Overview of the main Early Years assessment tools identified as being used currently in Wales

In document The review of Early Years child assessment tools used in Wales (Page 78-101)

Birth to three matters Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

Birth to three years

Launched in November 2002by the Department for Education and Skills, Birth to three matters is a framework to support those practitioners working with very young babies and children.

It provides information on child development, effective practice, examples of activities which promote play and learning, guidance on planning and resourcing, and ways to meet diverse needs. Four aspects of child development are identified as:

• a strong child

• a skilful communicator

• a competent learner

• a healthy child.

Key worker Taking the child as the focus, each aspect is divided into four components which in turn have four specific criteria against which judgements can be made.


Four age-related stages of development are also described which enable

practitioners to identify relevant

characteristics of children in their setting.

• Heads up, lookers and

Ccmmunicators (0–8 months).

• Sitters, standers and explorers (8–18 months).

• Movers, shakers and players (18– 24 months).

• Walkers, talkers and pretenders (24–36 months).


from: www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/Birth

British Picture Vocabulary Scale: 3rd Edition – BPVS III Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

3–16 years

BPVS3 assesses children’s receptive (hearing) vocabulary. The teacher says a word and the child responds by selecting the picture (from four options) that best illustrates the word’s meaning.

The questions sample words that

represent a range of content areas such as actions, animals, toys and emotions and parts of speech such as nouns, verbs or attributes, across all levels of difficulty.

Teachers, SENCOs and speech therapists in mainstream and special education settings

As no reading is required, BPVS3 can be used to assess language development in non-readers and especially children with expressive language impairments.

As no spoken response is required, BPVS3 may be administered to children with autism and other related

communication difficulties.


Timing: Untimed, approx. 10 minutes.

Format: Paper

Available from:

www.gl-assessment.co.uk/products/british-picture-vocabulary-scale-third-edition www.winslow-cat.com/british-picture-vocabulary-scale-3rd-edition-bpvs-iii.html

Bury Infant Check Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring


years Assesses children in reception classes who have special needs and may need intervention.

Key areas include: language; learning style; memory; number; perceptual and motor skills.

A quick test can be used on a whole class to identify children who will need to take the full check which identifies areas that need special attention.

Individual Comprises sixty assessment items, only thirteen of which are teacher-rated.


Available from:

Pearson & Quinn, NFER-Nelson, 1986.

www.etcconsult.com/schools/302-early-years-bury-infant-check-age-41-56-Classroom Monitor Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

Birth–60 months

5 to 11 years

Classroom Monitor is an online

assessment, tracking, and report-writing system.

Closely aligned to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Comes pre-loaded with criteria for every subject from the National Curriculum, P-Scales and ’Assessing Pupils’

Progress’ (APP) materials which offer schools a set of criteria, guidance and exemplars for making judgements about learners’ progress in relation to national curriculum levels.


Classroom Monitor links automatically to the school’s

Management Information System /database (SIMs/

Facility, etc.).

Teachers record their learners’ progress against learning objectives.

Uses an online mark book with a traffic light system tosupport early intervention.

Supports school self evaluation and report-writing.

Available from:


Denver Developmental Screening Test II (DDST-II) Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

2 weeks–

6 years

The Denver Screening Test (DDST) provides a method of screening for evidence of development delay in infants and preschool children.

The test screens a child’s development in four functions/domains:

• gross motor

• language skills

• fine motor-adaptive

• personal-social.

The health visitor questions the parents and observes the child attempting

developmental age range tasks.

Completed at home or in a clinic.

Each child is scored within a range of norms, enabling the user to obtain an overview of the child's development and to identify relative areas of strength and weakness.

The result is a surveillance and

developmental measuring method, similar to a growth chart, which allows further investigation of any areas of concern.

A guidance sheet is followed and the results recorded on a standard chart.

An online test similar to the paper version is also available.

Time: 10–20 minutes

Available from:


Developmental Journals (Children in Wales) Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

0–5 years NB: There are no ages

attached to the Developmental Steps.

Primarily for children with additional learning needs/complex medical needs, the Developmental Journals focus on what the child can do, building a positive record of each child's achievement over time.

Typical patterns of child development are described under seven ‘Areas of Learning’ (the same as those used in the Foundation Phase). Each journal has a series of 14 Developmental Steps. Skills and behaviours associated with each Step are identified under the seven Areas of Learning.

Each behaviour or skill has three boxes headed ‘Emerging’ (seen for the first time), ‘Developing’ (seen

sometimes) and ‘Achieved’ (seen often). When the parent has decided which of these most closely describes their child’s behaviour, they simply put a date and/or a tick in the appropriate box.

Designed to be used by and with families, the journals support partnership working between families and practitioners by

providing a structured framework for


There are four sets of developmental materials.

Developmental journal (the generic version) is designed for families who know or suspect that their child is unlikely to progress in the same way or at the same rate as other children – whether or not a particular factor or

The final element of the Developmental journal is the Developmental Profile. Its aim is to help parents see the pattern of their child’s progress as they move through Developmental Steps.

learning difficulty has been identified and given a name.

The remaining three sets focus on celebrating the development of children with specific additional needs:

Developmental journal for deaf babies and children – designed for families with a young deaf child. A particular focus on emerging communication and language.

Developmental journal for babies and children with Down syndrome – designed to support early

intervention by improving

understanding of the developmental processes involved when a child has Down syndrome.

Developmental journal for babies and children with visual

impairment – designed for families with a young child who has a visual impairment.

Available from:


Effective Early Learning (EEL) Programme/Child Involvement Scale Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

0–3 years (BEEL) and 4–7 (EEL)

The Effective Early Learning (EEL) Project and Baby Effective Early Learning (BEEL)are professional development tools of supported

self-evaluation and improvement for all settings that provide early education and care for young children. Nine child involvement signals are identified as:

• concentration

• energy

• complexity and creativity

• facial expression and posture

• persistence

• precision

• reaction time

• language

• satisfaction.

This is an observation method which aims to measure the level of a child’s involvement in an activity. It is child focused and attempts to measure the process of learning, rather than concentrating on outcomes.

The signals are not designed to be used on a scale basis. They are a means of making an overall judgement of the child’s involvement using the 5 point scale.

Each observation is recorded on a Child Involvement Observation Sheet.

The 5 point scale which measures

involvement (see The Leuven Well-being and Involvement scales) is then used to come to an overall judgement.

Individual children are observed. Each

observation to last two minutes.

Each child is observed three times per session but not continuously.

A total of six

observations/twelve minutes per child.

Available from:

Professor Chris Pascal, Worcester University www.crec.co.uk/EEL

First STEp: Screening Test for Evaluating Preschoolers Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

Level 1:

2.9 – 3.8 years Level 2:

3.9 – 4.8 years

An assessment tool to detect mild developmental delays and identify children who need in-depth diagnostic testing.

Childcare worker Individual

Timing:15 minutes Focus on: cognition, communication

and motor skills

Scaled scores are stratified by age for five Domains.

Available from:


Health for All Children (Hall 4) Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring


children Health for All Children (Hall 4) sets out principles for preventive health care, health promotion and an effective community-based response to the needs of families, children and young people. It reflects the current evidence base that every child and parent should have access to a universal or core programme of preventive preschool care.

Formal, universal screening for speech and language delay, global

developmental delay, autism, and post-natal depression is not

recommended. Health professionals should elicit and respond to parental concerns.

Health professionals discuss with parents and take on board any concerns they may have, responding as appropriate.

Health professionals follow the guidelines set out in Hall 4 when carrying out

ongoing surveillance of the general health and development of the child.

Available from:

Health for All Children (Hall 4) by Hall and Elliman, published December 2002 www.health-for-allchildren.co.uk

Information on the National Screening Committee’s policy position on child health screening is available at:


Incerts Assessment System Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

3–7 years Allows teachers in Wales to record assessments against the Foundation Phase Outcomes.

The Outcome Descriptors have been arranged into skill ladders. Each curriculum statement is presented as sub-levels (e.g. 2a, 2b or 2c) with three developmental steps:

• beginning to demonstrate the particular behaviour

• does it reasonably frequently

• fully grasped it.

Demonstrates how learners progress from one sub-level to the next.

Used for recording assessments of learners, and

sometimes supporting evidence.

By clicking on a sub-level tickbox, the teacher is stating that through their expertise and professional judgement, they have determined that the learner is able to display the skill described in the statement.

Dependant on the quality and consistency of assessment

judgements that are entered into the system.

Incerts calculates a learner’s level based on the ticks entered.

The system generates a range of graphs and reports, in each case combining stored data with a pre-designed

template. Levels and numeric scores are usually combined and a spreadsheet is generated; statements or sentences may be combined so that a Word document is generated for end or year reports, next step reports, etc.

The analysis function enables users to look at learners’ progress, displayed as a graph, over time and progress towards a current target. Users can compare classes and groups, and progress from year to year.

Available from:

Incerts is an independent, non-profit organisation www.incerts.org/wiki?page=overview Also a password protected CDAP site cdap.incerts.org

The Leuven Well-being and Involvement Scales Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

Developed by the Research Centre for Experiential Education (Leuven

University – Belgium) under the supervision of Dr. Ferre Laevers.

Key worker observes the children individually or as a group for about two minutes.

Five point scales which measure both well-being and involvement. Unless children are operating at four or five, learning will be limited.

If there is a consistent low level of well-being and/or involvement, it is likely a child’s development will be limited.

The tool focuses on two central indicators of quality early years provision:

• children’s well-being

• children’s involvement.

Available from:

Mary Sheridan; Children's Developmental Progress from Birth to Five Years; the Stycar Sequences Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring


years The STYCAR sequences, developed by M. D. Sheridan (1976), measure four fields of development:

• posture and large movements

• vision and fine movements

• hearing and speech

• behavior and play.

Each field of development is divided into several specialised skills.

Widely used as a reference for professionals training or working in health and social care.

A table of expected

‘norms’ within a specific age range describing key stages in the development of motor, perception,

communication, play, independence and social skills.

Used as a guide on the expected normal range of children reaching their

developmental milestones.

Results provide an informative record of a child's developmental progress.

Available from:

Book: Sheridan, Mary D. From Birth to 5 years; Children’s Developmental Progress.

Revised and updated by Marian Frost and Dr Ajay Sharma. (Rutledge 2003)

Modified-Checklist for Autism (M-CHAT) Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring


months The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) is a validated developmental screening tool designed to identify children at increased risk of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

A questionnaire with 23 questions.

Used by specialists or other professionals to screen for

developmental delay ASD and autism.

5 minutes

The M-CHAT can be administered and scored as part of a well-child check-up.

The M-CHAT structured follow up interview with the parent is designed to reduce the false positive rate (false positive cases are children who fail the M-CHAT but do not have an autism spectrum disorder).


from: www.m-chat.org/

National Child Assessment Framework Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

All children (and their families)

A framework for the assessment of children in need and their families.

Health visitors Some LHBs in Wales have devised their own assessment tool/checklist based on the ‘triangle’ below.

A systematic approach which uses a conceptual map for gathering and analysing information about all children and their families.

Home assessment

Discriminates between different types and levels of need.

Available from:


Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring


The scale looks at a wide range of behaviours.

The examiner has a behavioral ‘portrait’

of the infant, describing the baby's strengths, adaptive responses and possible vulnerabilities. The examiner shares this portrait with parents to develop appropriate care giving strategies aimed at enhancing the earliest relationship between babies and parents.

Health professional Used in mother and baby units and with the Integrated Family Support service.

Timing: 20–30 minutes

28 behavioural items each scored on a 9-point scale, which assess the infant's behavioural response to positive and negative stimuli.

Does not yield a single score but instead assesses the baby's capabilities across different developmental areas.

The Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring


A structured set of observations designed to help the clinician and parent together, to observe the infant's behavioral capacities and identify the kind of support the infant needs for his successful growth and development.

Health professionals;

paediatricians Recording form and parent questionnaire.

A set of 18 neurobehavioral observations, which describe the newborn's capacities and behavioural adaptation.

Available from:


Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS) Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

3–4 years Performance Indicators in Primary Schools On-Entry Baseline is a

standardised assessment system that is designed to monitor learners’

educational progress during the Reception year.

Provides assessment of attainment in the areas of reading, mathematics and phonological awareness. The

assessment provides a basis for measuring the relative progress of pupils through Reception and beyond because they take into account the starting points of individual children.

PIPS On-Entry Baseline is carried out in the first month that the child is in

Reception; September, January and at Easter. The Follow-Up assessment is carried out in June. Personal and social development is assessed through teacher ratings of key features.

The assessment is completed by an adult working with each child on a one-to-one basis.

Hand entered data is sent to the CEM data processing department and data from the CD-ROM version is uploaded to the CEM website or emailed back to PIPS.

On receipt, the school data are processed and printed feedback produced. Final reports include a standardised value added progress score and a record of personal and social development for each child.

Feedback is also made available on the CEM secure website along with other tools such as Foundation Profile mapping and data analysis software.

Comparison with national data also enables teachers to identify gifted and talented/ALN learners at an early stage.

Timing: 15–20 minutes Available in either text, a coloured booklet that the adult and child work through together, or CD-ROM format.

The adult records the child's responses on a learner record sheet.

With the CD-ROM version, the child's responses are recorded on the computer.

Available from:

PIPS is offered by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University.


Pre-School Behaviour Checklist (PBCL) Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

2 to

5-year-old A 22-item checklist which helps professionals objectively screen

children for behavioural and emotional difficulties.

Individual; The

examiner observes the child and marks the degree that best describes the child’s behaviour. Items are scored for frequency and severity.

For use in pre-school and nursery schools, the checklist covers emotions conduct, temper, activity level,

concentration, social relations, speech, language, habits, wetting, and soiling.

Each item lists three or four degrees of a particular behaviour.

Timing: not specified Includes a

Developmental activities checklist.

By comparing total scores to criterion cutoff scores in the manual provided, the examiner can determine whether the child has an emotional or behavioural need that requires intervention.

Available from:


Salford Sentence Reading Tests (SSRT) Age

range Purpose Administration Scoring

From about age 6 to 13+

A test of oral reading based on a series of sentences of graded difficulty. Especially suitable for assessing children who appear to be failing to make satisfactory reading progress.

Everyday contexts and vocabulary make this test suitable for use with less able readers.

One-to-one oral delivery by classroom teachers and SENCOs.

Standard record sheet

facilitates scoring, diagnostic analysis and monitoring of progress.

Timing: 4–5 minutes per child

Manual gives reading ages up to 11:3, with standardised scores for less able readers extending to age 13 for reading accuracy (age 14 for comprehension).

Available from:

www.hoddereducation.co.uk/Title/9781444149456/New_Salford_Sentence_Reading_Test_Specimen_Set.ht m

Schedule of Growing Skills II (SoGS II) Age

Range Purpose Administration Scoring

Birth to 5

A structured, standardised tool to assess developmental milestones in children. Assesses skills in the following nine areas of development:

Manipulation, Locomotion, Vision, Hearing, Speech and language,

Interactive, Self care; and Social skills.

SoGS can also be used to screen for developmental delays, allowing

practitioners to build a comprehensive profile of a child’s wider learning needs to inform referral or intervention.

Health visitors Approx. 15–30 minutes Untimed; approx

10–14 minutes

The assessment is plotted on a standard scoring sheet against chronological age.

Scoring provides a graphical

representation of a child’s developmental level and identifies whether a child is reaching developmental milestone or achieving at one band above or below.

One band below or above is still in the acceptable age range. Two bands or more below will identify potential developmental issues or delays with further investigation required, e.g. referral to paediatrician.

Each record form allows for up to four assessments of any one child, providing an indication of progress over time.

Paper Individual;

professionals observe and assess reactions while the child ‘plays’

professionals observe and assess reactions while the child ‘plays’

In document The review of Early Years child assessment tools used in Wales (Page 78-101)