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Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How
away from their usual activities, including instruction of children, to conduct assessments. A monetary cost they reported was the need to hire substitute teachers so that teachers could carry out the assessments or to hire contract staff to conduct the assessments.
Information on costs to programs can be used as input into decisions for the future about the frequency of assessments (for example, whether to conduct them at one or multiple time points), whether assessments are conducted universally or for a sample of children, and whether resources need to be made available to programs to cover the additional costs of assessments.
Emerging evidence indicates that implementing a reliable and valid system of early childhood assessment requires careful consideration not only of which assessments to use but how they are prepared for, how they are put into practice, and how results are communicated to programs. In the next chapter we stress the particular importance of these issues in large-scale systemwide implementation of assessments. However, such issues as clear communication of the purpose of the assessments, consistent practices regarding communication with parents and obtaining informed consent, training of assessors, circumstances of administration to children, appropriate training and assessment practice for children learning English as well as children with disabilities, and communication of results to programs are important whether the assessments occur only within specific programs or at a broader level, such as across a state or for a national program. There is a clear need for research focusing explicitly on such issues as how child performance may vary as a function of variations in the length of assessment, familiarity of the assessor, and procedures for assessing children who are learning English.