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Information about the Environment Rating Scales

As many of you are aware, the NC star rated license began in 1999 to enhance the care and education received by children attending licensed child care programs. Child care providers attempting to earn 3, 4, or 5 points in the Program Standards component of the NC star rated license can voluntarily request their program to be assessed using the Environment Rating Scales. The role of NCRLAP is to conduct valid and reliable assessments using the rating scales-with the aim of providing meaningful information that can be used to improve child care quality across North Carolina.

The four Environment Rating Scales measure both process and structural quality, for different segments of the early childhood field.


Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) - This scale is designed to assess group programs for children of preschool through kindergarten age, 2½ through 5. (43 items)

Family Day Care Environment Rating Scale (FDCRS) - This scale is designed to assess family child care programs conducted in a provider's home. (40 items)

Infant and Toddler Environment Rating Scale Revised (ITERS-R) - This scale is designed to assess group programs for children from birth to 2½ years of age. (39 items). Starting September 1, 2003, the revised edition of the ITERS-R replaced the ITERS for all assessments of infant/toddler classrooms.

School-Age Children Environment Rating Scale (SACERS) - This scale is designed to assess group-care programs for children of school age, 5 to 12. (49 items)

NC Additional Notes
    It is strongly recommended that program staff examine the Additional Notes for Clarification of the rating scales. To do this, please select one of the following links: (Please use the free Adobe Reader to read these pdf files.)
NC Additional Notes: ECERS-R (Oct 2007)
NC Additional Notes: FDCRS (Oct 2007)
NC Additional Notes: ITERS-R Original Edition (Oct-06)
NC Additional Notes: ITERS-R Spiral Bound (Oct 2007)
NC Additional Notes: SACERS (Oct 2007)
    These notes provide additional information for the Environment Rating Scales so that participants in the assessment portion of the North Carolina star rated license may correctly interpret and score items found within the scale. A primary aim for the notes is to further define or explain requirements of certain items to improve interrater reliability or consistency among assessors working with the North Carolina Rated License Assessment Project (NCRLAP).

Participants in the NC star rated license system should be aware of the following:
• The NC Additional Notes are updated (approximately) every 6 months and NCRLAP assessors conduct assessments using the most current notes. Child care professionals are encouraged to download and use the most current version of the notes from

• NCRLAP assessors use only the NC Additional Notes and, due to modifications and additions that occur over time, the NC Additional Notes differ from notes provided by the scale authors at Frank Porter Graham. Participants in the NC star rated license should replace older notes with the current NC Additional Notes.

The NC Additional Notes were compiled and further developed by members of the NCRLAP’s management team, especially by our state anchors, anchor advisors, and (non-staff) expert advisors. On September 1, 2003, with permission from Debby Cryer and Thelma Harms, the Additional Notes for Clarification for the ECERS-R, ITERS, ITERS-R, FDCRS, and SACERS were retrieved from the Frank Porter Graham website ( and used for the basis for the NC Additional notes. Since then, NCRLAP has made modifications and additions to the notes as described below.
  USDA Meal Guidelines

Please review the following USDA meal guidelines:

--USDA Meal Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers
--USDA Meal Guidelines for Children Ages 1 to 12 years

Some reasons why the scales are used in North Carolina
      1. Reliable and valid instruments with many uses; including:
-- Program enhancement
-- Regulation
-- Research

2. Observation based classroom assessment

3. Comprehensive coverage e.g., physical environment, language-reasoning, interactions, program structure, health and safety

4. Range of quality scores are easy to understand
1 = Inadequate (dangerous for children)
3 = Minimal (basic care)
5 = Good (developmentally appropriate care)
7 = Excellent (best quality care)
How to purchase the Rating Scales or related materials?
    If you want additional copies of the Environment Rating Scales or want to purchase any publications related to the Scales, visit the publisher's website: Teacher's College Press.
Learn more about the use of the Rating Scales from the scale authors and FPG


    To learn more about the use of the Rating Scales, such as its use in research or training, we recommend that you visit the scale author's website at: