Texas Rising Star Program Assessments

Types of Texas Rising Star Program Assessments

Texas Rising Star requires several types of on-site visits to assess and monitor the ongoing quality of Texas Rising Star–certified child care and early learning programs. Programs should be aware that during any assessment following an Initial Assessment, if structural measures are not met, the program will lose Texas Rising Star certification.

Prior to all assessments, Texas Rising Star staff will complete the appropriate screening form. Learn more about the screening form.

Initial Assessment

The Initial Assessment is a full assessment of all Texas Rising Star measures. The assessor confirms all required measures, such as written policies, are verified. The assessor assesses the points-based measures, such as teacher-child interactions and environments in observation blocks of one to one-and-a-half hours per classroom. Programs may not become certified with only structural (required) measures reviewed.

Texas Rising Star assessors evaluate the program as a whole with the Facility Assessment Record Form (FARF) and each classroom with the age-appropriate Classroom Assessment Record For (CARF) by scoring each of the applicable measures specific to the facility type and/or the classroom’s age group. The assessor then enters the assessment scores into CLI Engage, which generates the program’s final star-level certification.

CLI Engage also uses the program’s scores to generate reports that mentors can use to help refine the program’s CQIP.

Nationally Accredited Facilities 

Upon receipt of the documents for application, nationally accredited facilities will receive a modified Initial Assessment, in which the assessor observes and scores Categories 2 and 4 for all classrooms. Categories 1 and 3 are not observed/assessed during the Initial Assessment.

Annual Monitoring Visit

The annual monitoring visit (annual monitoring) is unannounced and may be conducted at any time but must be conducted before the yearly anniversary date of the Texas Rising Star certification start date. Programs will receive two annual monitoring visits during the duration of their three-year certification period.

The unannounced annual monitoring is required by §809.133(d)(1)—there is no two-week window for annual monitoring visits, and the timing is at the sole discretion of Texas Rising Star staff. Before an annual monitoring visit, the assessor will also complete the appropriate Texas Rising Star Screening Form to review the program’s recent CCR licensing history and determine whether there are any impacts on the program’s certification status or mentoring needs.

Classroom Observations

The assessor will observe and assess 50 percent of the classrooms, including at least one classroom for each age group and any new classrooms added since the previous visit. Newly added classrooms and classrooms in which the teacher has changed will be prioritized for observations.

Director and Staff Training and Qualifications 

During the annual monitoring, the assessor reviews all staff files. If, during the on-site visit, the assessor discovers that a change in director or caregiving staff occurred and the current director or caregiving staff does not meet the requirements of the program’s current star level, then the program will be placed on a Service Improvement Agreement (SIA) for six months to assist the program with retaining the current star level. Additionally, the same process would occur for programs that had staff turnover between visits. All new staff’s qualifications are reviewed and scored as applicable.  Learn more about SIAs.

Results of the Annual Monitoring Visit 

Results of the annual monitoring will not affect the program’s star-level certification. Rather, the scores are used to develop a CQIP, or an SIA, as applicable, to help the program maintain or increase its star level.  Learn more about Quality Improvement.

An annual monitoring can also result in the observation of significant improvements in a program’s quality of care. In these cases, Texas Rising Star staff will work with the director to determine whether a future full assessment to increase the star level is appropriate (see Star-Level Evaluation in this section).

Nationally Accredited Facilities

Assessors will complete classroom observations as described. For those programs with national accreditation, Categories 1 and 3 are not observed/assessed during the annual monitoring.

Recertification Assessment

Texas Rising Star certification lasts three years. The Recertification Assessment will occur no later than three years to the month of the previous full-site assessment and certification for any Texas Rising Star–certified program.

Except for programs with TWC-recognized national accreditation, the recertification assessment requires that 100 percent of classrooms are assessed, all required measures are verified, and all points-based measures are scored for all categories.

A program’s star level before the Recertification Assessment does not affect the assessment result; programs may lose, gain, or maintain a star level as a result of the Recertification Assessment.

Certified Texas Rising Star programs are responsible for submitting a Texas Rising Star application, Texas Rising Star Screening Form, and FARF self-assessment no later than three months before the three-year anniversary from the Texas Rising Star certification end date.

Nationally Accredited Facilities

The recertification process slightly differs for nationally accredited facilities.

Recertification must occur on or before the end of the three-year certification cycle. All nationally accredited programs are required to have a modified recertification assessment on or before the end of the three-year certification cycle, in which the assessor observes and scores Categories 2 and 4 for all classrooms. Categories 1 and 3 are not observed/assessed.

Star Level Evaluation

Texas Rising Star 2- and 3-Star programs may make significant improvements across Texas Rising Star measures that could result in a higher star-level certification upon reassessment. In these cases, the program may request a Star-Level Evaluation to determine the new star-level certification. Star-Level Evaluations are conducted upon mutual agreement between the Texas Rising Star program and the appropriate Board and can occur at any time. Star-Level Evaluations are full assessments of all classrooms, categories, and applicable measures.

Because the Star-Level Evaluation is a full assessment, the three-year recertification cycle resets to the date of the Star-Level Evaluation (that is, the date of the Initial Assessment is no longer used to determine the recertification date), regardless of the star level resulting from the Star-Level Evaluation.

Note: Nationally accredited programs may request a Star-Level Evaluation, which will include assessing all classrooms for Categories 2 and 4.

Category Reassessment

After any full assessment programs may request, within 30 days from the Texas Rising Star certification effective date, that a reassessment of not more than two of the program’s lowest-rated categories be conducted without requiring a reassessment of the other categories. If a program requesting a reassessment of the lowest-rated category or categories has experienced a change of director or staff within the three months, then Category 1—Director and Staff Qualifications must also be reassessed. Reassessments for programs under this provision will be completed within 60 days of the request. Only one Category Reassessment can be requested per full assessment.

For nationally accredited Texas Rising Star programs, a Category Reassessment may be requested following the same protocols detailed above; however, only one category is chosen for reassessment—either Category 2 or 4. Changes in director or staff will not require assessment of Category 1—Director and Staff Qualifications for nationally accredited programs.

Note: A Texas Rising Star program that is on Texas Rising Star probation or has had a loss of star level due to licensing violations is not eligible for a Category Reassessment.

Facility Changes

There are varying types of changes a program may go through while being Texas Rising Star certified. These changes may affect the type of care that is being provided, requiring action by the Board and/or assessor.

  • Facility Expansion: Facility expansions are defined as a facility continuing to operate at an existing location with the existing classrooms and age groups served, while the owner/program opens a new facility within the same city, ZIP code, or county to expand and add classrooms or age groups served.
  • Facility Split: Facility splits are defined as a facility continuing to operate at an existing location while the owner/program opens an additional facility within the same city, ZIP code, or county and moves a subset of the staff and the children served to the new facility. A facility split also involves a modification of the current classroom structure and staffing.
  • Both facility expansions and facility splits involve establishing a new director at either the existing or new location. For licensing purposes, CCR considers both facility expansions and facility splits to be new facilities and requires a new permanent license. Under Texas Rising Star, facility expansions and splits require programs to request a review of the program’s certification status. Licensing history for the certification will be based on CCR monitoring conducted while the facility was operating under the initial license. The need for assessment and observation will be based on the type and degree of facility changes, as determined by the assessor using the Facility Change Rubric in Section 5 of the Guidelines.
  • Facility Move: Facility moves are defined as a facility closing and relocating to a new location within the same city, ZIP code, or county in which the program is currently operating. A facility move does not alter the current composition of director or staff but may involve an increase in capacity or age groups served.
  • Facility-type Change: Facility-type changes are defined as a program changing facility type (for example, changes from a registered child care home to a licensed child care home). A facility-type change may alter the current composition of director or staff and may involve an increase in capacity or age groups served.
  • Facility Ownership Change: Facility ownership changes are defined as a program changing owners, which may alter the current composition of staff or current policies and procedures.

When a facility incurs one of the noted facility changes above, it must initiate a new CCR facility application and obtain a new license number from CCR. The facility may or may not carry its 12-month licensing history with it to the new license number.

A Texas Rising Star program that experiences any one of these changes (expansion, splits, facility type, changes ownership, or moves to a new location within the same city, ZIP code, or county in which the program is currently operating) will retain its star level during the move or change. The program will undergo a Texas Rising Star reassessment per the Facility Change Rubric within the initial three-month period from the date the new CCR permit associated with the move or change is issued.

The program’s new Texas Rising Star star level will be based on the results of the reassessment. The program must have a full (permanent) permit with CCR but does not need to have 12 months of history in this situation. The CCR history that is available under the permit before the change will be used when completing the Texas Rising Star Screening Form for these assessments.


TWC Chapter 809 Child Care Services rule §809.135 requires Boards to ensure a process for reconsideration of facility assessment at the Board level, as the Texas Rising Star program is not subject to TWC Chapter 823 Integrated Complaints, Hearings, and Appeals rules.

A reconsideration may be requested by a program that feels that the assessment was inaccurate or unfairly conducted. The reconsideration process may include scheduling a second assessment with the same assessor, a second visit with two assessors, or an assessment with a different assessor. The reconsideration may also involve a reassessment of a category and/or measure as requested by the program. Boards may also coordinate with other Board assessors for a second review of the program’s assessment. Additionally, in responding to a reconsideration request from a program, the Board may make additional mentoring services available to assist the program in meeting Texas Rising Star standards.

Boards must make programs aware of policies regarding the reconsideration process, time restrictions on requesting a reconsideration, the number of reconsiderations allowed, and the elements eligible for reconsideration. Reconsideration policies may vary across Boards.