Solution: Maryland EXCELS

Quality Rating & Improvement System for Early Care & EducationMaryland EXCELS (QRIS)

No.Inc partnered with Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Technology in Education to plan, design, and develop the Quality Rating & Improvement System for Maryland (Maryland EXCELS).  Serving more than 5,200 early childhood care providers across the state, the system is used daily by some 100 state quality assurance staff members and state QRIS administrators.  The system helps participating early childhood care providers to continuously improve programs by working to meet improvement standards and best practices as defined by the state.

The Challenges

  • Design a software system flexible enough to support a new process that would evolve
  • Accommodate a business process developed in parallel with the software
  • Accommodate a wide range of technical familiarity within audiences
  • Integrated data from state licensing system

Our Approach

  • Elicit requirements from various stakeholder groups
  • Pilot a prototype and conduct field tests to collect user feedback
  • Build a flexible system that adapts to evolving process
  • Publish ratings through a new Maryland EXCELS website and mobile app

The Results

  • Participation in the state QRIS program has increased over 5,000%
  • Highest reviewer to program ratio in the country due to the efficiency of an online process


Screenshot of EXCELS Screenshot of EXCELS Screenshot of EXCELSScreenshot of EXCELS

Solution: Teacher Compass

Teacher Observation and Evaluation ToolTeacher Compass

No.Inc partnered with Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Technology in Education to plan, design, and develop the Teacher Compass tool. The tool is used in the classroom to document teacher observations in real time. Multiple observations are scored using a rubric. Scores and notes are compiled into final evaluations for teachers. Professional development resources are then recommended to teachers based on the results of evaluations.

The Challenges

  • Develop an offline solution due to Internet connectivity issues in various schools
  • Accommodate various use cases by including extensive configuration of content, assessments, rubrics, professional development resources, and workflows

Our Approach

  • Develop pilot and plan for extensive user testing
  • Take a modular approach, including recommendations for the development of standalone professional development library and development of an offline solution
  • Integrate configurable rubrics for various needs

The Results

  • Acquired by Pearson Education


Screenshot of Teacher Compass Screenshot of Teacher Compass