Preschool Assessments

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By:
Cross Country Education
Posted:
December 15, 2021 23:12 PM (GMT-05:00)
Categories:
Educator Resources

School psychologists play a vital role in identifying preschool students who may need special education supports and services. Preschool assessment is a complex and challenging task because many of the characteristics that are typical of preschool children can make assessment difficult. The preschool evaluation process should always be collaborative with other members of early childhood service teams including the school psychologist, speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, general education teacher, special education teacher, and parents.  Multiple assessors may be observing or taking turns interacting with the child within the same assessment time window.

Young children who have received Regional Center services will need to have their school-based evaluation conducted, and IEP meeting held, prior to their 3rd birthday. School psychologists will also need to collaborate with the Regional Center service coordinator to receive previous reports from the child’s past assessors, doctors, and service providers. These results will be summarized in the school-based psychoeducational report as well. After the child turns 3, the school district will then provide required special education services for the child.

A comprehensive and thorough preschool assessment should evaluate multiple domains, including: Cognitive/Early Academic, Adaptive, Social-Emotional, Communication, and Fine and Gross Motor. Information should be gathered from multiple sources and using the RIOT model (record review, interviews, observations, and testing). Social, behavioral, and learning observations may take place at a designated classroom / playroom at the assessing school, and also at the child’s current preschool.  The child’s parents and current teachers will be valuable sources for interviews and rating scale data. A comprehensive evaluation like this will allow for the identification of a student’s strengths and weaknesses across all developmental areas. As school psychologists, we are mostly in charge of the evaluation in the areas of Cognitive, Adaptive, and Social-Emotional. Below are some suggestions on assessments that can be administered in each of these areas:

All Areas

  1. DAYC-2: Offers parent and teacher input forms in all 5 Domains (Cognitive, Adaptive, Social-Emotional, Communication, and Motor) as well as observation tools.  
  1. DP-3:  Offers parent and teacher input forms in all 5 Domains (Cognitive, Adaptive, Social-Emotional, Communication, and Motor).

Cognitive

  1. KABC-II: Normed for students ages 3:0 to 18:11
  1. DAS-II: Normed for students ages 2:6 to 17:11

Social-Emotional

  1. BASC-3 (Overall functioning)
  1. ASRS, GARS-3, or CARS-2 (Autism specific)

Adaptive

  1. Vineland-3
  1. ABAS-3

This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather suggestions of common assessments used in preschool evaluations. For more information, see NASP’s position statement on assessing young children and this link for more assessment recommendations.

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