Environment Rating Scales

One way that programs can earn points in the QRS is by completing Environment Rating Scale (ERS) training, self-assessments, improvement plans, and  program assessments.  These scales are used to assess the quality of a child care program. These scales have been shown to be valid and reliable, and are used in many Quality Rating Systems throughout the United States.

There are four Environment Rating Scales:
  • Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) – designed for classrooms for children ages 2 ½ - 5.
  • Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS) – designed from classrooms for children from birth – 2 ½ years.
  • Family Day Care Rating Scale (FDCRS) – designed for home programs.
  • School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale (SACERS) – designed for classrooms for children ages 5 – 12.

Environment Rating Scale Training

During the ERS training, child care providers learn about the scale and complete an assessment of their own program.  Providers are required to attend four, two-hour sessions for a total of 8 hours of training.  Training is hands-on and very interactive.  Brief, practical assignments are required after each session to assure that providers understand the scales and how to apply the information to their programs. 
For information about training in your area, contact your regional Child Care Resource and Referral agency.  This contact information is available on the resources page. More information about class content is on the Iowa State University website listed on the tools and resources page.

Environment Rating Scale Assessments

Once the provider has completed the ERS training and has made needed improvements to their program, they may request an ERS assessment.  The assessments are completed by assessors who have completed rigorous training and have shown that the scores they give programs match that of other assessors.  Assessors are required to complete on-going training and checks to assure that the scores providers receive are consistent throughout the state.  For information about having an assessment completed, contact your regional QRS specialist.  The contact information is available on the how to apply page.