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An In-Depth Guide to the How and Why of High-Quality Assessment in Inclusive Early Childhood Settings

Assessing Young Children in Inclusive Settings: The Blended Practices Approach, Second Edition


By Kristie Pretti-Frontczak, Ph.D., & Jennifer Grisham, Ed.D. with Lynn Sullivan, M.Ed.

Meaningful, authentic assessment practices are one key to the success of early childhood inclusion. Prepare current and future teachers with the second edition of this comprehensive textbook, an in-depth guide to the how and why of high-quality assessment in the context of inclusive early childhood settings. Updated with an emphasis on equity and coverage of other critical topics, the second edition of this comprehensive textbook takes a blended practices approach to assessment in inclusive settings, combining recommended practices from early childhood education and early childhood special education. Ideal for both undergraduate and graduate courses and personnel preparation programs, this comprehensive text gives teachers the knowledge and tools they need to implement high‐quality assessment and reap its benefits.

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What’s New in the Second Edition

  • New and expanded coverage of important topics, including authenticity, collaborative partnerships, and data-based decision-making
  • Increased focus on educational equity throughout the book
  • New section on considerations for special populations: dual language learners and multilingual learners, children in kindergarten, and children who have severe and multiple disabilities
  • Overview of revised versions of commonly used curriculum-based assessments, including AEPS-3, COR Advantage, and Work Sampling System
  • More practical materials including new and extended case studies, a revised Curriculum-Based Assessment Rating Rubric and glossary, and checklists of recommended practices
  • Companion materials for faculty, including PowerPoints with links to activities and resources
  • New invited contributors who are experts in the field and advocates for early childhood inclusion

Supplement Your Teaching with These Online Companion Materials

  • Chapter PowerPoints
  • Downloadable Appendices

Meet the Authors

Kristie Pretti-Frontczak, Ph.D.
Dr. Pretti-Frontczak is an early childhood consultant, past Division for Early Childhood president, and was professor at Kent State University for 16 years. Kristie designs and delivers transformative professional development and has accumulated over 50,000 hours of helping educators and leaders around the world create inclusive schools.

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Jennifer Grisham, Ed.D.
Dr. Grisham is a Professor in the Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education program and Faculty Director of the Early Childhood Laboratory School at the University of Kentucky. Jennifer has co-authored several early childhood texts and is part of a team of professionals that lead development and research on the Assessment, Evaluation, and Programming System (AEPS®).

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Lynn Sullivan, M.Ed.
Ms. Sullivan is a private consultant in the areas of special education, early childhood, and interagency collaboration. After a career in social work, Lynn spent 35 years as the early childhood consultant with Education Service Center, Region 11, in Texas.

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View the Table of Contents


Section 1: Recommended Practices
Chapter 1: Introduction
Jennifer Grisham and Kristie PrettiFrontczak
Why a Second Edition
Major Themes of this Book
Collaborative Partnerships
Educational Equity
Overview of Major Book Sections
Section I: Recommended Practices (Process)
Section II: Reasons for Conducting Assessment (Purpose)
Section III: Special Topics in Assessment
Intended Audience and Use
Definitions of Key Terms Used Throughout
Blended Practices

Chapter 2: Recommended Practices in Authentic Assessment
Kristie PrettiFrontczak, Rebecca Crawford, Lynn Sullivan, and Jennifer Grisham
Authentic Assessment
Authentic Assessment Defined
Difference Between Authentic Assessment and Conventional Assessment
Advantages and EvidenceBase
Advantages of Authentic Assessment
Support for Authentic Assessment
Flipping the Script

Chapter 3: Family Involvement in the Assessment Process
Julie Harp Rutland, Ashley LyonsPicard, Jennifer Grisham, and Kristie PrettiFrontczak
Involving Families in the Assessment Process
Ecological Systems Theory
Adult Learning Theory
Family‐Centered Practices
Legal Mandates
Involving Families in the Assessment Process
Team Member
Benefits to Families and Children
Approaches for Gathering Assessment Information from Families
Unstructured Approaches
Structured Approaches
Considerations for Gathering Reliable Information from Families
Understanding Levels of Family Involvement
Effective Communication Strategies
Considerate Scheduling
Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Defining Priorities
Setting Individual Goals
Program Planning

Chapter 4: Recommended Practices for Determining Technical Adequacy
Kristie PrettiFrontczak and Jennifer Grisham
Technical Adequacy
Classification Measures
Common Practices Related to Conventional Assessment
Calculating Chronological Age
Establishing Basal Ceiling
Adjusting for Prematurity
Interpreting Results

Chapter 5: Critical DecisionMaking Process
Lynn Sullivan, Kristie PrettiFrontczak, and Jennifer Grisham
Overview of the DecisionMaking Process
Step One: Gathering
Guiding Principles: What to Observe
Guiding Principles: Who Observes
Guiding Principles: When and Where to Observe
Guiding Principles: How Often to Observe
Step Two: Documenting
Written Descriptions
Visuals and Artifacts
Counts or Tallies
Step Three: Summarizing
Numerical Summaries
Visual Summaries
Narrative Summaries
Step Four: Analyzing
Step Five: Interpreting
Appendix A: Lists of Recommended Practices for the Decision MakingProcess

Section 2: Reasons for Conducting Assessments
Chapter 6: Assessment for Program Planning Purposes
Kristie PrettiFrontczak, Jennifer Grisham, Lynn Sullivan, and Sarah HawkinsLear
Definition and Purpose of Assessment for Program Planning
Conducting Program Planning Assessments
Selecting a CBA for Program Planning
CBA Rating Rubric
Administering CBAs
Assessment Fidelity
Assessment Activities
Using Information from CBAs to Program Plan
Making Decisions for Program Planning
Identifying Who Needs to Learn What
Sorting Children by Outcomes
Multi‐Tiered Systems of Support
Appendix B: Revised Curriculum:Based Assessment Rating Rubric and Glossary

Chapter 7: Assessment for Progress Monitoring Purposes
Jennifer Grisham, Kristie PrettiFrontczak, Ashley LyonsPicard, Sarah HawkinsLear, and Lynn Sullivan
Progress Monitoring
Recommended Progress Monitoring Practices
Holistic Appraoch to Progress Monitoring
Progress Monitoring Decision:Making
Tiered Model of Progress Monitoring
Sharing Progress Monitoring Information
Communicating with Families
How and When to Share Progrss Monitoring Information

Chapter 8: Recommended Practices in Identifying Children for Special Services
Kristie PrettiFrontczak and Jennifer Grisham
Child Find
Purpose and Requirements
Common Activities and Recommended Practices
Traditional and Contemporary Screening Approaches
Screening Types and Formats
Screening Types
Screening Formats
Recommended Screening Practices
Determining Eligibility for Services
Federal Regulations
Federal Categories
Developmental Delay
State Variations
Recommended Practices for Eligibility Determination
Transdisciplinary Teaming During Eligibility
Report Writing

Chapter 9: Program Evaluation
Jennifer Grisham and Kristie PrettiFrontczak
Types and Reasons for Conducting Program Evaluation
Individual Classroom‐Level Evaluations
Local Program‐Level Evaluations
State‐Level Evaluations
Federal Program Evaluations
Methods of Collecting Program Evaluation Data
Child Outcome Data
Program Observations
Stakeholder Input
Record Reviews
Recommended Practices
Planning for Program Evaluation
Conducting a Program Evaluation
Using Program Evaluation Data

Section 4: Considerations for Special Populations
Chapter 10: Recommended Practices for Assessing Children Who are Dual Language Learners (DLLs) or Multilanguage Learners
Lin Zhu, Jennifer Grisham, Kristie PrettiFrontczak, and Ashley LyonsPicard
General Considerations for Assessing Children Who are DLLs or Multilanguage Learners
Challenges of Assessing Children Who are DLLs or Multilanguage Learners
Special Recommendations
What to Assess
How to Assess
Influences and Biases
Intechangeable Cuing Systems
Alternative, Flexible Materials
Alternative Responses

Chapter 11: Recommended Practices for Assessing Children with Severe and Multiple Disabilities
Jennifer Grisham, Ashley LyonsPicard, and Kristie PrettiFrontczak
Transdisciplinary Teaming
General Considerations for Assessing Children with Severe and Multiple Disabilities
Children with Complex Medical Needs
Special Recommendations
What to Assess
How to Assess
Influences and Biases
Interchangeable Cuing Systems
Alternative, Flexible Materials
Alternative Responses

Chapter 12: Kindergarten Assessment
Julie Rutland, Jennifer Grisham, Lynn Sullivan, and Kristie PrettiFrontczak
Kindergarten Readiness and Kindergarten Assessment
Timely Referrals and Tiered Instruction
Program Planning in Kindergarten Classrooms
Curriculum Based Measures
Curriculum Bases Assessments