Answering All of Your Environment Rating Scale Questions

Well, probably not all of them…

As we begin a new year of trainings, it seems like the perfect time to review some of the more general guidelines regarding the Environment Rating Scale Trainings and Assessments. Below are questions we receive most often.

When will the ITERS-3 be out? Is there a FCCERS-3?

The ITERS-3 (Infant/ Toddler Environment Rating Scale, 3rd edition) is currently available to purchase. It was published July 2017. Right now there is not a FCCERS-3, but we assume the authors are working on this next.

When will ITERS-3 assessments begin? 

The process for implementing ITERS-3 will be similar to ECERS-3. The ERS Assessors and ERS Training Coordinator will be trained to reliability by the Environment Rating Scale Institute, curriculum will be developed, ERS Instructors and CCR&R consultants will be trained, and then ITERS-3 trainings will be offered to providers. After ITERS-3 trainings have been offered for a certain amount of time, we will start offering programs the choice of ITERS-R or ITERS-3. This is a fairly lengthy process. The goal is to offer ITERS-3 trainings in fiscal year 19. Be looking for more information on ITERS-3 later this year.

Is there an All About ECERS-3?

The authors and their team are currently working on the development of the All About ECERS-3. The authors create the All About books based on information and questions received from the field using the tool.

If a program chooses to be assessed on the ECERS-3, what scale should 2 year old rooms use? 

Programs may now choose to use the ECERS-3 for assessments. If a program chooses to be assessed on the ECERS-3, 2 year old rooms will be assessed on the ITERS-R. If programs are still using the ECERS-R, the majority rule applies for 2 year old rooms. If the majority of children are older than 30 months, ECERS-R will be used. If the majority of children in the 2 year old room are younger than 30 months, the ITERS-R will be used.

How can a program prepare for an assessment? 

  • Take an ERS class. If it has been a number of years since taking an ERS class, we encourage providers to retake the class; especially if the scale has been revised.
  • Work with a CCR&R consultant
  • Work jointly with a colleague and/or consultant for accurate self-assessment of interactions and language.
  • Create an improvement plan.
  • Review the “Ready, Set, Go” brochure and video:

How many assessments are completed in a center-based program? How do programs know which rooms will be assessed?

For center-based programs (Child Care Centers, public preschools, Head Start, etc.) at least 1/3 of the total classrooms or groups of children (i.e. sessions, classes) must be observed and at least one group per scale (ITERS, ECERS, SACERS) as applicable to the program.  For example, a child care center with 10 rooms, infants through school-age, will have 4 assessments: one ITERS room , one ECERS room, and one SACERS room. The fourth assessment will be selected from the remaining classrooms. If the program is preschool only, with 5 sessions, at least two of those sessions will be chosen. This means, a teacher may be observed twice if they have multiple sessions (i.e. a Monday-Wednesday afternoon group and a Tuesday-Thursday  morning group).

All classrooms or groups are selected at random on the day of the observation. If the program operates different days and times, the assessor will randomly select the class to observe ahead of time. The program will only be informed of the date and time of the assessor’s arrival, and not the actual class.

How long is the wait for an assessment?

Assessors strive to have all assessments scheduled within 90 days of the request. Depending on the time of the year, an assessor might be able to schedule a program with one week. During the busiest times of the year, programs may have to wait 1-2 months. Assessors are typically busiest April through May and October through November.

How long does it take to receive the assessment feedback reports?

Feedback reports must be sent to programs within 30 days; however assessors strive to have all feedback reports to programs within 2-3 weeks. Every assessment report goes through a review process to ensure feedback is accurate and thorough.

What ERS classes will be offered online for fiscal year 18?

  • FCCERS-R in October
  • ITERS-R in November
  • SACERS in January
  • ECERS-3 in February
  • The fifth online ERS class will be offered in April. The scale chosen will be based upon greatest need.

Phew! You made it through and you may still have questions. As always, please, do not hesitate to ask!

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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