Early Childhood Assessment

Child assessment is a vital component of high quality early childhood education programs. The designated assessment tool for Alabama First Class Pre-K and the P-3 program is Teaching Strategies GOLD®. The Department supports programs and educators in using assessments to do what is best for young children. The following timeline is in place to help educators grow confident in the use of the assessment tool, and the use of assessment to intentionally plan teaching opportunities.

2-Hour GOLD Introduction Module: 2 weeks from access

10-Hour GOLD Module: Ongoing face-to-face training

Interrater Reliability Certification: 30 days from initial face-to-face training

Failure to meet the GOLD Professional Development timeline may result in a fine of up to $500.00 for each missed expectation, as outlined in the First Class Pre-K Program & Classroom Guidelines.

GOLD Introduction Module:

The GOLD® Introduction module is a beginning look at how formative assessment data informs planning and helps teachers individualize instruction. In the module the objectives for development and learning, the structure and components of GOLD®, and the four steps of the ongoing assessment process are explored. Teachers complete 2 weeks after gaining TSGOLD username and password. Training certificate is issued at completion. Send PDF to coach/monitor. Teachers are encouraged to keep a copy for their records.

Interrater Reliability Certification:

It is important to use GOLD® reliably, both to scaffold children’s learning and because your program administrator uses your data in some way for reporting purposes.  When you use assessment results to inform instructional decisions, accurate ratings enable you to choose effective teaching strategies. Teachers must complete IRR (Preschool, including dual language learners and children with disabilities) 30 days from FACE to FACE Training.    

AlaKIDS Alabama Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills

The transition to Kindergarten is one of the most significant transitions that a young child experiences in his or her formative years. What happens may lay the foundation for a child’s adjustment to and future success in school.

The ADECE is particularly concerned about the early learning development of a child and its impact on closing the achievement gap. Due to COVID19, Alabama’s early learning programs, childcares and livelihoods of families have been disrupted. This disruption has put many of Alabama’s children at risk of entering kindergarten behind the widely held expectation. To identify possible developmental concerns and learning needs, ADECE will be administering a Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA) to all entering kindergarten students in Fall 2020, called AlaKIDS: The Alabama Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills.

AlaKIDS will provide the Kindergarten teacher with needed information to begin immediately meeting the individual developmental learning needs of each child. Teachers will be provided training and all related supplies and materials by ADECE, and AlaKIDS will be administered within the first month of the school year.

Research shows children entering behind widens the achievement gap. ADECE has selected a vendor through the state’s competitive RFP process to create a unique tool specific to Alabama early educators, AlaKIDS, that will ensure all entering kindergarten students will be identified with possible developmental concerns and learning needs. AlaKIDS will provide the Kindergarten teacher with baseline information to inform instruction and begin immediately meeting the individual needs of each child. An early assessment can lead to better outcomes for children by informing instructional practices and program development.

“Kindergarten is the place in which children make important conclusions about school as a place where they want to be and about themselves as learners. If no other objectives are accomplished, it is essential that the transition to school occur in such a way that children and families have a positive view of the school and that children have a feeling of perceived competence as learners,” (Bailey in Pianta, 1999, p. xv). The National Center for Early Development and Learning (NCEDL) points out that the transition to Kindergarten is a significantly important time to establish competencies critical to a child’s school success and achievement. They point out that the transition involves not only how children adjust to Kindergarten, but also how families and schools interact and cooperate. Their research documents that it is not just the child who makes a transition – families and school personnel are also involved (NCEDL, 2002). A successful transition to Kindergarten is seen as a key component of school readiness (Pianta & Kraft-Sayre, 2003). Research shows that children who experience continuity as they enter the formal world of elementary school are more likely to be successful in school (Glicksman & Hills, 1981; Lombardi, 1992; Pianta & Cox, 1999). Research conducted in the last fifteen years has also shown that children, especially those at risk for school failure, who experience continuity as they enter the formal world of school are more likely to sustain gains that were achieved in preschool programs. Early school adjustment has been shown to have a long-term impact on children’s later school success (Pianta & Cox, 1999; Parker & Asher, 1987).

To learn more about Early Childhood Assessment, please contact the Director of Innovative Projects & Assessment, Jeannie Allen, at (334) 224-3171 or by email at jean.allen@ece.alabama.gov.