Aimee Currier

Keystone STARS quality indicator EC 3.4.5 requires STAR 3 and STAR 4 early childhood and school-age programs to partner with their Quality Coach and a Program Quality Assessor to develop and implement a plan to complete internal assessments in their classrooms. Since the internal assessment process came about, there have been a few changes. This article will give a brief synopsis of what’s stayed the same and what’s changed.

 The plan: There is still an expectation that you will develop a plan, including an assessment team (which includes the quality coach and assessor), a timeline for completion, and a selected program observation instrument (POI). The template used to complete this plan in the past can still be used but is not a required source of evidence. Your coach can let you know what they are requesting as evidence for completion of the internal assessment process. Although the plan still needs to be developed, the program will no longer be required to meet with an assessor during this stage. However, if support is needed in developing this plan, a meeting with an assessor can be requested (and is encouraged).

Prior to the assessment: An assessor will reach out to you about six months before your effective assessment end date or goal date for a move-up in STARS. During this six-month period, the assessor is available to answer questions and offer support. Some supports the assessor can offer include helping with selecting a POI, coaching, explaining what professional development is available, providing resources, or traveling to the program for an onsite visit.

The assessment: Once you’ve chosen your team, timeline, and POI, you will complete the assessments in your program. Be sure to use all available resources for your selected POI (for example, visit to get additional information about the ERS). If you are unsure what resources are available, contact your assessor or your coach. Something to note that may be a change, especially for programs who have been STAR 3 or 4 programs for some time, is that according to the 2023-2024 STARS Standards your actual assessment scores will not have a bearing on your STAR level. The assessments will be used to inform your Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) plan. Keeping this in mind, be sure to assess your classrooms as you see them during your observation. You want to gather the most authentic picture of each classroom. This will help you to not only identify areas for CQI, but it will also allow you to share with your teachers where their areas of strength are. A notable change: The Program Administration Scale (PAS) and Business Administration Scale (BAS) can no longer be used to meet the requirements of EC 3.4.5, but they are still used to meet LM 3.4.9.

Post-assessment: This is the time when your required meeting with an assessor will take place. About 2 months prior to the goal/end date, your assessor will ask you to forward your assessments to her. Currently, the assessments will need to have been completed within the past 12 months, but the more recent they are, the richer the CQI conversation will be. Once the assessor receives the requested assessments, a meeting will be scheduled. During that meeting, you will review the assessments, discussing how you felt about the assessments, obstacles, strengths you found, etc., as well as what you feel would be good CQI goals to work on.

After the meeting: Once the meeting with the assessor is completed, you will then work with your coach to get the required evidence submitted.

Tags : IAPInternal Assessmentinternal assessment processKeystone STARS

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