ExceleRate Illinois uses a consistent set of standards organized into four domains:
- Teaching and Learning
- Family and Community Engagement
- Leadership and Management
- Qualifications and Continuing Education
- The Gold Circle of Quality recognizes programs which have demonstrated quality on all standards, as validated by an independent assessor. Gold Circle programs meet or exceed specific quality benchmarks on learning environment, instructional quality, and all administrative standards; group size and ratios; qualifications; and professional development.