Navigating Virtual Delivery of Assessments for Head Start Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Leiah J.G. Thomas, Monica G. Lee, Cate Smith Todd, Kathleen Lynch, Susanna Loeb, Scott McConnell, Lydia Carlis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Many preschool agencies nationwide continue to experience closures and/or conversions to virtual or hybrid instruction due to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite the importance of understanding young children’s learning and development during the COVID emergency, limited knowledge exists on adaptable practices for assessing young children during the pandemic. We assess the learning of 336 Head Start children across four states and three different time periods during the 2020 to 2021 school year, using adaptations of traditionally in-person assessments of early numeracy, early literacy, and executive functioning. In doing so, we distill early lessons for the field from the application of a novel, virtual assessment method with the early childhood population. This article describes the adaptations of assessment administration for virtual implementation and incorporation of feedback into continued virtual delivery of assessments. Applications and limitations in broader contexts are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-167
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Early Intervention
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Sarah Barton, Stacy Calabretta, Demetra Kalogrides, Jennifer Lin, and Camille Maddox for their data assistance. The authors acknowledge the contributions of Drs. Alisha Wackerle-Hollman and Erin Lease of IGDILab at the University of Minnesota, and Heidi Lund, Sara Salewske, Hailey Lucas, and colleagues at Renaissance Learning for their advice, guidance, and assistance in designing procedures for remote administration of Individual Growth and Development Indicators. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 SAGE Publications.


  • assessment
  • components of practice
  • preschoolers
  • research methods
  • young children


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