The INSPIRE ACTION framework was developed to assist those responsible for administrative oversight of local early childhood special education programs to identify and celebrate strong program components and to identify those program components most in need of improvement. The development was sparked by recognition that many local program leaders (e.g., Directors of Special Education, elementary principals, some special education coordinators) have limited knowledge of early childhood special education and are unable to consistently determine the presence or absence of ECSE program quality.



As you look at the resources and tools provided here, consider:

  • What is the main focus and purpose of each resource?
  • How does this information align with what you currently know and do in your work with young children and families?
  • How will you integrate this information into your work?
  • How might you share or apply this information in working with: Children? Families? Colleagues?


Foundational Resources: Understand the Basics

Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How?
This report, created by the National Academies of Sciences in 2008, provides the evidence-based practices and explanations for early childhood assessment, including what it is, why it is important, and how to implement it with fidelity. There is a summary of the entire report at the beginning of the report.

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center: Screening, Evaluation, and Assessment
The ECTA website provides definitions of screening, evaluation, and assessment, as well as evidence-based resources to support practitioners with their implementation.

Minnesota's Early Childhood Indicators of Progress
Minnesota revised their early learning standards, known as the “Early Childhood Indicators of Progress,” in 2016. These standards outline what children should know and do from age birth through five years old. The following domains are included within the standards: physical and movement development; language, literacy, and communications; cognitive; mathematics; scientific thinking; social systems; approaches to learning; the arts; and social and emotional development.

State of the State’s Policy Snapshot: State Early Childhood Assessment Policies
In March of 2014, the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes developed a report on the differing assessment policies that exist across the country. The report also offers information on why assessment is important and how it is tied to improved educational outcomes for young children.


PDF-Guided Resources and Support

Please contact your regional PDF if you have investigated all resources provided here, but continue to have questions or concerns related to this core component of INSPIRE ACTION.

If you have an additional resource that supports professional development in this core component, please share it with your regional PDF. Your participation in this site's continued growth is encouraged and welcome!


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