Early Childhood: Observation & Assessment
Instructor Name: Dr. Marrea Winnega
Facilitator Name: Darcie Donegan, MA/Ed.
Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday
Address: Virtual Education Software
16201 E Indiana Ave, Suite 1450
Spokane, WA 99216
Technical Support: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to Early Childhood: Observation & Assessment, an interactive distance learning course which explores observation and assessment instruments, as well as recommended practices and available resources for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Content includes an emphasis on observing young children and assessing their early childhood learning environments.
This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer. Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.
Course Materials (Online)
Title: Early Childhood: Observation & Assessment
Instructor Name: Dr. Marrea Winnega
Facilitator Name: Darcie Donegan, MA/Ed.
Publisher: Virtual Education Software, inc. 2008, Revised 2012, Revised 2015, Revised 2018
Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.
Aiding Honesty in Others
The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.
Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.
Level of Application
This course is designed as one of a five-part series on early childhood education. Upon completion of the five-course series you will have covered most competencies found in a Child Development Associates (CDA) program, however, completion of all five courses does not earn participants a CDA unless they are formally enrolled in a program that recognizes these courses within that program. This course specifically covers competencies 1-9, 12, and 13 (it is recommended you check on individual state competencies), which all relate to the establishment of well-run, purposeful programs for young children that are responsive to individual needs and advance the development of the whole child. This course also incorporates the applicable Division for Early Childhood (DEC) recommended practices in early intervention/early childhood special education that were recently released. It is designed for anyone planning programs for young children: child-care providers, early childhood educators, and health care or social services providers, to name a few.
Expected Learning Outcomes:
As a result of this course, participants will demonstrate their ability to:
· Learn best practices for observing and assessing the development of young children.
This course is designed to help educators, para-professionals and child caregivers observe and assess various aspects of children’s development and programs. Participants will learn the components necessary for strong observation skills, such as self-awareness, objectivity, confidentiality and ethical guidelines. Web links to videos and other observation and assessment resources will be included.
The course will then discuss various types of observation and recording tools, as well as the advantages and disadvantages associated with each. Students will learn how to set goals, plan, and choose the best instrument for specific situations. Included will be tools for assessing environments, programming, and child-staff interactions. The why, when, where, what and how of conducting appropriate observations and authentic assessments will be covered.
Participants will gain techniques for organizing, analyzing and interpreting observation data. This course will teach how to apply assessment information to improve program quality and to best meet the needs of individual children.
Students will discuss proper methods for displaying observations and sharing assessments. Included will be portfolio development and other documentation methods that make children’s experiences visible. The course will then show ways to communicate observation and assessment information to parents and other appropriate adults. Finally, students will apply course concepts by creating an observation and assessment plan for their own classroom environment.
As a student you will be expected to:
· Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.
· Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented. You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, and successfully complete ALL writing assignments to pass this course. *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.
· Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.
· Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.
· Complete all course journal article and essay writing assignments with the minimum word count shown for each writing assignment.
· Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.
General Overview of Chapters One through Four Topics:
1) Introduction to Observation & Assessment: What and Why?
2) Definitions, History & Trends in Early Childhood Assessment
3) Personal Ethical & Legal Guidelines: Best Practices
4) Observing & Recording Tools: Using & Choosing
5) Authentic Assessment of Children & Environments
6) Interpreting for Meaning: Analyzing & Applying Data
7) Documentations & Communication: Showing & Sharing
8) Course Summary and Conclusion
At the end of each course chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score. After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access. The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate. However, this is not your final grade since your required writing assignments have not been reviewed. Exceptionally written or poorly written required writing assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy in the course syllabus, will affect your grade. As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.
All assignments are reviewed and may impact your final grade. Exceptionally or poorly written assignments, or violation of the Academic Integrity Policy (see course syllabus for policy), will affect your grade. Fifty percent of your grade is determined by your writing assignments, and your overall exam score determines the other fifty percent. Refer to the Essay Grading Guidelines which were sent as an attachment with your original course link. You should also refer to the Course Syllabus Addendum which was sent as an attachment with your original course link, to determine if you have any writing assignments in addition to the Critical Thinking Questions (CTQ) and Journal Article Summations (JAS). If you do, the Essay Grading Guidelines will also apply.
Your writing assignments must meet the minimum word count and are not to include the question or your final citations as part of your word count. In other words, the question and citations are not to be used as a means to meet the minimum word count.
Critical Thinking Questions
There are four CTQs that you are required to complete. You will need to write a minimum of 500 words (maximum 1,000) per essay. You should explain how the information that you gained from the course will be applied and clearly convey a strong understanding of the course content as it relates to each CTQ. To view the questions, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the CTQ that you are ready to complete; this will bring up a screen where you may enter your essay. Prior to course submission, you may go back at any point to edit your essay, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits.
You must click SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.
Journal Article Summations
You are required to write, in your own words, a summary on a total of three peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles (one article per JAS), written by an author with a Ph.D., Ed.D. or similar, on the topic outlined within each JAS section in the “Required Essays” portion of the course (blogs, abstracts, news articles or similar are not acceptable). Your article choice must relate specifically to the discussion topic listed in each individual JAS. You will choose a total of three relevant articles (one article per JAS) and write a thorough summary of the information presented in each article (you must write a minimum of 200 words with a 400 word maximum per JAS). Be sure to provide the URL or the journal name, volume, date, and any other critical information to allow the facilitator to access and review each article.
To write your summary, click on REQUIRED ESSAYS and choose the JAS that you would like to complete. A writing program will automatically launch where you can write your summary. When you are ready to stop, click SAVE. Prior to course submission you may go back at any point to edit your summaries but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits. For more information on the features of this assignment, please consult the HELP menu.
You must click SAVE before you write another summary or move on to another part of the course.
Early Childhood: Observation & Assessment has been developed by Darcie Donegan, MA/Ed. Darcie received her BA at the University of Washington and her Master’s degree from Pacific Oaks College in Human Development, specializing in Early Childhood Education and Adult Education. She has worked with young children and their caregivers for more than 30 years in various capacities, including preschool teacher, center director, parent educator, trainer, and consultant. Darcie has been adjunct faculty in ECE and Parent Education at Whatcom Community College for 20 years, and is also a Washington State Department of Early Learning trainer in executive functioning, an author of the Parenting Preschoolers modules for Washington State’s Organization of Parent Education Programs (OPEP) and the revised STARS Child Care Basics 30 hour course. She has also worked as an international consultant with the Soros Foundation, teaching in many countries. Areas of special interest include infants and toddlers, preventing child abuse, child development, observation and assessment, social-emotional development, brain development, child care, and parenting. Darcie is the mother of three children (teenage twins and a recent college grad), owner of two dogs, and has been married to a lawyer for over 20 years. In addition to writing this course, Darcie is the author of another course in this Early Childhood series called Early Childhood: Observation & Assessment. Please contact Professor Donegan if you have course content or examination questions.
Dr. Marrea Winnega, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with 20 years of experience in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Psychiatry. She consults for schools and agencies serving individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, including Asperger’s Disorder. She has also conducted numerous workshops, in-services, and trainings throughout the United States. Please contact Professor Donegan if you have course content or examination questions.
You may contact the facilitator by emailing Professor Donegan at email@example.com or calling her at 509-891-7219, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST. Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches or other issues that involve the operation of the course.
If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.
If you need personal assistance then email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (509) 891-7219. When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call.
Minimum Computer Requirements
Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.
Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.
Ages & Stages Questionnaires®, Third Edition (ASQ-3™) is a parent-completed developmental and social-emotional screener to pinpoint delays as early as possible. For use from one month to 5½ years.
Assessment & curriculum for child from birth to age 8 (grade 3). Early Learning Standards Task Force and Kindergarten Assessment Work Group, Pennsylvania BUILD Initiative & Standards for Learning, Pennsylvania’s Departments of Education and Public Welfare Harrisburg, PA – December, 2005 This state has great resources on the web, which includes recommendation, definitions, curriculum, and more.
The Battelle Developmental Inventory 2nd Edition (BDI-2TM) is used to assess developmental progress from birth to 7 years, 11 months to screen for school readiness and eligibility for special education services.
Bayley Scales of Infant Development – BSID-II (Bayley, 1993). An update of the classic Bayley Scales, this test offers a comprehensive assessment of early childhood development for ages 1–42 months.
Best Practice Resources: This comprehensive resource for professional development offers access to information and resources in various educational areas. This site also allows you to do a keyword search for information that is linked to other Web pages.
Brigance Preschool Screen II is a quick and easy screener for skills that are critical predictors of school success, including physical development, language, academic/cognitive, self-help, and social-emotional skills. Early Childhood Screens III 0–35 months includes screens for infants, toddlers, and 2 year olds; 3–5 years includes screens for 3, 4, and 5 year olds; and K & 1 includes screens for 5 and 6 year olds.
Classroom Assessment Scoring System – CLASS (Teachstone, 2015). CLASS uses research-driven insights to improve how teachers interact with children every day to cultivate supportive, structured, and engaging classroom experiences. This observation instrument assesses the quality of teacher-child interactions in center-based preschool classrooms in three domains: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support. Used by Head Start programs and part of many states’ QRIS now.
Creative Curriculum Teaching Strategies, Inc. Offers training programs, parenting and staff resources, and curriculum and assessment tools. They produce curriculum and teaching guides for infants through school agers and for family child caregivers. Materials are developmentally appropriate, straightforward, and easy to use. Available in Spanish and English.
· The Creative Curriculum® Developmental Continuum Assessment Toolkit for Ages 3-5 is a kit with forms to assess up to 25 children in programs that implement The Creative Curriculum®.
· The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos Developmental Continuum Assessment Toolkit has 21 objectives and enough forms for 25 children, as well as step-by-step instructions.
The Devereux Earl Childhood Assessment Initiative (DECA). The organization promotes partnerships among early childhood educators, families, and others who work with young children to enhance social and emotional development. This site has many resources and offers training, information, and products, including research-based observational assessment kits for infants and toddlers, and for preschoolers.
Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning™, 4th ed. (DIAL™-4). This is a global screener developed by Mardell and Goldenberg (2011) for assessing large groups of children quickly and efficiently from ages 2.6–5.11 years.
Early Childhood News – online resource for parents and teachers of infants to age 8.
The Early Childhood Education Assessment (ECEA) Consortium, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) began in 2000 to guide policy makers on appropriate assessment systems in efforts to promote and ensure high-quality learning opportunities for young children.
The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA Center) has a page dedicated to screening, evaluation, and assessment of young children. Myriad sources are available, including reports with recommended practices, policy briefs from federal agencies such as the Administration for Children and Families, research articles, and more.
Early Learning Foundation Stage: setting the standard for early learning and care from children from birth to five. Department for Children, School & Families, and the United Kingdom. This wonderfully comprehensive site is divided into four sections: 1) A unique child, 2) Positive relationships, 3) Enabling environments, and 4) Learning and development. Available atEspecially look at the section on “Effective Practice: Observation, Assessment & Planning.”
The Early Screening Inventory-Revised (ESI-R). This screener is for preschoolers ages 3:0–4:5, and kindergarteners ages 4:6–5:11.
The Educational Resources Information Center: This is the home page for ERIC, a search engine connected to multiple sites on educational topics of all sorts. A great place to look for research articles or information.
edTPA (formerly referred to as the Teacher Performance Assessment) is a partnership between Stanford University and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). It is an assessment for would-be teachers through a documented assessment process at the end of a teacher preparation program and before certification. It is consistent with the 2010 NAEYC Standards for Initial and Advanced Early Childhood Professional Preparation Programs and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards for Early Childhood.
Fluharty Preschool Speech and Language Screening Test—Second Edition (FLUHARTY-2). A screener for receptive and expressive language disorders in 3–6.11 year olds.
A Guide to Assessment in Early Childhood. (2008). OSPI, Washington State. A guide to assessment of children from infancy to age eight. Most states have something similar online:
Hawaii Early Learning Profile (HELP) is widely recognized as a comprehensive, ongoing, family-centered, curriculum-based assessment process for infants and toddlers and their families. There are two different versions for different ages: HELP: 0–3 years (Hawaii Early Learning Profile) & HELP: 3–6 years (2nd ed.). Extends HELP 0–3.
Hebbler, K. (2004). Uses and misuses of data on outcomes for young children with disabilities: Draft. (2004, July). The Early Childhood Outcomes Center has tables showing the ways data can be used at all levels—to determine outcomes for young children with disabilities.
· High Scope Educational Research Foundation. The High/Scope Child Observation Record (COR) ® (1992) The High/Scope Foundation. Their highly respected materials support active learning; they publish the Cognitively Oriented Preschool Curriculum as well as observation kits.
· High/Scope COR for Ages 2½–6 is an observational assessment tool that measures developmental progress over time in six areas: language, mathematics, initiative, social relations, creative representation, and music and movement. Also contains forms, instructions, and information about performance assessments.
· The High/Scope COR for Infants and Toddlers looks at children from birth to age 3 in everyday contexts in all developmental domains.
Making Learning Visible Project, a research group based at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, focuses on how observation and documentation promote and make visible children’s learning. The site includes tools to help teachers understand different types of documentation and ways to develop and present meaningful documentation in and outside the classroom. Also included are protocols for documentation, including how to develop a question to guide documentation and ways to review and revise documentation throughout the process.
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to improving the quality of care and education provided to our nation’s young children. They have many excellent publications on all aspects of early development and learning, including these assessment resources:
· Accreditation Assessment Tools:
· NAEYC Early Learning Program Accreditation Standards and Assessment Items:
· Curriculum, Assessment, and Program Evaluation position statements webpage, which offers the full NAEYC and NAECS/SDE joint position statement (including a glossary of assessment terms); the NAEYC supplement, “Screening and Assessment of Young English Language Learners” (in Spanish and English); and a Where We Stand Summary for each (the supplement’s summary in Spanish and English). The website provides the DEC companion paper, Promoting Positive Outcomes for Children With Disabilities: Recommendations for Curriculum, Assessment, and Program Evaluation, by the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children.
· “Spotlight on Assessment” (January 2004), in Young Children, Vol. 59, No. 1, includes the following:
o Early childhood curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation: Building an effective, accountable system in programs for children birth through age 8: position statement with expanded resources (November 2003) is based on the 2003 Joint Position Statement of NAEYC and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS/SDE). This resource has research-based recommendations for assessment policies and practices, including indicators of effectiveness, trends and issues, principles with rationale, and developmental charts. (see Position Statements)
o The words we use: A glossary of terms for early childhood education standards and assessments. A list of the common vocabulary for observations and assessment.
· Classroom observation assessment tool (2006) is the instrument used in NAEYC’s new accreditation system and covers infants-kindergartens. Used by many State QRIS systems.
· NAEYC article, “Choosing an Appropriate Assessment System” (2004), which includes a chart showing the most common assessment instruments.
· NAEYC article, “Developing Kindergarten Readiness and Other Large-Scale Assessment Systems";
NIEER (National Institute for Early Education Research) provides an informative page that includes the latest research findings, presentations, policy briefs, and reports focusing on the assessment of young children. The site includes a data bank with information on content standards for early education.
The New Assessment: Early
Childhood Resources, Center for Family and Community Partnerships,
University of New Mexico and the Department of Education, Office of Special
Education Programs, and Early Education Program for Children with Disabilities
The center concentrates on the development and assessment of infants and young children, and has information on key issues at
NWEA has many resources on assessment as well as The Ultimate List – 65 Digital Tools and Apps to Support Formative Assessment Practices:
The Mullen Scales of Early Learning (Mullen, 1995). This test measures cognitive ability and motor development quickly from birth to 68 months:
The Office of Head Start’s website includes resources for educators and program administrators on ways to assess child outcomes, ongoing assessment, and screening. Materials include the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework and related FAQs; tip sheets focusing on various assessment topics, including the difference between screening and assessing of infants and toddlers; and more. or
· The Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five (ELOF) has five broad areas of early learning, referred to as central domains. The framework is designed to show the continuum of learning for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. It is grounded in comprehensive research about what young children should know and be able to do during their early years. To explore the ELOF, as well as resources within each of the central domains, check out the .
· High/Scope's Preschool Program Quality Assessment – PQA (High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 1989). Resources and guidelines for program assessments; https://highscope.org/assessment/program
The Ounce Scale, Pearson Early Learning. (Meisels, Dombro, Marsden, Weston, & Jewkes, 2003). This is an observational assessment instrument for infants and toddlers from birth to age 3½. Three elements and six developmental areas are included; the elements are the observation scale, the family album, and the developmental profile. Guidelines and useful information are also provided for parents and professionals. Also available in Spanish.
Early Childhood Assessment: Resources for Early Learning: This site covers informal and formal assessment methods and links:
The Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale – identifies preverbal and verbal language development problems in infants to three year olds, as well as providing essential information to early intervention team members.
Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) is a systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early and school-age care and education programs.
Teaching Strategies GOLD™ is a tool selected by many states for measuring child outcomes because it meets federal data collection and reporting requirements, and is a research-driven, criterion-based tool that uses authentic assessment practices around 38 objectives.
The Work Sampling System, Rebus, Inc. is an assessment system that measures and documents development and curriculum in preschool through 5th grade. This ongoing system focuses on performance assessment, including personal and social development, language and literacy, mathematical thinking, scientific thinking, social studies, the arts, and physical development.
ZERO TO THREE/National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, is a national organization focused just on infants and toddlers. Many resources, links and more! Webpages of special interest to this course:
· Achieving the Promise of a Bright Future: Developmental Screening of Infants and Toddlers:
· Infant, Toddler Screening & Assessment Policy:
· Developmental Screening, Assessment & Evaluation: Key Elements for Individualizing Curricula in Early Head Start Programs:
Beaty, J. (2013). Observing the development of the young child (8th ed.). New York, NY: MacMillan. This book is one of my favorites on observation. It includes extensive information on child development and an index of children’s books, both organized by domain. Also has ideas for assessment tools, their uses, and an interesting epilogue on “spirit” in ECE.
Bentzen, W.R. (2009). Seeing young children: A guide to assessing and recording behavior (6th ed.) New York, NY: Thomson- Delmar Learning. This resource contains detailed information about observation tools with many examples, forms, and tips. Also, it has informative observational exercises for students, which are organized by stage.
Billman, J., & Sherman, J. (2003). Observation and participation in early childhood settings: A practicum guide (2nd ed.). Boston MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Bredekamp, S., & Copple, C. (Eds.). (2010). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: NAEYC. Explains the concept of appropriate and inappropriate practices for children through age 8, with many examples. The single most essential resource for any teacher of young children!
Bredekamp, S., & Rosegrant, T. (1991). Reaching potentials: Appropriate curriculum and assessment for young children, vol. 1, & Reaching potentials: Transforming early childhood curriculum and assessment, vol. 2 (1995). Discuss how the curriculum and assessment interface, as well as what skills and knowledge young children should have in various domains.
Bredekamp, S., & Rosegrant, T. (1998). Windows on learning: Documenting young children’s work. This is a comprehensive guide to documentation that contains many guidelines and examples.
The Caregiver Interaction Scale (Arnett, 1989). This assessment hasn’t been updated in a while but is still useful and available for free online:
The Colorado Department of Education website has wonderful resources, including an optional 3-minute video entitled What Is Authentic Assessment?
Curtis, D., & Carter, M. (2013). The art of awareness: How observation can transform your teaching (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle Hill, MJ: Merrill Education/Redleaf Press. This book takes a different approach than usual by focusing on exercises that teach teachers how to see. Also has great samples and ideas for documents and displays.
The Division of Early Childhood (DEC). (2000). Recommended practices in early intervention/early childhood special education. This resource offers ideas for professionals working with young children with disabilities based on current research. Has details about specific issues such as child-focused interventions, family-based practices, and appropriate assessment.
Edwards, C., Gandini, L., & Forman, G. (1993). The hundred languages of children: The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. This is the book on the preprimary schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Both Italian and American educators explain the philosophy and practices of Reggio, including details about the role of the environment, teachers, curriculum, and methods of expression. Also discusses how to apply the Italian principles in American programs.
FairTest. (1991). Standardized tests and our children: A guide to testing reform. Cambridge, MA: FairTest. This is a pamphlet that explains the uses and limitations of, and alternatives to, standardized tests. Also in Spanish.
Gronlund, G., & Engel, B. (2013). Focused portfolios: A complete assessment for the young child (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Education/Redleaf Press. Easy to use and organized into four sections with practical ideas about how to collect and organize an assessment portfolio.
Harms, T., Clifford, R. M., & Cryer, D. (2013). The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale–Revised (ECERS-3). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. This scale is designed to rate childcare program environments and practices and is divided into sections: personal care routines of children, furnishings and display for children, language–reasoning experiences, fine and gross motor activities, creative activities, social development, and adult needs. . ECERS-3 is the third revision of the ECERS, designed to assess group programs for preschool–kindergarten-aged children, from 2 through 5 years of age. Total scale consists of 43 items. (Also available in Spanish). There are also other scales:
Helm, J. H., Beneke, S., & Steinheimer, K. (1997). Windows on learning: Documenting young children’s work. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Jablon, J., Dombro, A. D., Dombro, A. L., & Dichtelmiller, M. (2007). The power of observation (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies. This small and easy-to-read book has a lot of practical ideas, quotations, and tips from real teachers; illustrations of tools; and a good chapter on how to get started observing.
Jalongo, M. R., & Isenberg, J. P. (2011). Exploring your role in early childhood education (4th edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. A wonderful resource for new and experienced teachers.
Jones, J. (2003). Early literacy assessment systems: Essential elements. Educational Testing Service. This book concentrates on how literacy skills should be assessed, policies, and the key literacy determinants.
Kamii, C. (Ed.). (1990). Achievement testing in the early grades: The games adults play. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. Summarizes the problems with achievement testing and describes inappropriate and appropriate ways of assessing math and literacy.
Losardo, A., & Syverso, A. (2011). Alternative approaches to assessing young children (2nd ed.). A great resource book with many ideas for appropriate assessments, especially for diverse populations.
Marotz, L. R., & Allen, K. E. (2015) Developmental profiles: Pre-birth through twelve (8th ed.). New York, NY: Thomson-Delmar Learning. The single best book on children’s developmental milestones and red flags, in my opinion. One of the books I refer to often and believe every early educator should have—older copies are great & can be had for a bargain online.
Marchand-Martella, N. E., Martella, R. C., & Slocum, T. A. (2004). Introduction to direct instruction. Boston, MA: Pearson.
McAfee, O., & Leong, D.J. (2015). Assessing and guiding young children’s development and learning (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Many ideas for assessment methods and steps are contained in this book. Also, has appendixes on developmental red flags, samples of forms, and a great extensive guide for assessing and analyzing children’s development on a continuum.
McLeod, S. (2008). Psychology as a science. Psychology.org. Retrieved from
McDonal, S. (1997). The portfolio and its use: A road map for assessment. Little Rock, AR: Southern Early Childhood Association. Focuses on how to collect, compile, and use portfolios for assessment and more.
Meisels, Samuel J., & Atkins-Burnett, Sally. (2005). Developmental screening in early childhood: A guide (5th ed.). Washington, DC: NAEYC. Lots of excellent info & guidelines.
Mindes, G. (2014). Assessing young children (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. A comprehensive book with lots of ideas about children with special needs woven throughout.
Mitchell-Copeland, J., Denham, S. A., & DeMulder, E. K., & George Mason U. (1997). Q-sort assessment of child-teacher attachment relationships and social competence in the preschool. Early Education and Development, 8(1), 27-39.
National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC]. (2004). Early childhood curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation—Building an effective, accountable system in programs for children birth through age 8. Washington, DC: Author.
NAEYC. (n.d.). Summary of the NAEYC professional preparation standards. Retrieved from
NAEYC & NAECS/SDE. (2003). Position statement: Early childhood curriculum, assessment, and program development. Retrieved from
Popham, W.J. (2013, 7th ed.). Classroom assessment: What teachers need to know. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. A textbook, but very funny and practical.
Richarz, A. S. (1980). Understanding children through observation. St. Paul, MN: West Group. Old, but a classic on observation.
Shephard, L., Kagan, S., & Wurtz, E. (1998). Principles and recommendations for early childhood assessments. Washington, DC: National Education Goals Panel.
Shillady, A. (2004). Choosing an appropriate assessment system. Beyond the Journal. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Shores, E. F., & Grace, C. (2005). The portfolio book: a step-by-step guide for teachers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. This informative book contains a simple but useful ten-step process for creating and using different types of portfolios.
Stetson, C., Jablon, J. R., & Dombro, A. L. (2009). Observation: The key to responsive teaching. Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies, LLC. Great book on learning the skills of observation and the reasons for it.
Stiggins, R. J. (2000). Specifications for a performance-based assessment system for teacher preparation. Portland, OR: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Interesting research and recommendations.
Workman, S., & Ullrich, R. (2017, February 13). Quality 101: Identifying the core components of a high-quality early childhood program. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from
Wortham, S. C. (2011, 6th ed.). Assessment in early childhood education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. This book contains many details about types and implementation of various assessment tools, including observation. Contains extensive information about elementary school practices as well as about younger children.
Wurm, J. (2005). Working in the Reggio Way: A beginner’s guide for American teachers. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press. Lots of great Reggio Emilia–inspired ideas and explanations. Far more accessible and practical than most books on Reggio.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. (M. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Scribner, & E. Souberman, Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Brookhart, S. M., & Lazarus, S. (2016). Formative assessment for students with disabilities. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
Dichtelmiller, M. L., & Ensler, L. (2004, January). Infant/toddler assessment: One program’s experience. Beyond the Journal: Young Children on the Web. Retrieved from
Frey, B. B., Schmitt, V., & Allen, J. P. (2012). Defining authentic classroom assessment. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 17(2). Retrieved from
Giardiello, P., McNulty, J., & Anderson, B. (2013). Observation, assessment and planning practices in a children’s centre. Child Care in Practice, 19(2), 118–137. doi:
Goal 1 Early Childhood Assessments Resource Group. (1998, February.) Principles and recommendations for early childhood assessments. National Education Goals Panel. Retrieved from
Gutiérrez-Clellen, V.F. (2002). Narratives in two languages: Assessing performance of bilingual children. Linguistics and Education, 13(2), 175–197. doi:10.1016/S0898-5898(01)00061-4
Katz, L., & Chard, S. (1996). The contribution of documentation to the quality of early childhood education. Retrieved from
Lazarus, S., & Brookhart, S. M. (2016). Formative assessment for students with disabilities. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
Leong, D. J., & Bodrova, E. (2012). Assessing and scaffolding make-believe play. Young Children, 67(1), 28–34. Retrieved from
Meisels, S. J., & Atkins-Burnett, S. (2000). The elements of early childhood assessment. In J. P. Shonkoff & S. J. Meisels (Eds.), Handbook of early childhood intervention (pp. 231–257). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
NAEYC. (2005, updated 2011). Code of ethical conduct. Retrieved from
NAEYC. (2008). Associate degree standard on observing, documenting, and assessing to support young children and families. Retrieved from
NAEYC [National Association for the Education of Young Children]. (2009). Position statement: Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. Retrieved from
NAEYC & NAECS/SDE [National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education]. (2003). Early childhood curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation: Building an effective, accountable system in programs for children birth through age 8. Joint position statement.
NAEYC & NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics). (2002). (Updated 2010). Position statement: Early childhood mathematics: promoting good beginnings. Retrieved from
National Research Council. (2000). Assessment in early childhood education. Eager to learn: Educating our preschoolers. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/9745
National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2005/2014). Excessive stress disrupts the architecture of the developing brain: Working paper no. 3 (Updated ed.). Retrieved from
NWEA. (2018). Guiding instruction in intervention programs: Why mastery measures matter for progress monitoring. [White paper]. Retrieved from
Pretzel, R. E., Hiemenz, J., & Kahng, R. (2009). Assessment of young children: Standards, stages, and approaches. In S. R. Hooper & W. Umansky (Eds.), Young children with special needs (5th ed., pp. 384–415). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Project Zero & Reggio Children. (2003). Making learning visible: Documenting individual and group learning as professional development. Reggio Emilia, Italy: Reggio Children.
Sabo, T., Soliday Hong, S. L., Pianta, R. C., & Burchinal, M. R. (2013). Can rating pre-k programs predict children’s learning? Science, 6148, 845–846. Retrieved from
Sandall, S., McLean, M. E., & Smith, B. J. (Eds.). (2000). DEC recommended practices in early intervention/early childhood special education. Longmont, CO: Sopris West.
Scott-Little, C., Lesko, J., Martella, J., & Milburn, P. (2007). Early learning standards: Results from a national survey to document trends in state-level policies and practices. Early Childhood Research & Practice, 9(1). Retrieved from
Shields, K. A., Cook, D. A., & Greller, S. (2016, October). . National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from
Snow, K. (2011). Developing kindergarten readiness and other large-scale assessment systems. Washington, DC: NAEYC.
Snow, C. E., Van Hemel, S. B., & the Committee on Developmental Outcomes and Assessments for Young Children. (2008). Early childhood assessment: Why, what, and how. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Stargardter, J. (2016). Underrepresentation of minorities in gifted and talented programs: A content analysis of five district program plans. Honors Scholar Theses, 484. Retrieved from
Wesson, M., & Salmon, K. (2001). Drawing and showing: Helping children to report emotionally laden events. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 15, 301–319. doi:
Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.