Evaluation and Assessment
Part C requires a timely, comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluation of each child, birth through age two. If the child is determined eligible, a child assessment is conducted. Evaluation and assessment are considered processes that have different purposes under Part C.
Evaluation is defined as the "procedures used by appropriate qualified personnel to determine a child's initial and continuing eligibility, consistent with the state definition of infants and toddlers with disabilities".
Assessment is defined as "the ongoing procedures used by qualified personnel to identify the child's unique strengths and needs and the services appropriate to meet those needs and includes the assessment of the child and the assessment of the child's family."
A family-directed assessment is conducted to identify the resources, priorities, concerns and the supports, and services necessary to enhance the family's capacity to meet the needs of their child. Qualified personnel must use informed clinical opinion and multiple procedures when conducting evaluations and assessments.
While a "child's medical or other records may be used to establish eligibility (if those records indicate that the child's level of functioning in one or more of the developmental areas constitutes a developmental delay or that the child otherwise meets the criteria for an infant or toddler with a disability)", an assessment still must be conducted.
- 34 CFR §303.321 Evaluation of the child and assessment of the child and family
- 34 CFR §303.322 Determination that a child is not eligible
- 34 CFR §303.420(a)(1) and (2) Parental consent and ability to decline services
Part B (34 CFR §300.15) defines evaluation as the procedures used in accordance with Sec. 300.304 through 300.311 to determine whether a child has a disability and the nature and extent of the special education and related services that the child needs.Evaluation and assessment are not defined as separate processes. For further information, see:
- 34 CFR §300.300 Parental Consent
- 34 CFR §300.301 Initial Evaluations
- 34 CFR §300.302 Screening for instructional purposes is not evaluation
- 34 CFR §300.303 Reevaluations
- 34 CFR §300.304 Evaluation Procedures
- 34 CFR §300.305 Additional requirements for evaluations and reevaluations
- 34 CFR §300.306 Determination of eligibility
See also: 34 CFR §300.307-300.311 Additional Procedures for Identifying Children With Specific Learning Disabilities (typically not relevant to ages 3-5)
Evaluation and Assesssment Resources
This CEELO brief looks at what child assessment measures are being used in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms across the states and how child assessment data is being used. It is intended to help states learn from each other as they plan to implement new assessments (e.g. kindergarten entry assessments) and comprehensive early childhood assessment systems. It is based primarily on secondary analysis of data collected in the State of Preschool Yearbook and presents a snapshot of responses from the states to questions about child assessment.
This paper was prepared for the National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force and First 5 LA, with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has developed a policy fact sheet on preschool assessment. The complete policy brief includes an overview of effective assessment and all references. A 2012 presentation, An Assessment Primer: Effective Assessment in the Early Childhood Classroom is also available.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) provides ongoing support for federal collaboration on early childhood research through the Science and Ecology of Early Development (SEED) initiative, ASPE and the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF) contracted with Child Trends to develop profiles of early childhood measures. This project produced a compendium of early childhood assessments commonly used to measure domains of development, including language and literacy, cognition, mathematics, social-emotional competency, and approaches to learning. Various types of ongoing observational assessments were also included. A profile of each assessment includes the purpose of the measure, key constructs, administration, and reliability information.
From the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED)