One of the options programs have for quality assessment in Keystone STARS is the Environment Rating Scales (ERS). There are two important companion documents that programs should become familiar with to understand how best practice is assessed using the ERS tools – the authors’ Notes for Clarification and the PA Position Statements.
The ERS authors’ Notes for Clarification can be found in the scale book and updates can be found on the Environment Rating Scale Institute website. Each ERS tool has its own Notes for Clarification which provide more guidance for determining if the expectations of a quality indicator are met. The PA Position Statements provide additional scoring guidance and align ERS expectations for high quality practices with Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Certification Regulations and other Pennsylvania program specific expectations. Input from multiple sources including the ERS authors, DHS Certification, OCDEL, and other experts was considered in the creation of the PA Position Statements. They can be found on the PA Keys website.
The PA Position Statements are periodically reviewed and updated. New revisions to the PA Position Statements reflect the revised STARS framework and updates to the ERS Notes for Clarification. Additionally, PA Position Statements for the ECERS-3 have been newly created to provide the same level of guidance for this ERS tool.
Programs that choose to use the ERS tools should utilize the updated PA Position Statements and appropriate ERS Notes for Clarification when conducting self-assessments to maximize the accuracy of their work. The Notes for Clarification and the PA Position Statements are also important resources when reviewing ERS Summary Feedback Reports from a PA Key Program Quality Assessor. Whether you are moving-up or maintaining STAR 3 or STAR 4 designation, the Notes and Position Statements can support your understanding of assessment feedback and your growth planning. For more information, contact your local Early Learning Resource Center.