Rating Scales

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Maryland EXCELS has developed the following two self-assessments to help participants achieve Quality Rating 3 requirements.

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 

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:

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.

Explore free E-books and Webinars by Teachstone about CLASS here.

Order the Pre-K Class Dimensions Guide from Teachstone here.


BAS/PAS

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:

  • McCormick Center for Early Leadership:
    • BAS for Family Child Care Providers
    • PAS for Child Care Centers and School-Age Programs