EARLY CHILDHOOD ASSESSMENT

WHY, WHAT, AND HOW

Committee on Developmental Outcomes and Assessments for Young Children

Catherine E. Snow and Susan B. Van Hemel, Editors

Board on Children, Youth, and Families

Board on Testing and Assessment

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
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Committee on Developmental Outcomes and Assessments for Young Children Catherine E. Snow and Susan B. Van Hemel, Editors Board on Children, Youth, and Families Board on Testing and Assessment Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special compe- tences and with regard for appropriate balance. The study was supported by Award No. HHSP23320042509XI between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessar- ily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data E arly childhood assessment : why, what, and how / Committee on Developmental Outcomes and Assessments for Young Children ; Catherine E. Snow and Susan B. Van Hemel, editors. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-309-12465-2 (hardcover) — ISBN 978-0-309-12466-9 (pdf) 1. Children with social disabilities—Education (Preschool—United States. 2. Child development—United States. 3. Competency-based education— United States. I. Snow, Catherine E. II. Van Hemel, Susan B. III. Committee on Developmental Outcomes and Assessments for Young Children. LC4069.2.E37 2008 372.126--dc22 2008038565 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2008). Early Childhood Assess- ment: Why, What, and How. Committee on Developmental Outcomes and Assessments for Young Children, C.E. Snow and S.B. Van Hemel, Editors. Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Board on Testing and Assessment, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Acad- emy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medi- cal care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technol- ogy with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOMES AND ASSESSMENTS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN CATHERINE E. SNOW (Chair), Graduate School of Education, Harvard University MARGARET BURCHINAL, Department of Education, University of California, Irvine; University of North Carolina HARRIET A. EGERTSON, Independent consultant, Temecula, California EUGENE K. EMORY, Department of Psychology, Emory University DAVID J. FRANCIS, Department of Psychology, University of Houston EUGENE E. GARCIA, College of Education, Arizona State University KATHLEEN HEBBELER, SRI International, Menlo Park, California EBONI HOWARD, Herr Research Center, Erikson Institute, Chicago JACQUELINE JONES, New Jersey Department of Education, Trenton LUIS M. LAOSA, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey KATHLEEN McCARTNEY, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University MARIE C. McCORMICK, School of Public Health, Harvard University DEBORAH J. STIPEK, School of Education, Stanford University MARK R. WILSON, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley MARTHA ZASLOW, Child Trends, Washington, DC Liaison to the Board on Children, Youth, and Families BETSY LOZOFF, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan SUSAN B. VAN HEMEL, Study Director MATTHEW D. McDONOUGH, Senior Program Assistant 

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BOARD ON CHILDREN, YOUTH, AND FAMILIES BERNARD GUYER (Chair), Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University BARBARA L. WOLFE (Vice Chair), Departments of Economics and Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison WILLIAM R. BEARDSLEE, Department of Psychiatry, Children’s Hospital, Boston JANE D. BROWN, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill LINDA MARIE BURTON, Department of Sociology, Duke University P. LINDSAY CHASE-LANSDALE, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University CHIRSTINE FERGUSON, School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University WILLIAM T. GREENOUGH, Department of Psychology and Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign RUBY HEARN, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Baltimore MICHELE D. KIPKE, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles BETSY LOZOFF, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan SUSAN G. MILLSTEIN, Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of California, San Francisco CHARLES A. NELSON, Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, Children’s Hospital, Boston PATRICIA O’CAMPO, Centre for Research on Inner City Health, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto FREDERICK P. RIVARA, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, University of Washington School of Medicine LAURENCE D. STEINBERG, Department of Psychology, Temple University JOHN R. WEISZ, Judge Baker Children’s Center, Harvard University MICHAEL ZUBKOFF, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School ROSEMARY A. CHALK, Director i

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BOARD ON TESTING AND ASSESSMENT EDWARD HAERTEL (Chair), Stanford University LYLE F. BACHMAN, Department of Applied Linguistics and TESOL, University of California, Los Angeles STEPHEN B. DUNBAR, College of Education, University of Iowa DAVID J. FRANCIS, Department of Psychology, University of Houston MICHAEL T. NETTLES, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey JAMES W. PELLEGRINO, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago DIANA C. PULLIN, Lynch School of Education, Boston College STUART W. ELLIOTT, Director ii

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Acknowledgments T his report is the result of over a year of effort by the C ommittee on Developmental Outcomes and Assess- ments for Young Children. The study was performed at the request of the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The committee gathered and reviewed literature on developmental outcomes and assessments for young children, listened to briefings and presentations by experts and stake- holders, and, using this information and its combined expertise, has attempted to provide its best advice on issues associated with assessing children from birth to age 5. Members of the study committee, volunteers selected from several academic and professional practice specialties, found the project an interesting and stimulating opportunity for inter- disciplinary collaboration.1 They cooperated in work groups, learned each other’s technical languages, and exemplified in their work the collegial qualities that are among the National Acad- emies’ unique strengths. I am grateful to them for their hard work, expertise, and good humor. Committee member biographies can be found in Appendix E. Background papers that were prepared 1One member, Cybele Raver, resigned from the committee in September 2007 because of increased professional responsibilities. ix

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x ACKNOWLEDGMENTS under contracts to Linda Espinosa, Aki Murata, E. Michael Foster, and David Rose (some written with the participation of co- authors) were also of great value in the committee’s work. On behalf of the committee, I would like to express appre- ciation to the many other people who contributed to this project. Lauren Supplee of ACF served as project monitor and provided guidance as needed. ACF staff were of great help to the commit- tee, obtaining hard-to-find documents and materials, providing helpful explanations, and answering the committee’s questions about the documents and their applicability. Among those at ACF who provided information and support are Mary Bruce Webb, Jennifer Brooks, and Naomi Goldstein, who provided the committee with background and context as well as the specifics of the National Reporting System (NRS) and ACF’s objectives for the study. Catherine Hildum, staff to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Subcommittee on Chil- dren and Families; James Bergeron, staff to the House Committee on Education and Workforce (R); and Roberto Rodriguez, staff to Senator Edward Kennedy, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, provided briefings that helped the committee understand the objectives of Congress for the study. Nicholas Zill of Westat and Sam Meisels of the Erikson Institute also provided briefings on the NRS. We also wish to thank the participants who provided input to the committee at its public stakeholder forum (see Appendix B). At the National Research Council (NRC), Susan Van Hemel was study director for the project. Rosemary Chalk, director of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families, and Stuart Elliott, direc- tor of the Board on Testing and Assessment, provided important management support and oversight for this work, and Naomi Chudowski provided research support. Matthew McDonough, senior program assistant, provided administrative and logistic support as well as literature research and manuscript preparation work. The executive office reports staff of the Division of Behav- ioral and Social Sciences and Education, especially Christine McShane and Yvonne Wise, provided valuable help with editing and production of the report. Kirsten Sampson Snyder managed

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xi ACKNOWLEDGMENTS the report review process, and Eugenia Grohman provided guid- ance during that process. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the NRC. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Stephen J. Bagnato, Early Childhood Part- nerships, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh; Virginia Buysse, Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Gayle Cunningham, Executive Director’s Office, Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity, Birmingham, AL; David Dickinson, Department of Teaching and Learning, Vanderbilt University; Walter Gilliam, The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy of the Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine; Robert L. Linn, Depart- ment of Education, University of Colorado; Joan Lombardi, The Children’s Project, Washington, DC; Helen Raikes, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; David M. Thissen, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina; and Ross A. Thompson, Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Aletha C. Huston, Pricilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor of Child Development, University of Texas at Austin, and Jack P. Shonkoff, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University, as review coordinator and monitor, respectively. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making sure that an independent examination of this report was carried out in

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xii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS accordance with institutional procedures and that all reviewers’ comments were considered carefully. Responsibility for the final content of this report, however, rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Catherine E. Snow, Chair Committee on Developmental Outcomes and Assessments for Young Children

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Contents Summary 1 PART I: EARLY CHILDHOOD ASSESSMENT 13 1 Introduction 15 2 Purposeful Assessment 27 3 Perspectives on Early Childhood Learning Standards and Assessment 43 PART II: CHILD-LEVEL OUTCOMES AND MEASURES 57 4 Screening Young Children 61 5 Assessing Learning and Development 85 6 Measuring Quality in Early Childhood Environments 145 PART III: HOW TO ASSESS 179 7 Judging the Quality and Utility of Assessments 181 8 Assessing All Children 233 9 Implementation of Early Childhood Assessments 281 xiii

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xi CONTENTS PART IV: ASSESSING SYSTEMATICALLY 299 10 Thinking Systematically 301 11 Guidance on Outcomes and Assessments 341 References 377 APPENDIxES A Glossary of Terms Related to Early Childhood Assessment 423 B Information on Stakeholder Forum 429 C Development of State Standards for Early Childhood Education 437 D Sources of Detailed Information on Test and Assessment Instruments 449 E Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff 455 Index 465

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