Ongoing child assessment in a Head Start program is part of a comprehensive assessment system and coordinated approach to support all children's development and learning, birth to 5. Learn how program leaders can support high-quality ongoing child assessment practices. Explore a step-by-step guide for preparing, collecting, aggregating and analyzing, and using and sharing the data. Find out what program leaders need to do to help education staff effectively use ongoing child assessment, as well as how they might use the information as part of broader program-level assessment. Review case stories that demonstrate how education staff and program leaders use ongoing child assessment. Discover definitions of terms, a planning worksheet, and a list of print and online resources in the appendices. Find specific information about assessing children who are dual language learners (DLLs) and children with disabilities.
Select the links below to download the sections of most interest to you. You can also download the entire guide. Relevant Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) are cited in selected sections.
The preface introduces program leaders to the purpose and contents of the guide. Review HSPPS for child screenings and assessment and using data for continuous improvement.
Learn more about comprehensive assessment systems. Find out what ongoing child assessment involves, why it's important, and how it relates to aggregating and analyzing data three times a year.
Preparing for and Implementing Ongoing Child Assessment
Explore the continuous cycle of child assessment activities: Prepare, Collect, Aggregate and Analyze, Use and Share. Review factors that impact the cycle. Find a checklist for identifying which parts of each activity programs do well or need to strengthen. Learn about parallel ongoing child assessment processes at different levels of a program.
Preparing for ongoing child assessment is the first and most important activity in the assessment cycle. Learn six actions leaders can take to develop an overall assessment plan, implementation procedures, and a timeline. Explore how plans address the collection and use of ongoing child assessment data at different levels (e.g., grantee, site, classroom, family child care home, home-based services). Find out how plans address variations in assessment practices based on children's ages, languages, cultures, and abilities.
In the Collect stage, staff put plans into action. Examine what, when, and how to assess. Learn strategies for documentation, including data storage and summaries, data collection fidelity, and monitoring data collection.
Aggregate and Analyze
Aggregate means to combine information into a unified whole. Analyze refers to digging into data to question, explore, and investigate aggregated information. Compare how a teaching team aggregates and analyzes ongoing child assessment information for a group of children versus for all enrolled children at the program level.
Use and Share
Learn about the 4As approach for sharing child assessment data—accurate, appealing, accessible, and audience-specific. Discover how education staff and program leadership use and share child assessment data for different purposes.
Conclusion and References
Review a summary of why ongoing child assessment is necessary. Explore what programs need to do to complete the elements of a successful Prepare, Collect, Aggregate and Analyze, and Use and Share cycle.
Explore helpful materials, including definitions of terms and a planning and implementation worksheet. Learn more about ongoing assessment for children who are DLLs and children with Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) or Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Find links to additional resources and relevant HSPPS.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning
Last Updated: June 13, 2022