YoungStar Formal Ratings

A formal rating is a chance to receive thorough feedback on the high quality practices in your child care program and earn a 4 or 5 Star YoungStar rating. A formal rating includes an in-class observation from a trained Environment Rating Scale (ERS) Observer, who assesses the quality of the program’s environment using the ERS scales.

 

Contact Us!

For more information or if you have a specific question not addressed here, reach out to the Formal Rating Team at ERSrating@supportingfamiliestogether.org

Who is eligible for a formal rating?

Programs attempting to achieve a 4 or 5 Star rating must participate in a formal rating (unless the program is accredited by one of these bodies).

3 Star programs are now eligible to participate in formal ratings! This opportunity allows 3 Star rated programs to receive the valuable feedback provided from a formal rating and be recognized for the hard work that has gone into creating high-quality practices. And when the time comes to try for a 4 or 5 Star rating, program staff will know what to expect from the formal rating process. Under this new option, 3 Star programs are no longer required to be attempting to earn a 4 Star rating in order to receive a formal rating.

 

Why receive a formal rating as a 3 Star program?

  • Take the next step in your journey of Continuous Quality Improvement
  • Be recognized for meeting high-quality practices that can only be verified through a formal rating
  • Receive thorough feedback about your program including areas of strength and opportunities for improvement
  • Experience the formal rating observation without pressure to “pass” – you will be prepared when the time comes to try for a 4 or 5 Star rating
  • You will not be required to receive an off-year Rating with ERS Observation if your program meets all the requirements for Star level and ERS cut-off scores
  • If met, each of the first 5 High-Quality Practices will be displayed beside your Star rating in Child Care Finder

What is a formal rating like?

Many providers reports feeling nervous before their observation – and we get it, being observed sounds intimidating. But almost everyone who undergoes a formal rating tells us their nerves were the worst part, and the observation was not nearly as scary as they expected. The ERS Observer simply wants to see what happens on a typical day in your program, and how staff interact with children.

You will have time to prepare your program for your observation with the help of your Technical Consultant, and you are encouraged to review the ERS scales so you understand exactly what the ERS Observer will be looking for.

Before the observation your ERS Observer will call you to introduce themselves. You will not know the exact date the observer plans to come, but together you will set a four-week “window” when the rating can take place. The day of the observation, the ERS Observer will be onsite for about 3 ½-5 hours.

What to expect from your ERS Observer

Several weeks after the observation, you will receive your score and a detailed final feedback session. This is the most valuable part of the formal rating process, as it provides you with an unbiased view of your program’s strengths and areas where you may still have room to improve.

High-Quality Practices

During the formal rating process, YoungStar Quality Coaches check for each of the following High Quality Practices:

To earn a 4 Star rating, programs must demonstrate at least 4 of the 7 High-Quality Practices (as well as meeting all 4 Star eligibility criteria).

To earn a 5 Star rating, programs must demonstrate at least 5 of the 7 High-Quality Practices (as well as meeting all 5 Star eligibility criteria).

 

  1. Have curriculum aligned with Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards/School-Age Curricular Framework
  2. Have individual child portfolios
  3. Demonstrate intentional planning to improve individual child outcomes
  4. Utilize developmental screening
  5. Track child outcomes
  6. Staff have taken social emotional/inclusion training
  7. Staff have taken Strengthening Families Through Early Care and Education with Mandated Reporter training

Review the scales

Your program will be scored using the appropriate scale below. Select the tab that represents your child care program to learn more about the scale.

 

Family child care providers are observed using the FCCERS (Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale), created by the Environment Rating Scales Institute (ERSI).

 

Explore the family child care scale:

NOTE: YoungStar is currently transitioning from the Revised Edition Rating Scales to the Third Edition Rating Scales. Ask your TC to confirm which scale will be used during your formal rating.

Family child care providers being evaluated using the 2019/2020 Evaluation Criteria are observed using the FCCERS-R (Revised Edition).

Introduction to FCCERS-R

FCCERS-R Clarification of Terms document    |    en Español

Wisconsin Interpretation of FCCERS-R    |    en Español

Supplementary materials for FCCERS-R

Family child care providers being evaluated using the 2020/2021 Evaluation Criteria are observed using the FCCERS-3 (Third Edition).

Introduction to FCCERS-3

FCCERS-3 Clarification of Terms document    |    en Español

Wisconsin Interpretation of FCCERS-3    |    en Español

Supplementary materials for FCCERS-3

 

Transitioning to FCCERS-3?

If your program has previously been rated using FCCERS-R, these guides can help you understand what’s different in the new Third Edition scales.

Making the Switch to FCCERS-3

Preparing for the Switch to FCCERS-3

 

Group child care classrooms with children aged 0-2 years (35 months) are observed using the ITERS (Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale), created by the Environment Rating Scales Institute (ERSI).

 

Explore the group child care scale, age 0-2:

NOTE: YoungStar is currently transitioning from the Revised Edition Rating Scales to the Third Edition Rating Scales. Ask your TC to confirm which scale will be used during your formal rating.

Group child care classrooms being evaluated using the 2019/2020 Evaluation Criteria with children birth through 30 months are observed using the ITERS-R (Revised Edition).

Introduction to ITERS-R

ITERS-R Clarification of Terms document

Wisconsin Interpretation of ITERS-R

Supplementary materials for ITERS-R

Group child care classrooms being evaluated using the 2021/2022 Evaluation Criteria with children birth through 2 years (35 months) are observed using the ITERS-3 (Third Edition).

Introduction to ITERS-3

ITERS-3 Clarification of Terms document    |    en Español

Wisconsin Interpretation of ITERS-3    |    en Español

Supplementary materials for ITERS-3

 

Transitioning to ITERS-3?

If your program has previously been rated using ITERS-R, these guides can help you understand what’s different in the new Third Edition scales.

Making the Switch to ITERS-3

Preparing for the Switch to ITERS-3

Group child care classrooms with children aged 3-5 years are observed using the ECERS (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale), created by the Environment Rating Scales Institute (ERSI).

 

Explore the group child care scale, age 3-5:

NOTE: YoungStar is currently transitioning from the Revised Edition Rating Scales to the Third Edition Rating Scales. Ask your TC to confirm which scale will be used during your formal rating.

Group child care classrooms being evaluated using the 2019/2020 Evaluation Criteria with children 2 ½ through 5 years of age are observed using the ECERS-R (Revised Edition).

Introduction to ECERS-R

ECERS-R Clarification of Terms document

Wisconsin Interpretation of ECERS-R

Supplementary materials for ECERS-R

Group child care classrooms being evaluated using the 2021/2022 Evaluation Criteria with children 3 through 5 years of age are observed using the ECERS-3 (Third Edition).

Introduction to ECERS-3

ECERS-3 Clarification of Terms document    |    en Español

Wisconsin Interpretation of ECERS-3    |    en Español

Supplementary materials for ECERS-3

 

Transitioning to ECERS-3?

If your program has previously been rated using ECERS-R, these guides can help you understand what’s different in the new Third Edition scales.

Making the Switch to ECERS-3

Preparing for the Switch to ECERS-3

School-age child care programs are observed using the SACERS-U (School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale, Updated), created by the Environment Rating Scales Institute (ERSI).

 

Preparing for your Formal Rating

The goal is always for you to feel well prepared to receive your formal rating. Your Technical Consultant will provide you with necessary documents and work with you to identify areas you want to focus on strengthening before the rating occurs.

We recommend you prepare for your rating by familiarizing yourself with the ERS Scale, reviewing the documents provided by your Technical Consultant, reading testimonials from programs who have undergone a formal rating before, and making sure you have asked your Technical Consultant any lingering questions you have.