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Temporary Assessment Process

Before starting, please talk with your DCDEE consultant to verify your program's eligibility for this process.

Join our free training about the Temporary Assessment Process.

This training is highly recommended for Administrators, teachers, FCCH providers, and consultants / TAs.
It can also be viewed by anyone who wants to learn more about the process.

Register for online training

Overview of the Temporary Assessment Process

TAP phase-out is underway! 

March 28, 2022: In cooperation with the DCDEE, the Temporary Assessment Process (TAP) is being phased out so that we can return to the regular assessment process. The key points are summarized below, and we encourage programs to talk with their DCDEE consultants about these changes.


  • Requests received for the Temporary Assessment Process (TAP) will continue until the current pending list is completed. However, programs can no longer submit requests for the temporary process, so programs deciding to complete the assessment process from now on will have regular assessments scheduled in the order received. This includes requests for reassessments following a Modified Assessment.
  • For programs with pending TAP requests, please review the information on this page for information specific to that process.
  • For regular assessments, the traditional in-person observations lasting for several hours will occur and all items will once again be scored. There are a few updates to the NC Additional Notes for the ECERS-R, ITERS-R, and SACERS-U. Assessors may continue to take photographs of the indoor/outdoor spaces and materials, but this is not required; children will not be photographed.
  • If you are uncertain whether your program is having a Modified Assessment or the regular assessment, please reach out to NCRLAP for clarification. This will also be specified during the scheduling phone call.
  • While on site for either type of assessment process, assessors will continue to follow any health precautions required by child care programs.
  • A great option for teachers and FCCH providers to help review ERS requirements and think carefully about current characteristics and practices are the Thinking More worksheets. These were developed for the temporary process self-study and can be found on our resource list. The worksheets are in the "featured" section and there is one for each subscale of each rating scale.

The Temporary Assessment Process provides a COVID-19 informed alternative to the typical ECERS-R, ITERS-R, SACERS-U, or FCCERS-R assessments during the pandemic when lengthy observations are not possible. If you have questions about your program's eligibility to participate in the Temporary Assessment Process, contact your DCDEE Child Care Consultant.


The Temporary Assessment Process includes two parts that together represent many of the broader aspects of classroom and program quality that are addressed by the Environment Rating Scales (ERS).

  1. The first part is a Reflective Self-Study that addresses content areas for items that cannot be observed and scored currently.
  2. The second part is a Modified Assessment that includes scoring selected items on the Environment Rating Scales.


Each part must be fully completed to earn more than two points in the Program Standards component of the Star Rated License. When traditional assessments resume, all items will be scored using the typical requirements and assessment procedures.

Reflective Self-Study

The Reflective Self-Study captures important concepts found in the Personal Care Routines, Health and Safety, Language, Interaction, and Program Structure subscales. These items require observations of children and teachers to assign scores. While these items cannot be included in an overall ERS score currently, a reflective self-study process with required steps and documentation can be completed by the program. This serves not only to offer guidance and reminders about these important aspects of quality, but also helps teachers, providers, and administrators reflect on the important work that is done each day to nurture and educate children, and plan for continuous quality improvement. Completing all of the required steps, with supporting documentation earns credit for completing the process; feedback or ratings will not be provided for the content of the self-study.


The process will occur in the month before the Modified Assessment occurs and includes 3 steps:

  1. Teachers in each classroom and FCCH providers complete all three Thinking More About worksheets.
  2. Information is shared to introduce the process and prepare all staff.
  3. A reflective review and planning conversation occurs between teachers and an administrator in childcare centers and a similar conversation for FCCH providers and their Child Care Consultant. When each step is completed, administrators and FCCH providers complete a verification form. The assessor will collect the verification form and copies of the Thinking More About worksheets from the FCCH and selected classrooms in centers during the Modified Assessment visit.


Resources for child care centers:







Modified Assessment

Low Score Reassessments during the Temporary Assessment Process: There may be situations when a program that participated in the Temporary Assessment Process chooses to be reassessed due to a low score. If this applies to your program, the following information and linked resources explain some important ideas to consider prior to requesting a low-score reassessment and the steps that will occur during the temporary process.

We encourage programs to use the recently completed assessment report from the Modified Assessment to think carefully about the environment and daily schedule to make positive changes. When looking at the assessment report from the first Modified Assessment, remember to pay attention not only to lower scoring areas, but also those that earned high scores to verify that similar characteristics or practices are still in place.

Before requesting a reassessment, allow time to fully understand the Environment Rating Scale requirements while thinking about the individual needs of the children currently enrolled and to participate in training and/or TA. Although not required, completing the self-study worksheets listed below is highly recommended. These focus on two subscales scored by assessors during the Modified Assessment, so these are different from the ones completed for the Reflective Self-Study.


For the Modified Assessments only certain ERS items are scored by NCRLAP assessors since lengthy observations in classrooms/programs are not possible currently. Additionally, some typical activities or routines are not allowed or recommended by the Child Care Strong NC Public Health Toolkit Interim Guidance, so these items are omitted from the Modified Assessments. The items that can be scored primarily use evidence from the physical environment and/or teacher interview (e.g., space and furnishings, activities and materials for learning and play). Scoring criteria for the specific items has not changed, although in some cases additional questions are asked during the interview to address specific indicators that would typically be observation-based. 

  • To complete the modified assessment, an assessor visits a classroom for 30-45 minutes, preferably when children are not present, to complete documentation and take photographs of the environment and materials; a teacher interview is also necessary although this does not have to occur in-person and can be scheduled to occur with a phone call or Zoom meeting for later that day or the next.
  • The average score that is derived represents only the specific items scored. An assessment report is created for each participating classroom.
  • For child care centers, the number of classrooms to be assessed remains the same (e.g., one-third of the overall number of classrooms with each scale/age group represented based on current enrollment). Random selection to determine which room(s) will be assessed will occur on the day of the assessor's visit to the site.