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Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How
More research documenting the current scenarios for the assessment of young ELLs across the country is needed, including more work to evaluate assessment practices in various localities; survey research and observational approaches to document practices in preassessment and assessment planning, conducting the assessment, analyzing and interpreting the results, reporting the results (in written and oral format), and determining eligibility and monitoring; and a focus on the development of strategies to train professionals with the skills necessary to serve young ELL children.
Research is needed to develop assessment tools normed especially for young English language learners using a bottom-up approach, so that assessment tools, procedures, and constructs assessed are aligned with cultural and linguistic characteristics of ELL children.
Children with Special Needs
More research is needed on what the various practitioners who assess young children with special needs—early interventionists, special education teachers, speech therapists, psychologists, etc.—actually do.
More research is needed on the use of accommodations with children with disabilities. What are appropriate guidelines for decision making about what kind of accommodations to use with what kind of child under what conditions?
Research is needed on the impact of accommodations on the validity of the assessment results.
Accountability and Program Quality
There is a need for the development of assessment instruments designed for the purpose of accountability and program evaluation. Instruments that are developed for federal studies such as the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten-First Grade Waves (ECLS-K) or national studies of Head Start should become publicly available, so they can used by others. There is a need for research on the implementation of accountability systems and the tracking of positive and negative consequences at all levels of the system: