Welcome to the Learning from Assessment (LFA) Toolkit

The LFA Toolkit is a collection of presentations, handouts, guided practice exercises, and descriptions of additional resources designed to support program staff in enhancing, conducting, and interpreting child assessments. It builds upon the assessment knowledge and expertise programs already possess, and the materials can be used selectively to design trainings that will meet programs' particular needs.

No matter what tools are being used to assess children in a program, the materials can expand a program's capacity to gather and use information to identify its strengths and needs and improve outcomes for children and their learning environments. The LFA Toolkit is NOT an assessment instrument nor is it intended to replace what programs are already doing.

This website will allow you to access all of the LFA Toolkit resources. It is divided into the following sections, accessed by selecting the tabs above:

  1. Getting Started: Materials to assist you with developing a deeper understanding of the LFA Toolkit, how it is organized, how it can be used with your program, and where to begin based upon your program's needs.
  2. Presentations: Presentations for managers and teachers that discuss the importance of conducting frequent child assessment and highlights key strategies and concepts for gaining the most from the information you collect.
  3. Guided Practices: Exercises intended for use by managers and education coordinators in training sessions with teachers on data collection, analysis, and planning.
  4. Resources: Additional materials to support your use of the LFA Toolkit and ongoing child assessment activities.
  5. New Materials: New resources developed by the OHS National Centers to further enhance the content of the LFA Toolkit to ensure it addresses the current needs of programs, as well as reflects best practices and research associated with ongoing child assessment activities. As new resources are developed, they will be introduced under this tab prior to being added to the appropriate section of the toolkit.

So, let’s start exploring the LFA toolkit — select the "Getting Started" tab above. Enjoy!

Child with scissors
Girl with mirror
Child stacking blocks
Girl reading

 

Disclaimer: The LFA Toolkit was developed before the release of both the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework in 2015 and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework in 2010. As a result, you will find references in the toolkit to items associated with its predecessor; the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework released in 2003. Although this is the case, please know that the principles are still applicable to the ongoing child assessment practices and systems in which programs are engaged. OHS will be adding resources to the toolkit to further enhance its content to ensure it addresses the current needs of programs, as well as reflects best practices and research associated with ongoing child assessment activities.

Getting Started

This section contains materials to assist you with developing a deeper understanding of the LFA Toolkit, how it is organized, how it can be used with your program, and where to begin based upon your program's needs.

READ ME FIRST – An Introduction to the LFA Toolkit START HERE for an overview and recommendations on how to use the LFA Toolkit.

Ongoing Child Assessment System Profile This tool is designed to assist you with reflecting upon your program’s ongoing child assessment system and to give you an idea of which LFA presentation is the best place to start.

Rectangle Exercise – Observing to Learn This short, warm-up exercise highlights the importance of making focused observations and documenting what you observe.

Presentations

This component continues your orientation to the LFA toolkit. It includes presentations that discuss the importance of conducting frequent child assessment and highlights key strategies and concepts for gaining the most from the information you collect. There are two (2) sections: Presentations for Managers, and Presentations for Teachers. Click on the titles to reveal materials for each audience.

Presentations for Managers*

These presentations are aimed at directors and managers to help them address concepts that are important for their leadership role in assessment. The presentation includes information on how to set up assessment systems, support teachers' assessment activities, and how to use assessment information to make decisions.

Getting Ready to Get the Most Out of Your Child Assessments Examine the importance of enacting a leadership role in planning and organizing for assessment, and assuring assessment quality.

But What Does It All Mean? Focus on key concepts and terms associated with research, the use of data and understanding how to examine and interpret data. The information is intended to leave managers feeling empowered to make the best decisions for the children in their programs and to take part in the discussions that shape the priorities of their program.

Presentations for Teachers*

Discover the importance of assessment, the assessment-instruction cycle, and the identification of effective, efficient assessment tools and methods that teachers use in their own classrooms.

Ongoing Assessment: Capturing the Progress of Children's Learning – Video Learn the importance of collecting, understanding, and using assessment information in the classroom to inform what teachers do with children and how they communicate with parents and specialists about children in the class or learning environment.

Documenting Observations Examine strategies for observing children and different methods for documenting what has been observed.

*Each presentation has an associated script. If only one segment of a particular presentation is necessary for your training session, feel free to break it apart. Presentations are provided in two formats (PDF and Microsoft Word/PowerPoint) to allow you the flexibility to customize them to better meet your program's needs.

Guided Practices

This component of the Toolkit contains exercises intended for use by managers and education coordinators in training sessions with teachers. These exercises provide teachers the opportunity to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of varied observational assessment techniques that can be used throughout the year to build on what is learned in the periodic assessments conducted to meet federal requirements.

About the Guided Practices

  • All of the exercises have the same format and all have accompanying slide presentations and handouts.
  • Exercise content varies widely in terms of the type of child outcome being assessed, the documentation technique employed, and the complexity of the exercise.
  • Exercises vary in length from 15 to 40 minutes.
  • Exercises work best with small groups but can be adapted for larger groups.
  • We have organized the Guided Practices by the type of documentation technique(s) featured in each exercise. If there is more than one technique explored in a particular Guided Practice, the additional techniques are noted in parentheses next to the guided practice.

Resources

This component of the LFA Toolkit contains suggested training sessions, handouts on objective and accurate reporting portfolios, and an annotated bibliography highlighting sources for additional information about various aspects of assessment as referenced in the Toolkit. You will find new resources related to the LFA Toolkit and ongoing child assessment tools added to the “Additional Resources” section below.

Additional Resources

Coming Soon!

As new resources are developed, they will be introduced under this tab prior to being added to the appropriate section of the toolkit.

*The LFA Guided Practice Roadmap was developed prior to the release of the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework in the Fall of 2010. Therefore, it contains references to its predecessor, the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework released in 2003. However, you may find this tool helpful in getting an idea of the content of each exercise. It was developed to aid in the selection of guided practice exercises. It identifies key elements of each exercises including:

  • Name of exercise
  • Domains from the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework (2003)
  • Type(s) of documentation
  • Emphasis for special groups
    • Dual language learners
    • Infant/toddler
    • Home visiting

New Materials

This section contains supplements to the LFA Toolkit and new resources associated with ongoing child assessment created by the OHS National Centers. New materials are introduced here before transitioning to the appropriate tab of the LFA Toolkit.*

New Materials Coming Soon

*New materials will be introduced and located here for approximately 45 days before transitioning to the appropriate tab of the LFA Toolkit.

Last Reviewed: October 2016

Last Updated: January 6, 2017