale Observation procedures that are required for reliable use of the scale Days 2 through 5 consist of mornings spent in doing independent observations with a small group of participants, led by a group leader with proven reliability and experience in training others to reliability. The afternoons are spent in debriefing sessions in which participants compare scores, and work to come to a correct consensus score through explanations of interpretation by the group leader as well as consideration of all evidence observed in the morning’s observation. As a result of the five-day training, all participants are expected to have improved reliability scores, with at least one person usually found to be reliable. Acceptable reliability is defined as having 85% agreement (within one point) with the consensus scores. Reliability for any one observation is calculated by dividing the number of correct (within one point) scores by the number of items completed during the observation. Scores of N/A are counted in the calculation of reliability. An individual’s reliability is based on the average of the three most recent reliability scores received. For example, if a person scored reliabilities of 75, 85, and 95, across the last three observations, the reliability would be the average of the three, or 85%. As a newer reliability score is added to the person’s reliability history, the oldest score is dropped, and the newest added, so that the last three reliability scores are always used. No official assessments should be completed by an observer who does not have a reliability average of 85%. However, new people can be trained (or a non-reliable assessor can be retrained) by a reliable assessor during official assessments. 2. Completing reliability training for all participants Since acceptable reliability will generally not have been attained by all participants in the 5-day training, it is necessary to continue training. This is done by having the observer (or observers) who reached the acceptable reliability level continue to do observations and debriefing sessions with the remaining observers. This is continued until all participants have reached the acceptable level of reliability. 3. Establishing one or more “state anchors” for establishing statewide reliability and completing reliability checks across the state Usually, the state anchor for reliability is the most consistently reliable observer. It is the responsibility of the state anchor to: Communicate with the ERS authors for clarification on interpretation when needed Communicate clarifications to all assessors in a state Complete reliability checks on observers throughout the state. One check is completed every 10th observation on a scale, until the observer being checked has reliability scores consistently, of 90% or above. High reliability observers require less frequent checks. Those who fall below the level of 85% require more frequent checks, until their reliability is consistently at or above 85%. 4. Maintaining reliability, expanding the reliability check system, and training new observers to meet acceptable reliability standards Observers who have consistently high reliability scores of 90% or above are considered to be Level 1 observers. Level 1 observers can take on the responsibility of checking the reliability of others who have lower reliability scores. Those with lower reliability scores or those being trained ate called Level 2 observers. In addition, they can provide the training during practice observations followed by debriefing. The anchor then takes on the task of checking Level 1 Observers, and checking a sample of level 2 observers.
  • Who is authorized by the authors to provide training on the environment rating scales?
    Only ERSI-certified trainers are authorized by the authors of the ERS to provide training for the ITERS, ECERS, FCCERS, and SACERS scaes. In the past years there has been an extraordinary increase in the use of the Environment Rating Scales (ERS). This has been greatly due to continuing research that ties higher environment rating scales scores to better child development in a broad range of areas that are considered necessary for success in our society. Throughout the United States, and internationally as well, the Environment Rating Scales are now heavily used for both program quality assessment and improvement. This has resulted in an increase in training on the scales. Training is provided to early childhood and school-aged care practitioners, professionals who deliver technical assistance to encourage quality improvement, and to assessors who evaluate program quality for licensing, quality rating systems, or research purposes. Training on the scales has always varied in scope and accuracy, which until the late 1990s caused few concerns. Researchers using the scales were never held accountable for individual scores, and the ERS are robust as research instruments, allowing a certain amount of error while still providing meaningful results. When used in program improvement efforts, or informal assessments, the exactness of scores was not considered important. Under these conditions, many people provided training on the scales, but too often training has provided incorrect information and procedures, weakening the relationship between scale scores and child outcomes. In the late 1990s, with the advent of “high-stakes” scale use in quality rating and improvement systems, tiered reimbursement systems, rated licensing systems, and other consumer awareness efforts, the necessity for extremely reliable and accurate scale use has increased dramatically. Official assessors in high-stakes systems must be trained correctly to use the scales according to the authors’ interpretations and procedures required to maintain high levels of reliability to ensure fair and accurate observations across the system. Since accurate and correct training on the ERS is a necessity under high-stakes conditions, the authors are the only people authorized to provide training on the scales for these purposes. We realize that others may indicate that they are appropriate trainers under these conditions, but in too many cases agencies who have used unauthorized trainers, have run into difficulties because the scales have not been used properly resulting in practitioner confusion, unrealistic scores for programs, lack of fairness across a system, and no relationship between scale scores and desirable outcomes for children. The ERS authors have had to retrain too many improperly trained assessors, after the fact, and have also needed to give advice on how to help ineffective quality rating system to be improved. Only ERSI-certified trainers are authorized by the authors of the scales to provide accurate and quality training on the ERS.
  • How do the scales help advance equity for all children?
    From the very beginning of the development of the ECERS (published by Teachers College Press in early 1980), the authors were focused on issues of equity. The original version of the scale was heavily influenced by a commission of NAEYC that resulted in the Developmentally Appropriate Practice Position Statement (and later book by the same name). The work of the commission did a wide analysis of the literature on children’s development and programs serving young children. Advancing equity has been one of the key elements of the work of NAEYC. In the mid-1970s when we began working on the ECERS there were some very basic aspects of early childhood programs that we were concerned about. As we tested our first versions it became clear that there were very few images of a diverse population of children or adults present in the classrooms we observed. There were few if any traditions of Black families, much less of other children of color. In our early studies, the item on cultural awareness was clearly the lowest scoring item. Incidentally, the item on Provisions for Exceptional Children was rarely scored with an indication that no such children were in the classrooms. We were also concerned about the simple inclusion of children of color or special needs children in the everyday activities. Our first official field test of ECERS was on a small sample of classrooms selected from the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, in and near Chapel Hill. These programs were identified with the assistance of NC’s state child care consultants who monitored all child care programs in the state. We tried to recruit programs identified by the consultants as of low, medium and high quality based on their experience. The small sample size did not allow us to select a truly representative group of programs or classrooms so we chose to get variability of observed quality to ensure that we could validly claim that the new scale would work across the full spectrum of quality. In the end we did have a diverse set of programs, although we did not collect data on race and ethnicity of either the children or staff in the programs. In the development of subsequent editions, we were able to collect much larger samples from our own research and that of others and use that data to inform needed revisions. For ECERS-3, we analyzed ECERS-R data from some 8,000 classrooms which included the full range of programs in the US. In one particularly important study, authors Peg Burchinal and Debby Cryer looked specifically at the impact of quality on children of color and found that outcomes for minority and low-income populations were particularly sensitive to the level of quality in early childhood programs. We interpret that to mean that what we are measuring in the ERS instruments is of critical importance as we seek to eliminate the gaps in outcomes we currently see in various segments of our population. In this same vein, the ERS instruments, especially ECERS, have been translated for use in many other countries with widely varying types and varieties of programs. There are formal publications of ECERS in about 20 countries, including the UK, Scandinavian countries, Russia, Ukraine, China, Germany, Iceland, and Japan. There are also many other translations for use in research that are not formally published in such countries as Bangladesh, Brazil, and Turkey. We have found that what we are measuring is seen by early childhood professionals around the world as core to good practice for all children even though we may be at different places along the continuum of quality.
  • Can the scales be used in classrooms that are exclusively for children with disabilities?
    We continually get the question about whether the ECERS-3 (and the other scales) are appropriate for use in classrooms that are exclusively for children with disabilities. First, we must consider the important idea that children with any types of disabilities are CHILDREN FIRST. It is our duty to provide them with the least restrictive environment for each child in the group. The children are likely to have a range of abilities, but all deserve the most natural high quality environment that can be provided. So the ECERS-3 can help to ensure that. Next, the scale can be used to judge whether each requirement is met based on the developmental abilities of the children in the group. If an indicator, for example, requires that the teacher attempt to get a child to say something, it would only apply to the children who can talk at the expected level. For all others, the assessor would adjust expectations to match children’s developmental needs. So credit would be given if the intent of the indicator was met within what was possible based on the developmental abilities of the children in the group. What we have seen in too many classrooms that are segregated to include only children with developmental disabilities is that the children are often restricted in areas that do not really make sense. And each child is not given the specialized help needed to take advantage of a less restrictive environment as a child in an inclusive environment would be. Too often children’s experiences are provided as a therapy in an environment where generalizing the desired ability is not likely. The ECERS-3 helps programs identify such problems and helps us question whether the practices in our segregated classrooms are actually representative of what the modern early childhood special education field provides the base for what children with disabilities need for their most successful development. Obviously children with mild to severe disabilities need something extra that goes beyond what typically developing children need. There are assessments that look at that, such as the Inclusive Classroom Profile by Elena Soukakou, published by Brooke’s but such assessments are supplementary to use of the ECERS-3. It is written for inclusive classrooms but examines practices that should actually be applied to all children, especially those with disabilities.
  • How long should the observation period be? Can it be done over the course of several days?
    The scales were designed to be used during an observation period of 3 hours. Depending on when the children arrive and when they go down for a nap, this can vary somewhat. The assessor will complete his/her observation first, then he/she interviews the caregiver (if using the Revised versions) for about 30 additional minutes to answer some questions (omit for 3rd edition scales). It would be possible to do the observation in shorter periods over the course of several days; however; the scores may not be reliable. In many ways the scales are time samples - to see whether things happen frequently enough for them to make a developmental difference to children. That is why for some items there are places where it specifies that the requirement must be observed at least once, or perhaps more, during the observation. If a teacher is given three different opportunities on three different days to show that behavior, it may be given credit, while if the observation had been done in only one morning, it might not.
  • What is the correct diaper-changing process?
    Preparing for Diapering To minimize contamination outside the diaper changing area, prepare for a diaper change before bringing the child to the changing table, by having ready: • Changing table paper (if used) to cover the table from the child’s shoulders to feet (in case it becomes soiled and must be folded over to create a clean surface during the change) • Enough wipes for the diaper change (including cleaning the child’s bottom and the child’s and teacher’s hands after taking the soiled diaper away from the child’s skin) • A clean diaper, plastic bag for soiled clothes and clean clothes (if soiled clothing is anticipated) • Non-porous gloves (if they will be used), and a dab of diaper cream on a disposable paper towel if cream is being used Supplies should be removed from their containers and placed near, but not directly on, the diapering surface before starting the diaper change. Diapering Procedure 1. Prepare for diapering (as indicated above). 2. Place the child on diapering table. Remove clothing to access diaper. If soiled, place clothes into a plastic bag. 3. Remove soiled diaper and place into a lined, hands-free trash container. (To limit odor, seal in a plastic bag before placing into trash container.) 4. Use wipes to clean child’s bottom from front to back. 5. Use a wipe to remove soil from adult’s hands. 6. Use another wipe to remove soil from child’s hands. 7. Throw soiled wipes into lined, hands-free trash container. 8. Put on clean diaper and redress the child. 9. Place the child at the sink and wash hands following the proper handwashing procedure. 10. Clean and sanitize the diapering surface by spraying it with a soap solution (detergent and water) and drying surface with a disposable towel. Follow this by spraying the diapering surface with bleach-water solution and wait for at least 2 minutes before wiping with a disposable towel or allow to air dry. The surface cannot be sprayed and immediately wiped, nor can the two spraying steps be done together. 11. Adult washes hands using the proper handwashing procedure without contaminating any other surfaces. Additional precautions • The diapering surface must be sanitized after each diaper change with a bleach-water or other approved sanitizing solution (all surfaces must be able to be sanitized- e.g., no quilted pads or safety straps, no containers that are stored on the diapering surface). The bleach-water solution must be allowed to stay on the surface for at least 2 minutes, to kill the germs. So it is best for staff to spray the surface as the last step of the diapering procedure before washing their own hands. After the time lapse, the surface can be dried (no additional handwashing required at this time) or allowed to air dry (and wiped dry if still damp) before use with another child. • Diapers are disposed of in a hands-free covered can (usually one than has a step pedal that lifts the lid) to prevent further contamination of surfaces. • Toys that are played with or objects that are touched while children’s diapers are changed must be put aside to be washed and sanitized. • Note: Both child’s and staff’s hands must be washed after the diapering procedure is complete. From All About the ECERS-R (2003), Cryer, Harms, and Riley, Kaplan Publishing (a Kaplan Learning Co.) Based on the requirements in “Caring For Our Children.”
  • Are anti-bacterial gels or hand sanitizers, or wipes an acceptable substitute for handwashing?
    Hand wipes are not acceptable substitutes for thorough handwashing with liquid soap and warm running water except under special circumstances when a disposable wipe may be used in order to avoid injury (e.g., a newborn baby with very little head control; a very heavy baby with little body control). The use of hand sanitizers has recently been approved by Caring for Our Children, third edition, for use by children aged 2 years or older and for caregivers, but only when hands are not visibly soiled. There are specific requirements which must be met to count as acceptable handwashing or hand hygiene. See New Notes for Clarification in each scale. Otherwise, hands must be washed under all other conditions.
  • How compatible are the scales with Montessori philosophy?
    We often have questions inquiring about the suitability of using the Environment Rating Scales in Montessori programs. This is an issue pertinent to all programs with a strongly focused philosophy. The scales are based on a comprehensive, broad-based definition of quality in early childhood programs. This definition has three major components: protection (health and safety), building relationships (social-emotional development, independence, discipline, interaction, etc.), and stimulation through hands-on activities (nature/science, language, math, art, sand/water, gross and fine motor activities, etc.). These scales have been used in a wide variety of programs, including many Montessori programs, Reggio (including those in an Italian study of quality), High Scope, as well as those following NAEYC guidelines. We have found that quality rests on how well the program meets the three major components of high quality early childhood programs, rather than on the program's philosophy. However, it is true that a program's philosophy or chosen curriculum usually focuses more on one aspect of quality than another. When an accurate, knowledgeable assessment is made with the scales, program strengths and weaknesses usually become apparent. Thus, a program that values creativity above all else may find that it needs to concentrate more on cleanliness and organization in order to strike a good balance. Similarly, a program that stresses social development may find that it needs to pay more attention to cognitive skills, or vice versa. Montessori programs differ widely in the extent to which they adhere to the original Montessori philosophy, and in their inclusion of art, dramatic play, and blocks along with their traditional materials. Montessori staff also have varying educational backgrounds. The Early Head Start study included a number of Montessori programs, and the directors of that project discussed how to use the scales to score the Montessori programs accurately. Giving credit for some traditional Montessori activities in the ERS categories such as water play, dramatic play, and block play, because of the materials involved, is not appropriate. For example, the Montessori daily living activities (such as table washing) are performed as isolated activities following a set pattern, and not in the context of dramatic play initiated by the child. The validity of calling such an activity "dramatic play" which is meaningful pretend play in which children take on roles and act out what they understand about the world, is not appropriate, since it has a very different purpose and may result in quite different learning. Programs that consistently apply the Montessori method often do very well on many of the items on the scales, especially in the activities section of the ECERS and in the language items. Since the Environment Rating Scales are comprehensive or global measures of process quality, they measure how well all programs, no matter what their philosophies emphasize, meet children's needs in a variety of ways.
  • Can I score higher-level indicators if lower-level ones have not been met? For example, can a room get credit for any indicators under 5 if it does not meet all the requirements of 3?
    Under some circumstances, an observer may want to give a score (Yes or No or NA) to all indicators at all levels. This is especially useful when completing an observation for the purpose of providing technical assistance. In this case, even though the number score remains the same, technical assistance staff can use information gathered at the higher levels to show a teacher what is already being done in a classroom to move towards a higher score. But remember, even if many indicators are true at a higher level, indicators scored at a lower level of quality may still determine the quality level score. In order to move from one level of quality to the next, all criteria for the lower level must be met before moving on to the next level. Ratings are assigned in the following way: Yes is checked on the score sheet if the indicator is true for the situation being observed. No is marked if the indicator is not true, and NA is marked if the indicator is not applicable and does not count in scoring. When scoring an item, always start reading from 1 (inadequate) and progress upward until the correct quality score is reached. A rating of 1 must be given if any indicator under 1 is scored Yes because these indicators describe inadequate care. A rating of 2 is given when all indicators under 1 are scored No and at least half of the indicators under 3 are scored Yes. A rating of 3 is given when all indicators under 1 are scored No and all indicators under 3 are scored Yes. A rating of 4 is given when all of the requirements for 3 are met and at least half of the indicators under 5 are scored Yes. A rating of 5 is given when all the requirements of 3 are met and all indicators under 5 are scored Yes. A rating of 6 is given when all requirements of 5 are met and at least half of the indicators under 7 are scored Yes. A rating of 7 is given when all requirements of 5 are met and all indicators under 7 are scored Yes.
  • In the ITERS when it defines ages for “infant” and “toddler,” do we use the actual age or the developmental age?
    The actual age of the children is used as the primary determinant of the scores. However, as stated in the ITERS-R under the “Explanation of Terms Used Throughout the Scale,” an exception to this rule is applied when a child with a disability is enrolled. In this case, the necessity for a requirement will depend on the child's abilities and disabilities. For example, if a child has a speech/language disability and does not have limited physical abilities, then many requirements would still apply, such as for certain furnishings or activities that are not speech/language related.
  • Can the ECERS be used to measure quality in a kindergarten setting?
    Yes, the ages covered are 2 ½ through 5, preschool/kindergarten age. Co-author Dick Clifford, with a number of colleagues at UNC, at UCLA and at UVA, conducted a large-scale study of pre-kindergarten programs in six states, which was extended to an additional five states. In this study ECERS-R data were collected in approximately 240 pre-k classrooms in 2001-02. They have followed these children into kindergarten, and have also used the ECERS-R in more than 750 classrooms the sample children attended. The ECERS-R seems to work quite well in these settings as it has in previous studies of kindergarten programs. The reports of the state supported Pre-K programs are available at The ECERS-3 should have similar positive outcomes. Some time ago, Dr. Clifford did a study (with Donna Bryant and Ellen Peisner-Feinberg) of public kindergartens in North Carolina with a randomly selected sample of about 100 kindergarten classrooms. They used the original version of the ECERS. Again, they made slight adjustments in the Scale to fit with the public school setting, and the Scale worked well. [Bryant, D.M., Clifford, R.M., & Peisner, E.S. (1991). Best practices for beginners: Developmental appropriateness in kindergarten.American Educational Research Journal 28 (4), 783-803] As a result of these two large research projects, we feel that the ECERS-R and ECERS-3 can be used for work with kindergarten evaluation and program improvement efforts.
  • Do you provide a Crosswalk between the ECERS-3 and the CLASS?
    We are aware that there has been some attempt, although inaccurate, at a crosswalk between the ECERS-3 and the CLASS; however, we believe that the idea of a crosswalk between the two measurement tools is problematic. It creates a misleading simplification because even if a word is present in both scales, it does not necessarily measure the same thing. Using the same word, as shown in Teachstone's Crosswalk of the two measures, does not necessarily determine what either scale actually measures. A good example of this can be seen in just one example of what the Teachstone Crosswalk says the ECERS-3 measures, contrasted with what is actually in the scale. Description: Displays are mostly child-related, appropriate, eye-level and talked about. Actual ECERS-3 content for child-related display: -Displayed materials are developmentally appropriate -Photos of the children are displayed -Display related to the current topic of interest in the classroom -Display includes child-created work, including individualized artwork and 3-dimensional creations -Staff talk about the displays in a way that interests the children, informally during free play and / or routine care times -Staff point out and read words in the display in a way that interests the children You can see that most of what is represented in the ECERS-3 in this item is left out based on the interpretation in the Teachstone Crosswalk. Furthermore, the larger problem with completing a crosswalk is that, even if the content is actually the same across two measures (i.e. the same words are used in both scales), then a crosswalk still does not provide information to help users determine whether the measurement of those "words" is dependable. For example, is a evaluation that is done when using the scales as written mean the same thing across programs and different observers? Can all observers understand what the words mean in the same way and follow procedures to complete observations that are equally accurate across programs? A crosswalk does not indicate whether the requirements are actually observable in the setting. It does not show whether the requirement can be explained well enough for two observers to understand it and measure it in the same way. It does not show the extent to which observers need to be trained to reliability in the field in order to complete assessments that are fair across all programs and observers. Finally, a crosswalk does not show whether the sampling procedure used in a particular scale fully represents all of the children's experiences. If a scale's sampling procedure does not reflect a comprehensive picture of what children experience, then the results of the measurement might not be generalizable or dependable. All in all, crosswalks are meant to be useful to scale users, but unfortunately, they most often are an oversimplification or even a blatant misrepresentation of what a particular scale has to offer. Regrettably, the Teachstone Crosswalk between the CLASS and ECERS-3 is just such an example.
bottom of page