The Rating Process
Providers enroll in Early Achievers through their already existing account in MERIT (Managed Education and Registry Information Tool). MERIT is Washington State’s online system that is used to track the education and employment history of Early Childhood Educators in Washington State. This tool is owned and administrated by the Department of Early Learning (DEL). Providers that enroll in Early Achievers will be given access to a new tab in their MERIT account called WELS (Web Based Early Learning System). WELS stores the data related to coaching and evaluation for the Early Achievers program.
Once enrolled, providers are connected with a Technical Assistance Specialist (TA) from Child Care Aware of Washington. The Technical Assistance Specialist assists providers as they complete the trainings and self-assessments that are required to reach a Level 2 and become eligible to apply for an on-site evaluation. For more information on this process, please visit “Professional Development: Early Achievers Level 2 Pathway” above. Each provider will complete a Rating Readiness Tool with their TA and, if this is approved, the provider will be eligible to submit an application for on-site evaluation.
The on-site evaluation is conducted by Community Liaisons and Data Collectors from Cultivate Learning at the University of Washington. Community Liaisons meet with providers that have been approved for an on-site evaluation prior to the evaluation taking place in order to answer questions and gather any details that the Data Collectors will need to know when they arrive at the program to collect the data that will be the basis for the site rating level.
During on-site evaluations, Data Collectors conduct assessments using the Environment Rating Scales (ERS), Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), and a review of files that the provider has indicated that they would like Data Collectors to consider as evidence of how the program addresses the Early Achievers Standards in their practices. Providers have the choice to opt-out of any components that they do not currently have in place or do not want to implement.
Upon completion of the on-site evaluation, the Cultivate Learning team carefully reviews the information gathered. Cultivate Learning is responsible for compiling and analyzing provider data to determine total facility points, and for using that data to make a rating recommendation. DEL assigns the final Early Achievers rating level based on the recommendation from Cultivate Learning. Providers then receive access to their Early Achievers Rating Report through the WELS system.
After receiving their Early Achievers Rating Report, providers begin working at their facility with a coach to improve the strategies they use to support the learning of young children in their care.