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Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How
ALIGNMENT WITH THE HEAD START CHILDOUTCOMES FRAMEWORK
At the time the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework (HSCOF) was released in 2000, only 10 states had published early learning standards. It was at that time the only set of nationally recognized standards that could lay claim to a research base. In November 2007, the state early childhood specialists, all of whom had participated in the development of early learning standards in their respective states, were queried about the degree to which the HSCOF was consulted in the development of their early learning standards. Of the specialists who responded, all indicated that the HSCOF had been used in the formulation of their early learning standards. The depth of the use varied; however, it was clear that all of them had considered the organization and the content of the HSCOF in deciding how to create their own sets of standards.
In reexamining Appendix Table C-1, it appears that the majority of the states that have gone beyond Language, Early Literacy, and Mathematics have included all the domain and content areas included in the framework, with the exception of Approaches to Learning. Only about two-fifths of the states have that named category. A more thorough analysis of the entire corpus of standards might reveal that Approaches to Learning indicators are embedded in other areas, such as Social/Emotional Development and Cognition. Furthermore, the emphasis on this area in the 21st Century Learning Skills (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2007) suggests that Approaches to Learning might gain greater visibility in subsequent revisions.
ALIGNMENT WITH LEARNING STANDARDS INTHE K-12 SYSTEM
While the major purpose of the 2005 CCSSO survey was to determine the extent to which standards were being implemented in the states, respondents also provided information about issues in their development. Chief among these was how states addressed the issue of alignment. How early learning standards are aligned to standards for children in the K-12 system is both important and of great interest. The ECEA CCSSO group, in their