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Early Childhood Programs

Information for Early Learning Providers

Early learning Outcomes Basic Information and Documents

New Announcements

Resources on Assessments and Best Practices

Approved Assessment Vendors for 2016-17

Information for Assessment Vendors

Early Learning Outcomes Reporting

Assessing children's progress in early childhood programs. Assessment is a critical piece in high-quality standards-aligned programs.  Parents, teachers and caregivers are the most qualified to assess young children because they observe children in authentic environments, and are most familiar with each child’s development and learning expectations.  Teachers observe children through all activities in the day that yield the necessary information to determine skill levels. They collect information through many different sources of evidence, such as regular family engagement, observations throughout a child’s daily routines, collection of children’s artwork or writing samples, and by talking with the child or other adults about the child's accomplishments. This information is used to make good decisions about how to support children’s learning and development. 

Child outcome data should not be used to determine placement in a program, class or special education, or to deny or exclude access to eligible services.   

Reporting child outcomes. Pennsylvania is transforming how child outcomes are reported through the Early Learning Network (ELN). Started in 2012-13, the new strategy allows early childhood providers to choose from a list of approved child assessment tools. Within these tools, providers are able to create their own classrooms, enter staff and children, and generate teacher and parent reports by fully utilizing the assessment company’s online products. ELN no longer limits a provider’s ability to use an online assessment tool. Child outcomes reported to the state will consist of only those outcomes that align to specific PA Early Learning Standards.


information for early learning providers

  • Resources on Assessments & Best Practices
    • Best Practice for Assessments 
      • GUIDING PRINCIPLES ON EARLY CHILDHOOD ASSESSMENTS FOR EDUCATORS AND PROFESSIONALS, BIRTH TO AGE 8 (GRADE 3)  The fundamentals of assessment that we apply to young children are part of a continuum of learning that begins at birth and extends through kindergarten to grade three. This is an updated main resource on early childhood assessments, for those looking to learn more about assessments. 
      • BASICS The BASICS (Basics on Assessments Systems Informs and Cultivates Success) Sheets summarize key points and fundamentals on assessments, mentioned in the main resource. Available for those looking for compact informational one-pagers to educate; for educators and professionals within the early childhood field; and for staff, families, children, and anyone looking to be informed and learn about assessments.   

1. Basics One
Terminology and definitions
2. Information for Teachers/Practitioners
Seven assessment skills and examples
3. Four Assessment Types
What, when and why
4. Choosing Assessments
13 Questions to ask
5. Outcomes
Ultimate benefit, goal, training and support of outcomes

         6. Pennsylvania’s Comprehensive Assessment System

Approved Assessment Vendors for 2016-2017

    Vendor Information

    Assessment Technology Incorporated (ATI)


    National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)


    Teaching Strategies LLC (TSI)

    Assessments should be an on-going process. Providers should use the assessments companies suggested timeline for reporting within their vendor system. Full or Partial Assessment information is sent to OCDEL's Master Repository on a nightly basis. Updates are added as they are entered. 


    The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) within the Pennsylvania Departments of Human Services and Education (Department) is issuing this Request for Information (RFI) to seek input from the publishers of evidence-based authentic assessments that are interested in submitting authentic assessment tools for review and possible use by child care/early learning providers in certain OCDEL-funded programs. Our hope is that the strategies and solutions identified in the responses will assist the Department and the Commonwealth in making informed decisions on the best approach.

    In 2015, the Commonwealth issued a Request for Information for interested vendors for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which was due April 1, 2015.

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