Issues In Preschool Assessment Marissa S. Reed, Ed.S. School Psychologist

Issues In
Preschool Assessment
Marissa S. Reed, Ed.S.
School Psychologist
Troup County School System
LaGrange, Georgia
Purposes of Preschool
Assessment (Nagle, 2000; Appl, 2000)
 Screening
 Diagnosis
 Individual
program planning
and monitoring
 Program evaluation
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Importance of Preschool
Early detection=better outcomes (Feil &
Severson, 1995)
 Child-find screenings
 National education goal (NCLB): starting
school ready to learn (USDOE, 1992)
 Early intervention required by IDEA
(Bailey, 2000)
 Children who are at-risk included also
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Population (Nagle, 2000)
Rapid developmental change
 Behavior during testing may affect
accuracy of test results
 Approach testing situation differently
than school-age students
 Familiarity with strangers varies largely
 View scores as current level of
development which is constantly
 Lack of prior school experience
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Issues to Consider
(Bracken, 2000)
Child’s temperament
 Examiner approachability, affect, and
physical presence
 Behavior management
 Environment
– Furniture, decorations, distractions,
climate, seating arrangement
Test floors and ceilings
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Traditional vs. Alternative
Methods of Assessment
(Nagle, 2000)
Traditional: standardized, norm-referenced
Battelle Developmental Inventory
Stanford-Binet, 5th Edition
Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children
Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of
Intelligence, 3rd Edition (WPPSI-III)
Bracken Basic Concept Scale, 2nd Edition
Differential Ability Scales (DAS)
Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development,
3rd Edition
Preschool Language Scale, 4th Edition
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Traditional vs. Alternative
Methods of Assessment
(Nagle, 2000)
– Play-based assessment (Ross, 2000 [Best
– Direct observation
– Parent interviews
– Parent-child interactions
– Clinical judgment rating scales
– Curriculum-based assessment
– Portfolio assessment (Mills, 1994)
– Individual Growth and Development
Indicators (IGDIs) (Best Practices)
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Traditional vs. Alternative
Methods of Assessment
(Nagle, 2000)
 Bracken:
problem is not the actual
tests, but administration of test that
does not consider the nature of the
child or reason for referral
Use complementary assessment: best of
both worlds
 Sattler:
behavioral state and
temperament play a large role
 Bag of tricks
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Assessment of Behavior
Functional Behavior Assessment
(Conroy & Davis, 2000)
 Parental input is crucial
– Rating scales
– Developmental history
 Parental point of reference
– First child; different children’s development
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Family Focus (Nagle, 2000)
Individual Family Support Plans (IFSP)
instead of IEP
 Parent participation
– May be first contact with professionals
– Parents as valuable source of information
regarding representativeness of child’s
performance (validity of results)
– Observation of parent-child interaction
– Initial notification of problems or diagnoses
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Importance of Ecological
Perspective (Paget & Nagle, 1986)
Settings and significant individuals
 Social learning theory
 Each child and their ecology as unique
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Best Practices in Early
Intervention (Barnett, 2000)
– Interesting and developmentally
appropriate environments
– Scanning
– Guides, rules and consequences
– Functional analysis
– Modeling and opportunities to practice
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Best Practices in Early
Intervention (Barnett, 2000)
Interventions for Language and Literacy
– Milieu Language Interventions
– Early Literacy
Interventions for Challenging Behaviors
– High probability sequences
– Alternative responses and functional
communication training
– Choices
– Timed positives, fixed-time, or
noncontingent reinforcement
– Correspondence Reed,
School Readiness
Cognitive development
 Social-emotional development
 Communication and language
 Sensorimotor development
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Home Activities to
Promote School Readiness
(Resource Team, 1992)
Healthy pregnancy and mother’s nutrition
Regular health care after birth
Verbal communication with child
Reading to child
Opportunities to write, draw, sing, dance, and tell
Exposure to a variety of materials
Value on education and learning
Visits to libraries, museums, and cultural activities
Asking children questions
Opportunities to play and explore
Social interaction with other children
2005 self-worth
Build a sense of security
Important Skills for
School Psychologists
(Nagle, 2000)
Training in traditional and nontraditional
Evaluation of technical adequacy of
Knowledge of related issues
Ability to establish collaborative relationships
is imperative
Field-based practicum and internship
Continuing professional development in early
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intervention and preschool
Appl, D.J. (2000). Clarifying the preschool assessment process:
Traditional practices and alternative approaches. Early
Childhood Education Journal, 27 (4), 219-225.
Bailey, D. B. (2000). The federal role in early intervention:
Prospects for the future. Topics in Early Childhood Special
Education, 20 (2), 71-78.
Barnett, D.W. (2000). Best practices in early intervention. In
A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best Practices in School
Psychology IV. Bethesda, MD: NASP.
Bracken, B.A. (2000). Maximizing construct relevant
assessment: The optimal preschool testing situation. In B.A.
Bracken (Ed.) The psychoeducational assessment of preschool
children (pp. 33-44). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Conroy, M.A., & Davis, C.A. (2000). Early elementary-aged
children with challenging behaviors: Legal and educational
issues related to IDEA and assessment. Preventing School
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Failure, 44 (4), 163-168.
Feil, E.G., & Severson, H.H. (1995). Identification of critical factors in the
assessment of preschool behavior problems. Education & Treatment of
Children, 18 (3), 261-272.
Mills, L. (1994). Yes, it can work!: Portfolio assessment with preschoolers.
Paper presented at the Association for Childhood Education International
Study Conference, New Orleans, LA, March 30-April 2, 1994.
Nagle, R.J. (2000). Issues in preschool assessment. In B. A. Bracken (Ed.),
The psychoeducational assessment of preschool children (pp. 19-32).
Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Paget, K.D., & Nagle, R.J. (1986). A conceptual model of preschool
assessment. School Psychology Review, 15 (2), 154-165.
Resource Team on National Education Goal 1 (1992). Starting school ready
to learn. Questions and answers on reading national education goal 1: ‘By
the year 2000, all children in America will start school ready to learn.’
United States Department of Education.
Ross, R.P. (2000). Best practices in the use of play for assessment and
intervention with young children. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.) Best
Practices in School Psychology IV. Bethesda, MD: NASP.
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