Maryland EXCELS is Maryland’s quality rating and improvement system for child care and early education programs that meet nationally recognized quality standards. Teachstone’s Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®) is an objective and consistent measurement tool of teacher-child interactions. CLASS is used by Maryland EXCELS to assess and provide feedback to licensed Child Care Centers, Family Child Care providers and Public Prekindergarten programs.

Starting on January 1, 2021, in the Accreditation and Rating Scales Content Area, assessments will be conducted by approved MSDE assessors using CLASS. CLASS will replace the Environment Rating Scales, except in School-Age child care settings where we will continue to use the SACERS-u.

Why is Maryland EXCELS using CLASS® assessment tools?

CLASS supports the mission of the Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood, to improve the early education experiences of young children so that they are prepared for and successful in school.  The CLASS measure has been validated and proven to predict child outcomes in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.


Who receives a CLASS® assessment?

Programs who wish to meet Maryland EXCELS Quality Rating 4 requirements and Quality Rated 5 programs who will receive an assessment every 3 years.


Who conducts a CLASS® assessment?

CLASS assessments are conducted by assessors who hold current certification from Teachstone and are approved by MSDE.


What are the benefits of receiving a CLASS assessment from MSDE?

The CLASS assessment acknowledges the work you do every day, including meeting Maryland EXCELS Standards. The feedback you receive from the assessment will:

  • help you maintain high quality;
  • support your continuous quality improvement; and
  • prepare you for an accreditation visit.

You will choose:

  • the classrooms to be observed;
  • the dates the assessments will take place;
  • the areas to include in your Program Improvement Plan.


What if my child care center has school-age children?

  • Child care centers with school-age children will be assessed using CLASS and SACERS-u.
  • Programs serving only school-age children will be assessed using the SACERS-u.
Teacher playing with children

The CLASS® Tool

If you’d like to learn more about CLASS, explore over 200 research studies.

Free Resources

Watch or listen to Teachstone’s 30-minute podcast episode to learn more about what to expect during your CLASS Observation.

Check Out the Episode

Explore more free resources for Maryland EXCELS participants.

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Free Resources

Watch or listen to Teachstone's recent 30-minute podcast episode to learn more about what to expect during your CLASS Observation!" Check out more free resources for Maryland EXCELS participants!