Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Child Outcomes

Photograph: Two preschool-aged children poke holes in wet sandbox sand with their fingers. (Photograph by Alex Lazara)

For children, the goal of early intervention and early childhood special education is to enable them to be active and successful participants during the early childhood years and in the future in a variety of settings – in their homes with their families, in child care, preschool or school programs, and in the community (Source: PDF: Family and Child Outcomes for Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education). States collect and use data on three child outcomes to support this goal:

  • Children have positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships).
  • Children acquire and use knowledge and skills (including early language/communication [and early literacy]).
  • Children use appropriate behaviors to meet their needs.

The ECO Center (now a part of the ECTA Center) developed a print resource describing the PDF: Three Child Outcomes and collaboratively developed a video overview.

Federal Reporting on Child Outcomes

As part of the State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR), states are required to report on the percent of infants and toddlers with Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) or preschool-age children with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) who demonstrate improved child outcomes. This is SPP/APR Indicator 3 for Part C and Indicator 7 for Part B.

National Data Analysis

Each year, the ECTA Center analyzes and reports a national summary of child outcomes data for Part C and Part B.

Provided below are resources on the methods and processes used to calculate national child outcomes data.

State Approaches to Measurement

States use several different approaches to measure child outcomes, as illustrated in the maps provided below:

Most states use the Child Outcomes Summary Process, a team process for summarizing information about a child’s functioning across multiples sources.

State and Local Frameworks & Self-Assessments

State Child Outcomes Measurement System (S-COMS) Framework and Self-Assessment

This framework developed by ECTA and DaSy identifies 7 key components of a high-quality child outcomes measurement system at the state level. The following resources were developed for Part C and Part B 619/Preschool programs to evaluate and improve their statewide child outcomes measurement system.

  • PDF: State Child Outcomes Measurement System Framework (S-COMS): Contains background information and the framework’s 7 components, 18 quality indicators and their associated elements of quality. It provides an easy way to review the content of the S-COMS. (updated November 2017)
  • XLS: S-COMS Self-Assessment: An Excel-based tool that provides an automated scoring form for states to rate their child outcomes measurement system on the 18 quality indicators and associated elements and to set priorities for improvement. (updated November 2017)
  • PDF: S-COMS Self-Assessment Guide: Presents general guidance for the self-assessment process and detailed instructions on use of the Excel tool. (updated November 2017)

Local Child Outcomes Measurement System (L-COMS) Framework and Self-Assessment

This framework developed by ECTA and DaSy identifies 7 key components of a high-quality child outcomes measurement system at the local level. The following resources were designed for local Part C and Part B 619/Preschool programs to evaluate and improve their systems. Local program, as used throughout these documents, refers to a local/regional early intervention services program or a local educational agency or school district.

  • PDF: Local Child Outcomes Measurement System (L-COMS): Contains background information and the framework's 7 components, 13 quality indicators and their associated elements of quality. It provides an easy way to review the content of the L-COMS. (updated September 2017)
  • XLS: L-COMS Self-Assessment: An Excel-based tool that provides an automated scoring form a structure for local programs to record rate the current status of their child outcomes measurement system on the 13 quality indicators and associated elements, and to set priorities for improvement. (updated September 2017)
  • PDF: L-COMS Guide: general guidance for using the self-assessment process and detailed instructions on use of the Excel tool. (updated September 2017)
  • IDEAs that Work: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P170001 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

Project Officer: Julia Martin Eile     © 2012-2018 ECTA Center

  • UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute