The What and Why of Child Assessments

The What and Why of Child Assessments The What and Why of Child Assessments Want to learn more about child assessments Download The What and Why of Child Assessments Self-Reflection Worksheet. Child assessments determine how young children are developing across all developmental domains and evaluate their strengths, progress, and needs. It is an ongoing process that fulfills multiple purposes. Trends in assessment data can inform curriculum planning, teaching, and individualizing for each child across the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. The quality of the assessment data can point to areas where staff need additional training or support when assessing and using assessment tools. Assessments are an important—and often time-consuming—part of program practice. The Head Start Program Performance Standards require programs to use child assessments, but they don’t require or recommend any specific tools. Early childhood educators are often responsible for choosing, administering, interpreting, and using the results of child assessments. Many report feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with these responsibilities. Others are frustrated by the limitations of the measures. The Oklahoma University’s Early Childhood Education Institute (ECEI) recently examined measures currently available to assess very young children, specifically infants and toddlers, noting fewer choices designed for use with children younger…

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Mapping Teacher Turnover and Student Homelessness

Mapping Teacher Turnover and Student Homelessness Mapping Teacher Turnover and Student Homelessness NHSA worked with Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University to create data visualization tools analyzing two critical trends in Head Start programs across the country. Using publicly-available data from the Program Information Report (PIR) and other sources, the team of students created two dashboards to take a deeper dive into data focused on at-risk populations of Head Start children and staff turnover. Dashboard One: Homelessness and Foster Care The first dashboard focuses on particularly vulnerable populations of Head Start children: those experiencing homelessness and those in foster care. Head Start is committed to supporting children and families experiencing homelessness. The Head Start Program Performance Standards include specific standards dedicated to supporting the unique challenges that children and families experiencing homelessness face in order to ensure healthy development and school readiness. However, it can be challenging for programs to reach families who are highly mobile. The students created graphs comparing state-by-state how these populations are supported by Head Start. One so-called “heat map” shows what percentage of the Head Start children in each state are experiencing homelessness or in foster care. For example, nearly 1 in 6 children served…

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