hood assessments. That is, we complement the earlier summary of research that looks within the assessment tools by considering the evidence on the way in which they are implemented. Relative to the substantial body of work looking at the reliability and validity of specific early childhood assessments, there is much more limited research on issues of implementation. While summarizing available evidence, this chapter also identifies areas in which future research could contribute to the understanding of implementation issues in early childhood assessment.

The discussion of implementation issues is organized into three areas, moving sequentially from preparation for administration to the actual administration, and then to follow-up steps:

  1. Preparation for administration: clarifying the purpose of assessment, communicating with parents, training of assessors, and protection against unintended use of data.

  2. Administration of assessments: degree of familiarity of the child with the assessor, children’s responses to the assessment situation, issues in administration of assessment to English language learners, adaptations for children with special needs.

  3. Following up on administration: helping programs use the information from assessments and taking costs to programs into account in planning for next steps.


Determining and Communicating the Purpose of the Assessments

In a summary of principles of early childhood assessment that continues to serve as an important resource (see Meisels and Atkins-Burnett, 2006; Snow, 2006), the National Education Goals Panel (Shepard, Kagan, and Wurtz, 1998) identified four underlying purposes for conducting assessments of young children. They cautioned that problems can occur when there is lack of clarity or agreement as to the underlying purpose of carrying out assessments, because decisions about which assessment is used, the circumstances under which the information is collected, who is assessed, the technical requirements for the assessment, and how

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