Standard 4: NAEYC Accreditation Criteria for Assessment of Child Progress

Program Standard: The program is informed by ongoing systematic, formal, and informal assessment approaches to provide information on children’s learning and development. These assessments occur within the context of reciprocal communications with families and with sensitivity to the cultural contexts in which children develop. Assessment results are used to benefit children by informing sound decisions about children, teaching, and program improvement.

Rationale: Teachers’ knowledge of each child helps them to plan appropriately challenging curricula and to tailor instruction that responds to each child’s strengths and needs. Further, systematic assessment is essential for identifying children who may benefit from more intensive instruction or intervention or who may need additional developmental evaluation. This information ensures that the program meets its goals for children’s learning and developmental progress and also informs program improvement efforts.

Definition of Assessment of Child Progress: Assessment is the process of observing, recording, and otherwise documenting what children do and how they do it as a basis for a variety of educational decisions that affect the child. Assessment procedures should be consistent with the 2003 Joint Position Statement from NAEYC and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education, “Early Childhood Curriculum, Assessment, and Program Evaluation: Building an Effective, Accountable System in Programs for Children Birth through Age 8” (see appendix C). Assessment involves the multiple steps of collecting data on a child’s development and learning, determining its significance in light of the program goals and objectives, incorporating the information into planning for individuals and programs, and communicating the findings to families and other involved people. Assessment of child progress is integral to curriculum and instruction. In early childhood programs, the various assessment of child progress procedures that are used serve several purposes: (a) to plan instruction for individuals and groups, (b) to communicate with families, (c) to identify children who may be in need of specialized services or intervention, and (d) to inform program development.

Within each of the 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards are topic areas that highlight the big ideas to more fully express the meaning and value of the standard. Each topic area includes criteria that further define the meaning of quality in that area. The topic areas are identified by letters (A, B, C, etc.). The number of topic areas within a standard varies. The following chart presents the topic areas for this standard. Click on the topic area to link to the accreditation criteria.

Topic Area

Creating an Assessment Plan

Using Appropriate Assessment Methods

Identifying Children’s Interests and Needs and Describing Children’s Progress

Adapting Curriculum, Individualizing Teaching, and Informing Program Development

Communicating with Families and Involving Families in the Assessment Process