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IFSP Tutorial - Evaluation and Assessment

Comprehensive Evaluation and Assessment:

Recommended Reading

Losardo, A. & Notari-Syverson, A. (2001). Alternative approaches to assessing young children. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing Co.

This book focuses on qualitative evaluation/assessment of child development using informal methods such as structured and unstructured observation, portfolios, videotaping etc. In-depth discussion of six alternatives to traditional assessment for children from birth-age 8. Many examples of documentation checklists and forms are included.


Meisels, S. & Fenichel, E. (1996). New visions for the developmental assessment of infants and young children. Washington DC: Zero to Three, National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families

This book discusses promising approaches in developmental assessment from diverse perspectives of families and early intervention specialists. Excellent chapters include parent perspectives, assessing young children with diverse sociocultural backgrounds, and new approaches to assessing a child's adaptive competence, play, emotional/social development, and communication.


Meisels, S. & Atkins-Burnett, S. (2000). The elements of early childhood assessment. In J. Shonkoff & S. Meisels (eds), Handbook of early childhood intervention (second ed), pp.231- 257. New York: Cambridge University press.

This book chapter discusses research supporting alternatives to formal assessment of child development with standardized tools. Five elements of early childhood assessment are discussed: viewing a child as part of a family unit, the context in which assessments take place, limitations of traditional methods of assessment, varied roles for early intervention providers in assessment and the relationship of assessment to implementing family supports and services.


Shackelford, J. (2002). Informed clinical opinion. (NECTAC Notes # 10). Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, FPG child Development Institute, National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center.

This brief document clarifies "informed clinical opinion" by discussing it's meaning in the context of Part C early intervention services, how it affects the determination of eligibility, and why it is necessary to document the sources and use by early intervention service providers.


Especially for families:

Popper, B. (1996). Achieving change in assessment practices: A parent’s perspective. In S. Meisels & E. Fenichel (1996). New visions for the developmental assessment of infants and young children (pp. 59-65). Washington DC: Zero to Three, National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.


This article, written by a parent advocate, identifies eight guidelines for parents participation in their child’s developmental assessment:

1. Your role in an assessment is to be the parent.
2. No matter what your background, you will not know all the technical terminology that might be used, and you do not have to.
3. You do not have to agree with everyone at the assessment, or with anyone at all.
4. Feeling “outnumbered” can be difficult.
5. As time passes, you may wish to be more or less involved in the process of assessment.
6. The process of making decisions at each stage of assessment will increase your ability to advocate for your child.
7. If you feel that an assessment is not adding to your understanding or helping you discover what you need to know, tell the team.
8. Find support for yourself over time, and find other who will benefit from what you have learned.






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