Early Childhood Assessment
Early childhood assessment, as part of a comprehensive assessment system, is designed to use developmentally appropriate measures to inform the learning process.
The R.I. Department of Education is committed to developing a comprehensive assessment system, aligned with the internationally benchmarked standards that will provide data to inform curriculum and instructional decisions at the State, LEA, school, and program levels. The goal of Rhode Island’s existing comprehensive assessment system at the PreK-12 level is to increase student learning by producing actionable information that informs the learning process in addition to providing data to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and ensuring that all students are making progress toward achieving important learning objectives.
While the purposes of assessment in early childhood classrooms and schools are the same as those for older children, the design of a comprehensive assessment system in early childhood is necessarily different because of the age of the child. Assessment of children in this age range is significantly impacted by the nature of the young child. Early childhood development and learning is rapid, episodic, and highly influenced by experience. In the preschool and early elementary years, rates of development in all areas outpace growth rates at any other time and because children develop and learn so rapidly, assessments given at one point in time might not give a complete picture of a child’s abilities. (Comprehensive Assessment System