Bright Start TN Clearinghouse


0-5 Early Learning Assessments

What is it?

Early learning assessments are tools used to gather critical information on children’s growth in various developmental areas. There are two methods of early learning assessments. Informal assessments involve collecting data from observations, children’s portfolios, and educator ratings. Formal assessments involve collecting data from questionnaires and standardized tests. Assessments should be ongoing and cyclical so that providers can make improvements; aligned with instructional goals; conducted by an assessor who has a pre-existing relationship with the child; take place in a child’s normal environment; and occur during different children’s activities. 

What is the evidence base?

Early learning assessments identify children who may need additional support or intervention services. Assessments are also used to help educators plan individualized instruction, provide guidance to parents on how to foster learning at home, evaluate program quality, and inform policy decisions. 

What are the common early learning assessments?

  • Teaching Strategies GOLD
  • Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA)
  • Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)
  • NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
  • HighScope Child Observation Record (COR)
  • Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT)
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