By Amy Hoffman
Have you heard the news? The Program Quality Assessment (PQA) team at the Pennsylvania Key has a lot to offer to programs. You may already know that we (usually) conduct external assessments to support early learning and school-age programs; this involves an assessor visiting your program and observing a wide range of practices including teacher-child interactions, classroom environments, and/or business practices. Because of COVID-19, we are offering programs support through an internal assessment process; program staff complete internal assessments of their practices, and we meet to discuss these practices and to partner with them in their continuous quality improvement journey.
You may have heard the terms “Program Observation Instrument” or “POI” in relation to internal and external assessments. These are evidence-based, reliable tools used to measure the quality of early learning and school-age programs. For several years, Pennsylvania programs participating in Keystone STARS were limited to a choice of only a few POIs to use to meet the standards. Several more options are available during this funding year (2021-2022). These can be used not only to meet STARS standards, but also to conduct an internal assessment of program practices. Many details about each POI are available on the Pennsylvania Key website (see link below).
Here is a brief overview of each POI:
|NAME OF POI||TARGET AREA||SETTING/AGE LEVEL (when applicable)|
|Business Administration Scale (BAS)||Business practices||Family/Group Child Care located in a residence|
|Program Administration Scale (PAS)||Program administration, management, leadership||Centers and Group Child Care in a commercial structure|
|Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)||Teacher-child interactions||Centers; infants – school-age|
|Climate of Healthy Interactions for Learning and Development (CHILD)||Social-emotional interactions||Centers; preschool classrooms|
|Developmental Environment Rating Scale (DERS)||Environment, child, and adult behaviors||All settings; 2.5 – 6 years|
|Environment Rating Scale (ERS)||Overview of practices||All settings; infants – school-age|
|Inclusive Classroom Profile (ICP)||Inclusive practices||Centers; preschool with at least one enrolled child with a diagnosed disability|
|Parenting Interactions with Children: Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes (PICCOLO)||Teacher-child or parent-child interactions||All settings; 10 – 47 months|
|Rating Observation Scale for Inspiring Environments (ROSIE)||Classroom aesthetics||Centers; preschool classrooms|
|School-Age Program Quality Assessment (SPQA)||Quality of youth experiences/overview of practices||Centers and/or SAC only programs; kindergarten – grade 6|
|Teaching Pyramid Infant-Toddler Observation Scale (TPITOS)||Social-emotional||Centers; birth – 36 months|
|Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT)||Social-emotional||Centers: preschool classrooms (2 – 5 years)|
The Let’s Talk Quality (LTQ) Series is a statewide initiative created by the PQA team to enhance provider information on best practices.
- LTQ Webinars are live interactive and informative sessions about a variety of topics related to program quality. Each one-hour session is offered twice per month during the second week of the month. Each month’s webinar is recorded and posted on the Pennsylvania Key website during the week of the webinar (see link below).
- LTQ Spotlight includes two sessions offered two weeks after the webinar; members of the PQA team are available to discuss the topic of the month’s webinar as well as answer questions from providers.
- And since you’re reading this, you already know about our Let’s Talk Quality Blog. Each month, a blog article that connects to the monthly webinar topic will be posted the day before the live webinars take place.
The PQA team also offers professional development (PD) on a variety of POIs. Live virtual sessions are posted on the PD Registry. We also can sometimes provide PD for a program upon request; a minimum of ten participants is required, and requests are fulfilled based on assessor availability. If a PA Key sponsored PD session is not available for a specific POI, we can offer a Facilitated POI (FPOI) Orientation. This one-hour session allows you to talk with an assessor about the focus of the POI and how to use it for an internal assessment. Forms to request private PD and FPOI Orientation are available from your Keystone STARS quality coach or on the Pennsylvania Key website (see link below).
For more information (effective November 2021):
- Program Observation Instruments and Facilitated POI Orientation
- Let’s Talk Quality Series and Professional Development (including requesting private PD)
- Let’s Talk Quality Blog