Child Care Assessment Program Training and Quality Assurance
The Child Care Report Card law mandates that every child care center and family/group home that is licensed by TDHS must be evaluated annually. The evaluation includes an on-site observation, or assessment, at the child care program to determine the quality of the care the agency provides. The results of the assessment are used along with other information about the agency to calculate its annual rating, which appears on the agency’s report card. As required by law, the agency posts its report card in a place where parents and others can easily see it.
The assessment is conducted by an assessor with TDHS, who is trained by UT SWORPS staff. To ensure consistency in conducting assessments, the assessors use a set of valid and reliable instruments called the Environment Rating Scales (ERS) to guide their scoring decisions. For example, the assessor listens to the conversations between the children and staff to be sure they are age-appropriate. In addition, the assessor examines the layout and use of space and rooms and looks at the program’s health and safety practices. The program’s use of math, language, music, and art activities, among other areas of learning, are assessed as well.
To learn more about the Report Card Program and assessments, visit the tnstarquality.org website. In 2001, SWORPS staff worked closely with several state departments, including the TDHS, to develop the report card criteria, design the assessment process, develop the program policies and procedures, and train the assessors to use the Rating Scales.
The staff in this unit were trained by the Environment Rating Scales authors and remain responsible for training the TDHS assessors to a high-level of reliability on the Environment Rating Scales. In the field, staff work regularly with every assessor to ensure that they maintain their reliability in conducting assessments.