Assessment in early childhood special education

Scott R McConnell, Naomi L. Rahn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Assessment has long been acknowledged as an essential feature in the provision of early childhood special education (ECSE) services, both as a major element of eligibility determination and a required element of intervention planning and ongoing evaluation for children and families. In recent years assessment practices available for young children with disabilities and their families have become more sophisticated and broader in application across a wide range of settings. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of this historical role and to highlight features of the emerging uses of assessment as a central feature of high-quality services for infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities, their families, and those who serve them. In particular, this chapter argues for an expanded view of assessment-one where assessment practices, carefully aligned and intertwined with formal and informal services and supports, increase the efficacy and efficiency of societal efforts to promote young children’s development. Given this approach to assessment, we describe basic features of assessment, including its core purpose and functions and the quality standards for its use, and review four major functions of assessment in early intervention and ECSE: eligibility and identification for specialized intervention, program planning, intervention and fidelity assessment, and progress monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Early Childhood Special Education
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783319284927
ISBN (Print)9783319284903
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Assessment
  • Children with disabilities
  • Children with special needs
  • Early childhood
  • Early childhood special education
  • Early intervention
  • Evaluation
  • Norm-referenced
  • Program planning
  • Progress monitoring
  • Special education
  • Standards


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