All About the Environment Rating Scales

Useful ERS® Resources

Check out the 2018 Bright & Early ND Environment Rating Scales® (ERS®)  Training Opportunities!

 Using the ERS® Tools in Center-Based Programs
 Using the ERS® Tools in Family and Group Programs
January 4th - Fargo - 6 pm-9 pm
January 11th - Fargo - 6 pm-9 pm
February 3rd - Bismarck - 8:30 am-11:30 am
February 3rd - Bismarck - 12:30 pm-3:30 pm
February 8th - Grand Forks - 6 pm-9 pm
February 15th - Grand Forks - 6 pm-9 pm
March 3rd - Fargo - 8:30 am-11:30 am
March 3rd - Fargo - 12:30 pm-3:30 pm
March 21st - Minot - 6 pm-9 pm
March 22nd - Minot - 6 pm-9 pm
April 9th - Bismarck - 6 pm-9 pm
April 10th - Bismarck - 6 pm-9 pm
May 3rd - Fargo - 6 pm-9 pm
May 10th - Fargo - 6 pm-9 pm
September 19th - Minot - 6 pm-9 pm
September 20th - Minot - 6 pm-9 pm
October 13th - Bismarck - 8:30 am-11:30 am
October 13th - Bismarck - 12:30 pm-3:30 pm
October 18th - Grand Forks - 6 pm-9 pm
October 25th - Grand Forks - 6 pm-9 pm
November 3rd - Fargo - 8:30 am-11:30 am
November 3rd - Fargo - 12:30 pm-3:30 pm
November 7th - Minot- 6 pm-9 pm
November 8th - Minot - 6 pm-9 pm

New for 2018!

Bright & Early ND is transitioning to the updated versions of the Environment Rating Scales®. Please see details below on potential timelines that may impact your program.

January 1st -June 30th, 2018: Transition Phase

Preschool and Center-based programs will have the option to use the following Environment Rating Scales®:

  • Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale®, Third Edition (ITERS-3) UPDATED VERSION!
  • Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale®, Revised Edition (ITERS-R)
  • Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale®, Third Edition (ECERS-3) UPDATED VERSION!
  • Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale®, Revised Edition (ECERS-R)

Please note, the Bright & Early ND sponsored trainings, listed above, will support the updated versions of the Environment Rating Scales®.

July 1st, 2018: Implementation Update

Preschool and Center-based programs that are applying to participate in the July 2018 cohort and beyond will receive observations using the updated Environment Rating Scales® (ITERS-3 and ECERS-3) only.

What are the Environment Rating Scales® (ERS®) and what do they measure?

The Environment Rating Scales® are a set of tools. They define environment in a broad sense and guide the arrangement of space both indoors and outdoors; the materials and activities offered to the children; the supervision and interactions (including language) that occur; and the schedule of the day (including routines). For more information about the Environment Rating Scales®, please visit the Environment Rating Scales® Institute website.

How were the Environment Rating Scales® (ERS®) developed? Can I trust these tools?

The principal authors worked at the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute, one of the nation’s largest and most respected centers for studying young children and their families. In addition to being scientists, all of the authors have had experience in child care settings.  No one person can develop a tool like the ERS® alone, so the authors rely heavily on feedback from focus groups, pilot child care sites using the tools, researchers around the world, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, USDA, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The ERS® have undergone extensive testing and research. The tools are both reliable and valid.  In addition, the ERS® are used around the country in every state and internationally in England, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Canada, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Russia, Iceland, Portugal, England, Spain, Austria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Hungary and Greece.

Can I do a practice Environment Rating Scale® (ERS®) observation?

Absolutely! Bright & Early will work with your program to find a date that works best. After your practice observation has been completed, your Coach will review your summary report details with you, and help you set up a continuous quality improvement plan. Taking advantage of the practice observation allows you to make changes as needed and feel prepared for your final Quality Rating observation.

The thought of an ERS® observation scares me. How can I overcome this?

It’s normal to be scared. In fact, it’s weird not to be a little nervous! Use your feelings to your advantage by being well prepared. Consider these tips to prepare for your observation

In Preschool and Center licensed programs, how are classrooms selected for an observation?

When Bright & Early ND is conducting your practice observation, classrooms can be chosen at the Program Director's discretion. When Bright & Early ND is conducting your actual observation, classrooms are randomly selected for each ERS® observation. A chosen representative from your program will randomly draw a classroom name out of a jar on the morning of your observation. There must be at least one witness present to verify that the classroom was randomly selected.

Will the Environment Rating Scale® work in my program? Family Child Care is different from Center Child Care.

All children need the same things regardless of where they spend their day. WHAT children need does not change. HOW children get what they need may vary by the setting in which they are enrolled. Each setting is unique. That’s why we use 3 different versions of the Environment Rating Scale®, each designed for a different segment of the early childhood field.

Some of the things in the Environment Rating Scale® seem unrealistic. I’m not sure I can do all of this. Help me!

Perfection is not required. The ERS® is not measuring what you do, but what a child needs! It was purposely designed to be flexible. Sometimes, there may be areas you can’t or don’t want to change- and that is okay. The ERS® are based on a scoring system of 1-7. Every item won’t score a “7”. Debby Cryer, one of the authors of the ERS®, is fond of saying, “You should be willing to take your ones.” The intent is for you to choose which areas are of value to you and focus your energy on being excellent in those particular areas. Avoid the tendency to feel like you are supposed to achieve perfection in all areas. Instead, reflect on the components that are of most value to you. As you go through the ERS®, ask yourself the “why” question. "Why is it important for children to have . . . [whatever criteria is being requested]?"

How do Bright & Early ND Assessors stay consistent? 

To keep our commitment to be fair and accurate in all of the observations we do, the Bright & Early ND Team use the 3 documents below to stay consistent from one observation to the next. We’re posting these documents in case you find yourself wondering, “how do they interpret that”?  However, they can be pretty overwhelming, so we suggest referencing them only as questions arise regarding specific items.

North Dakota Clarifications for ITERS-R™
North Dakota Clarifications for ECERS-R™
North Dakota Clarifications for FCCERS-R™

On occasion we also contact the authors of the tools for further clarification. We have compiled all of their responses into one document that helps guide consistency as we move forward.

Environment Rating Scales® Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 911 KB) will hopefully help you understand the "How's and Why's" of the decisions behind the score.

In addition to the documents above, we also rely on the Notes for Clarification and the All About ERS® books (written by the ERS® authors). Collectively, these tools help our trained Assesors keep our commitment to you- to be fair and accurate in our observations.

What if the observation score doesn't meet the threshold needed to become Quality Rated at Step 2?

Your average program score to become Quality Rated needs to be a minimum of 4.0 per tool. If you scores do not reflect at least a 4.0 you can apply for the next cohort to try again.