Developmental Environment Rating Scale (DERS)

What is the DERS?

The DERS is a classroom observation tool which measures qualities such as patience and persistence in children, precision and clarity in lessons, and order in the environment, which support the development of executive functions, literacy, and social-emotional learning. DERS is separated into two levels: early childhood and elementary. DERS is a 1-hour timed observation and conducted via an iPad app.
DERS encompasses five domains:

  1. Initiation/Concentration
  2. Inhibitory Control
  3. Working Memory
  4. Linguistic/Cultural Fluency
  5. Social fluency & emotional flexibility

The DERS consists of 60 items in three observation categories:

  • Child Behaviors
  • Adult Behaviors
  • Environmental Attributes

Which program(s) could use the DERS?

DERS can be used in group or center-based programs. It measures quality of learning environments of children ages 3-12 years. The DERS was designed with programs who operate under a Montessori philosophy in mind. Although designed initially for Montessori programs, many of the concepts are universal and can easily be transferred to early childhood and early elementary environments.

The DERS Assessment Process

External DERS assessments are conducted by a reliable DERS assessor from the Program Quality Assessment (PQA) team. The DERS is a 1-hour timed observation that is conducted via an iPad app.

Internal DERS assessments are conducted by the program’s internal assessment team. Programs partner with the Quality Coach and PQA team when planning for and conducting internal assessment, and when analyzing the information collected during the internal assessment process.

How does the DERS support Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)?

The information gathered from a DERS assessment can be used by a program to help identify positive teacher interactions, as well as areas for improvement.

Additional Information/Training

Additional information can be found on the DERS ( website.

Are you interested in using the DERS for internal assessment?

How to Conduct an Internal Assessment Using the DERS (PDF) is a good place to start. It provides an at-a-glance of the assessment details, a list of materials to support internal assessments, links to professional learning resources, and step-by-step guidance for conducting the internal assessment.


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