"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." (Albert Einstein)
Rationale: Assessment is an integral part of curriculum and instruction in the early childhood years, serving as a basis for making sound educational decisions that affect the child and family. Assessment may also be necessary to determine if a child has a disability and is eligible for early intervention and special education.
In a developmentally appropriate program, authentic assessment in the natural setting is used to document a child's development. Progress is assessed through observing and recording child development, using multiple sources of information. Appropriate evaluation compares the child's current work and behavior to the child's earlier work and behavior.
Decisions about promotion to the next grade or placement in special programs are based on multiple indicators - including parents' and teachers' observations - never on a single test score.
Outcomes: Assessment procedures are designed to provide information necessary to individualize learning experiences and measure child progress for needed services.
Standard 1: Assessment of child progress is based on developmental theory and practice supported by research findings and recommendations by early childhood professional associations.
Indicator 1. Assessment strategies provide necessary information to individualize and maximize learning opportunities through environmental and curricular adjustments.
Indicator 2. Assessment strategies that allow for gathering information on a broad range of children’s activities and abilities are utilized.
Indicator 3. Assessment is continuous and conducted in a natural learning environment. It utilizes a variety of processes, such as curriculum-based assessments, developmental checklists, conversations and interviews, parent input, teacher observations, work sampling, demonstration, video and audio tape recordings, and projects.
Indicator 4. Assessment procedures allow for the diversity of learners, such as primary language, difference in styles and rates of learning, and are free from cultural and/or gender biases.
Indicator 5. Child progress and assessment results are communicated to parents in a meaningful way, emphasizing the child's strengths and suggesting ways for parents to assist in the child's learning process.
Standard 2: Screening and diagnostic assessments are conducted to make specific decisions, focus on developing outcomes, and are family-centered.
Indicator 1. Screening is a brief assessment designed to identify children who may need an evaluation to determine if they have a disability and to ensure they receive the individualized services needed. The results of screening tests are not used to make decisions about entrance into programs or as a single criterion for placement in special education.
Indicator 2. Parents are informed of all rights and procedures in the screening and diagnostic process. Parents and other caregivers are an integral part of this process in collaboration with the diagnostic team.
Indicator 3. Standardized screening and diagnostic tools are reliable and valid for the purpose for which they are used. They are technically sound and are carefully administered by knowledgeable professionals.
Indicator 4. Comprehensive evaluation information is gathered from a variety of measures and settings. Evaluation information determines eligibility--whether the child has a disability and has a need for special education, provides information regarding family concerns and priorities, what should be taught, and where services should be provided.
Indicator 5. Evaluation information and recommendations are shared with all people involved with the education and care of the child in order to meet the individual needs in all environments.