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Research helps early educators evaluate children’s growth

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  • Jody E. Jepson/Assessment Technology Incorporated

New research from Assessment Technology Incorporated (ATI) provides early childhood programs with expected growth rates for children from birth through 5 years in multiple areas of learning such as language, physical development and health, and social and emotional development.

Using the growth rates, programs can evaluate whether children are meeting growth expectations and whether learning opportunities need to be adjusted to promote growth.

ATI Research Scientist, Dr. Sarah Callahan, states, “Early childhood educators are charged with providing children with appropriate learning opportunities and tracking child growth. The results of this research give educators empirical information about how much growth children of different ages can be expected to show in each area of learning over a given time period. This critical information helps educators evaluate whether the learning opportunities provided to children are supporting adequate growth.”

The data for the studies were collected by over 80 early childhood programs in 40 states as part of ongoing observational assessments conducted during the 2012-13 program year using ATI’s Galileo® Pre-K Online technology.

Galileo provides early childhood educators with a complete assessment, curriculum, and reporting system supporting the evaluation of child progress and the planning of developmentally appropriate learning opportunities.

Galileo uses procedures based in Item Response Theory to translate observational assessment data into an estimate of child ability for each area of learning, the Developmental Level (DL) score. Child growth can then be measured via the change in DL score over time.

In the current studies, ATI conducted regression analyses to establish the expected growth rate for various age ranges and areas of learning based on the observed change in child DL scores over time.

Results revealed that growth rates typically increased as a child’s age increased; however, growth rates for children in a given age range were similar across different areas of learning.

Results also indicated that children can be expected to show about as much growth from birth to 3 years as they do each year thereafter from 3 through 5 years.

Read the full research briefs, Growth Rates in Multiple Developmental Domains for Children Ages Birth Through 3 and Growth Rates in Multiple Developmental Domains for Children Ages 3 Through 5 at  

For more information contact ATI at 877.442.5453, or Follow and like us on Facebook.

Sarah Callahan, Ph.D., Research Scientist, ATI

Sarah Callahan received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at the University of California, San Diego based on research investigating language comprehension in English and Spanish. During her graduate studies, Dr. Callahan was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship as well as two National Institutes of Health pre-doctoral fellowships. Dr. Callahan joined ATI in 2010. As a research scientist with ATI, Dr. Callahan conducts research including statistical analysis of assessment data using principles and techniques based in Item Response Theory. Dr. Callahan also collaborates in the development of new approaches to assessment and instructional intervention.

About Assessment Technology Incorporated:

ATI, established in 1986, is the leading provider of instructional improvement and instructional effectiveness technology assisting today’s educators in their mission to enhance learning. ATI’s flagship applications, Galileo® K-12 Online and Galileo Pre-K Online, provide educators with tools and services designed to enhance learning at all stages of development from infancy through the 12th grade. Both applications are built on the principles of science, supported by a commitment to research and guided by a vision that everyone should benefit from the opportunities and transformations of technology. For more information, visit the ATI website.

CONTACT: Jody E. Jepson, ATI Senior Communications Coordinator, or Elyse L. Palm, ATI Communications Coordinator,