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 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 three video presentations below about how to use the Environment Rating Scales.

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. CLASS provides an objective, consistent measure of teacher-child interactions, from supporting cognitive development to connecting with children individually.

  • CLASS is valid and proven to predict child outcomes.
  • Maryland EXCELS uses CLASS to assess programs that request an assessment and for quality rated 5 programs that are due an assessment.
  • School-age child care settings will continue to use the School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale (SACERS).

Visit the following link to learn how Maryland EXCELS is using CLASS.


Explore Teachstone’s free eBooks and webinars about CLASS.

Interested in a greater understanding of classroom interactions and how they impact learning? Check out the CLASSDimensions Guides from Teachstone.


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