ENHANCE, a research project designed to improve the quality of child outcomes data, consisted of four studies examining the quality of the data being collected through the Child Outcomes Summary (COS) process. The Provider Survey, Team Decision-Making Study (Video Study), and the Child Assessments Study were conducted in three local early intervention programs in each of six states, and in three early childhood special education programs in each of six states, for a total of 36 local programs who participated in the project. The Extant State Data Study, conducted at the state level, examined patterns in statewide data. ENHANCE helped to understand the conditions under which the COS process produces valid and reliable data. Many states use this process to generate data for federal accountability reporting for Part C and Part B Preschool services of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The data can also be used for program improvement by identifying program strengths and weaknesses.
ENHANCE was conducted at the Center for Education and Human Services at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Education for their support of the project. For more information about the project, please contact Lauren Barton.
On the basis of evidence collected across four studies, we concluded that when implemented as intended, the COS process produces ratings that are valid for accountability and program improvement purposes. The following are key findings supporting this conclusion:
Another key finding was that some of the programs studied did not always implement the COS process as intended. Details on the findings can be found in the ENHANCE Brief.