Special Education 437

EDSP 437: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation in Early Childhood Special Education

Prerequisites: EDSP 360 or EDSP 361, and 2.5 GPA

Credit Hours: (3)

Provides participants with knowledge of the selection, administration, and interpretation of formal and informal assessment techniques for young children with disabling and at-risk conditions and their families.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Participants will be provided knowledge and experience in assessing pre-school children’s cognitive, social-emotional, communication, motor, adaptive and aesthetic development. A variety of formal instruments and informal procedures will be presented and required of participants in order to make valid decisions about children’s learning and development. This assessment information will be used to collaborate with other professionals conducting family centered assessments and formulation of the IEP and IFSP.

Course content includes:

1.Distinguishing characteristics of pre-school students with disabilities

  • The referral process
  • Review of basic statistics, scale of measurement,

2. Evaluating tests

  • reliability and validity
  • cultural bias

3.Early childhood assessment.

  • standardized testing vs. alternatives

4.Family centered assessments, (maternal reports)

  • screening procedures and informal assessment
  • Neonatal Assessment (medical risk scales)
  • Infant Neurological Exam

5. Apgar screening techniques

  • sensory assessment

6. Developmental tests (norm-referenced and criterion-referenced)

  • Behavior rating scales/play assessment

7. Readiness and pre-academic instruments.

8. Measures of cognitive abilities.

9. Parent conferencing,

  • eligibility committee responsibilities,
  • developing the IEP and IFSP.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will involve a lecture format with class discussion, audio/visual presentations, simulations (role-playing, free writes, written exams and group activities). Students will be required to administer and score tests, behavior checklists as they are presented in class.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

In order to identify, interpret and refine specific recommendations for preschool special education children this course will prepare each participant to:

1. identify and interpret tasks/procedures involved in an evaluation process to ensure valid decisions about children’s learning and development,
2. describe several assessment models for identifying preschool disabilities,
3. identify the distinguishing characteristics of preschool disabilities,
4. discuss the legal ramifications and ethical considerations involved in the evaluation process,
5. demonstrate understanding of the purpose, limitations and statistical terminology of various diagnostic instruments,
6. demonstrate the ability to work professionally with families, school personnel and other professionals,
7. demonstrate the ability to enter a testing situation, establish rapport with the child being evaluated and determine if the testing situation had any effect on the child’s performance,
8. show competencies for collecting relevant assessment information via systematic behavioral observations, informal evaluations, parent interviews, and the administration of selected norm-referenced and criterion-referenced instruments,
9. interpret the results of standardized tests,
10. distinguish norm-referenced from criterion-referenced measures, including the instructional applications of each,
11. apply information regarding test validity and reliability in selecting an instrument,
12. evaluate standardized tests in terms of technical and practical criteria, cost, administration time, ease of administration, format, alternate forms, scoring procedures, ease of interpretation and norms,
13. assess children’s cognitive, socio-emotional, communication, motor, adaptive and aesthetic development,
14. integrate informal and formal evaluations in a written report leading to the development of an IFSP or IEP,
15. illustrate competency at communicating these findings and recommendations orally to appropriate individuals including the parent, school personnel, and course instructor.


Assessment Measures

Participants will be assessed through free-writes, written and oral exams. The focus of the course evaluation will be on the completion of a diagnostic report that includes the evaluation and synthesis of simulated data provided by the instructor. This evaluation report will include goals for an IEP and IFSP.


Other Course Information

This course is a required professional education course for the early childhood and early childhood special education teaching licensure option.


Review and Approval

September 2001 Alice Anderson