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.



Resources on Assessments & Best Practices


  • GUIDING PRINCIPLES ON EARLY CHILDHOOD ASSESSMENTS FOR EDUCATORS AND PROFESSIONALS, BIRTH TO AGE 8 (GRADE 3) (PDF) – 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 (PDF) – 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

  • FRAMEWORK FOR A COMPREHENSIVE AND ALIGNED ASSESSMENT SYSTEM FOR PENNSYLVANIA. (PDF) – This infographic provides a visual representation of large amounts of information related to Pennsylvania’s comprehensive assessment system. For those looking for a visually stimulating overview of Pennsylvania’s Early Learning System of Assessment.
  • SUMMARY TABLES ON EACH EXAMINED ASSESSMENT AND SCREENING TOOL (mentioned in the main resource) (PDF) –  The assessment tools are grouped into tables in the following document. The Summary Tables summarize common information from each assessment and screening tool examined. The tables will offer guidance for those looking for specific information regarding the reliability and validity of commonly used assessment and developmental screening tools to better help select appropriate tools for the populations they serve.



Important information for assessment vendors: Pennsylvania state-funded programs are required to use an approved assessment to assess and monitor a child’s developmental progress. Student assessments guide instructional practice, professional development and technical assistance to programs and provide a method for reporting all progress of children. If interested in becoming an approved assessment vendor/tool, please contact Maryanne Olley at 717-214-8434 or for more information.