Assessment

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?

Definition

Assessment is a shared experience between families and professionals in which information and ideas are exchanged to benefit a child’s growth and development. Assessment practices should be integrated and individualized in order to: (a) answer the questions posed by the assessment team (including family members); (b) integrate the child’s everyday routines, interests, materials, caregivers, and play partners within the assessment process; and (c) develop a system for shared partnerships with professionals and families for the communication and collection of ongoing information valuable for teaching and learning (DEC). Progress monitoring is a form of assessment used to determine the student’s performance and the effectiveness of intervention and instruction.

Professional Standards

EZ ECSE FAQ: Use of the ASQ-3

EZ ECSE FAQ: Use of the ASQ-3

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.

Readiness Resources: Deepen Knowledge and Prepare to Implement

Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration of Children and Families: Early Childhood Assessment Research Briefs

Head Start Video - Ongoing Assessment Data When Teaching Children with Disabilities
This in-service suite describes how to use ongoing assessment data when teaching children with disabilities. Learn how to adjust your teaching methods, as well as provide additional support.

Assessment modules - Early Childhood Assessment Project, Center for Early Education and Development, University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Early Education and Development, in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Education, has created eleven online modules and five Spanish modules to support teachers, supervisors, and administrators with the implementation of high-quality early childhood assessment practices. These modules are free and open to the public.

Curriculum and Assessment Trainers

Results Matter Videos

Administrators and teachers illustrate how they use authentic child assessment data to 1) inform funders, 2) inform classroom level instruction, 3) support teachers, and 4) meet the needs of individual children and their families.

The director of a child care program discusses and illustrates the benefits of using authentic assessment in a child care program.
 

Implementation Resources: Apply and Practice

Early Childhood Assessment Project
University of Minnesota’s Center for Early Education and Development, in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Education, has written the in-depth report Supporting the Use of Authentic Assessment Through Relationship-Based Professional Development: Protocols for Implementation to support professionals working with young children. It has also developed eleven online modules and five Spanish modules to support teachers, supervisors, and administrators with the implementation of high-quality early childhood assessment practices. These modules are free and open to the public.

Curriculum and Assessment Trainers

Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration of Children and Families

This in-depth report provides an evidence base, a conceptual framework, and recommendations on how to build a high-quality early childhood assessment system.

This in-depth report continues the information provided in Volume I. It focuses on using ongoing assessment data to individualize instruction and provides the evidence-base for these practices.

Extending Practice: Resources

NAEYC Position Statement on assessing young English language learners
This document provides recommendations and specific indicators of effective practice for programs working with young DLL children.

McKnight Report - Perspectives on Assessment of DLLs Development & Learning, Prek-Third Grade
This research brief is organized around understanding and providing an overview of recommendations on four basic assessment questions: the important linguistic, cultural, and background factors to consider in the assessment of young DLLs; the most appropriate methods for assessing young DLLs for certain purposes (e.g., instructional improvement and developmental screening); the technical considerations required for testing DLLs; and what teachers need to know about the valid assessment of young DLLs.

Minnesota Department of Education - Bilingual Early Language Assessment (BELA)
The Bilingual Early Language Assessment (BELA) is an assessment instrument used with bilingual children from 2.9 to 5 years old. It is available in English, Hmong, Oromo, Russian and Spanish.

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!