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10 Tips for Transitioning to the New AEPS-3

The new AEPS®-3 system published last winter, and many programs are beginning to use it for the first time this school year. If your program is looking to make a smooth transition to AEPS-3, follow the 10 practical tips below.

  1. Use the color coding to your advantage.

Each of the 8 developmental areas—plus the Ready-Set, a shorter new measure focused on school readiness skills—has its own bright color throughout the AEPS-3 print and online system. These colors will help you quickly navigate the system.

See the colors for each area with this AEPS-3 Areas & Strands poster.


  1. Familiarize yourself with the new scoring options.

In AEPS-3, items scored as a 1 (emerging performance) should include qualifying notes—1A for assistance, 1I for incomplete, or 1AI for both. And remember to use the scoring notes: report (R), modification (M), conduct (C), and performance quality (Q).

Read Chapter 2 in AEPS-3 Assessment, Volume 2 for detailed scoring information.


  1. Use the new Quick Reference Guides.

These handy, on‐the‐go guides provide all AEPS‐3 Test items and criteria in a clear, convenient format. Use these colorful guides as a helpful resource as you observe children and administer the test. (You can print unlimited copies for staff from the AEPS-3 Forms USB.)

See the Fine Motor Quick Reference Guide.


  1. Access resources in Spanish.

Make the most of the Spanish translations that AEPS-3 has to offer. Spanish versions of the Child Observation Data Form, Quick Reference Guides, family forms, family handouts, and more are all included on the AEPS-3 Forms USB and accessible inside the AEPSi system.

Read Chapter 6 in AEPS-3 User’s Guide, Volume 1 to see how AEPS-3 responds to diversity.


  1. Simplify test administration by starting with the goals first.

Review the goals and identify ones that are clearly below and above a child’s developmental level—you can score these without observing them. And if a child scores a 2 (mastery performance) on a goal, all corresponding objectives can be scored as 2s.

Read Chapter 2 in AEPS-3 Assessment, Volume 2 for detailed scoring information.


  1. Strengthen family involvement with new resources.

You can now collect vital information from families with two forms—the AEPS-3 Family Report, which gathers information regarding daily routines and the child’s participation in family activities, and the AEPS-3 Family Assessment of Child Skills. Be sure to share the family-friendly handouts on the AEPS-3 Forms USB to streamline communication.

Read Chapter 4 in AEPS-3 User’s Guide, Volume 1 for information about engaging families.


  1. Use the Skill Matrix to link assessment items with teaching strategies.

A helpful grid for each developmental area clearly links the test items to curriculum routines/activities and levels. These grids are included in the curriculum volumes, the AEPS-3 Forms USB, and inside AEPSi.

View the Skills Matrix for the Social-Emotional area.


  1. Evaluate school readiness with the AEPS-3 Ready-Set.

This new, shorter tool gathers child assessment data on skills needed for school readiness and early school success. New to the third edition, the Ready‐Set contains 40 developmentally advanced AEPS‐3 goals across all 8 areas of the AEPS‐3 Test. Ready-Set supports efficient assessment of groups of children in preschool and Head Start classrooms, and it allows you to easily move to the full AEPS‐3 Test for children who need it.

Read Chapter 6 in AEPS-3 Assessment, Volume 2 for information about AEPS-3 Ready-Set


  1. Use assessment activities to streamline test administration.

The AEPS-3 system includes naturalistic home- and center-based assessment activities for administration of all test items for AEPS-3 and Ready-Set to up to 5 children at a time. Assessment activities are found in AEPSi, AEPS-3 Assessment, Volume 2, and the AEPS-3 Forms USB.

Read an article about using the assessment activities.


  1. Use AEPS-3 in AEPSi.

With the new AEPSi system for AEPS-3, you’ll get automated scoring, powerful data management, robust reporting, and the ability for families to complete forms online.

Keep an eye out for live demos of the new AEPSi system later this fall. And if you’re an existing AEPSi user, visit our Transition page.


For more details on effectively implementing AEPS-3, read the introductory chapters in the AEPS-3 Assessment and Curriculum volumes. And be sure to sign up for the AEPS newsletter for more practical tips and strategies!