Early Learning Assessment FAQs - For Administrators

General Questions

Administering the Early Learning Assessment

System and Technology

Professional Development, Training and Qualifications


General Questions

    What is the Early Learning Assessment?

    Ohio’s Early Learning Assessment (ELA) is a tool teachers use with preschool-age children. Teachers use the tool to determine the current level of each child’s skills, knowledge and behaviors. The ELA is an ongoing formative assessment that gives teachers information to support the continuous growth of preschool-age children.

    The ELA is not a test. Teachers do not remove children from the classroom to assess. Teachers use the tool to determine a child’s current developmental level based on observation. Then, teachers use the information they collect to plan activities for the growth of each individual child.

     
     

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    What is Formative Assessment?
    Formative Assessment is a process. The first step of the process is to gather information. Then, the next step in the process is to reflect on information to plan activities that support quality learning and development. For more about formative assessment, see ELA for Teachers

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    What is the purpose of the Early Learning Assessment?
    The ELA promotes structure to help teachers’ document, analyze and make instructional decisions. Teacher’s make instructional decisions based on the information they collect while observing children.

    The ELA has multiple purposes, including: 
    • Monitoring the growth and development of preschool-age children 
    • Providing teachers with the information to individualize learning  
    • Reporting data for the Federal Requirements, including IDEA required Early Childhood Outcomes

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    What is a Learning Progression?

    A Learning Progression defines a series of skills, knowledge or behaviors for children 36 months to 72 months. This series of skills, knowledge or behaviors includes children who may be at earlier developmental levels than their peers. There are 32 Learning Progressions in the ELA. 

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    What are the benefits of the Early Learning Assessment?
    The ELA has many benefits for children, teachers and policymakers.

    For children, the ELA uncovers real learning and developmental experiences. Teachers who use the tool get concrete evidence to plan future instruction for their children. And, for policymakers, the ELA provides a common measure of children’s learning aligned to the Ohio’s Early Learning and Development Standards (OELDS). OELDS is a state framework that support a child’s learning growth from pre-k through kindergarten. 

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    What Ohio programs are required to use the ELA?

    As of fall 2016 and continuing for school year 2018-2019, only programs serving children funded by Early Childhood Education (ECE) or Preschool Special Education (PSE) are required to use the ELA. Programs must use the 10-Required Learning Progressions and report on funded children.

    Right now, any Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) 3-5 star rated programs may attend training on the assessment. Programs may begin using the assessment following successful completion of the training.

    As a reminder, SUTQ program standards require that programs select and adopt a comprehensive curriculum. They must also link curriculum, assessment and progress-monitoring with the Ohio Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS) in all domains. Ohio’s Early Learning Assessment (ELA) is directly aligned to the ELDS and is required to be used for assessment and progress-monitoring twice annually for any Preschool Special Education (PSE) and Early Childhood Education (ECE) grant funded children. SUTQ programs may use whatever comprehensive curriculum they choose, so long as they take the necessary effort to evaluate evidence of student growth and development against the performance levels delineated in the Skills, Knowledge, and Behaviors (SKBs) for the required 10 Learning Progressions in the ELA. Programs must report the 10 required Learning Progressions on PSE and ECE funded children.  

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    How do I explain the Early Learning Assessment to families?

    There are a number of resources for talking with families about the Early Learning Assessment that could be used at family visits, orientations, or sent home. 

    Here is one resource created specifically to welcome families to preschool: 

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Administering the Early Learning Assessment

    How can programs use the ELA as a comprehensive assessment to meet SUTQ assessment requirements?
    Ohio’s Early Learning Assessment (ELA) is directly aligned to Ohio’s Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS) and is required to be used for assessment and progress monitoring twice annually for Preschool Special Education (PSE) and Early Childhood Education (ECE) grant-funded children. The Ohio ELA is a comprehensive assessment and may be used in its entirety in any preschool program to meet the Step-up-to-Quality (SUTQ) assessment requirements. The SUTQ program standards require that programs select and adopt a comprehensive curriculum. They must also link curriculum, assessment and progress monitoring with the ELDS in all domains.

    For all ECE and PSE funded children, the minimum ELA requirement includes: For SUTQ rated programs:
    • If a program chooses to use the ELA as their comprehensive assessment, the program:
      • May or may not include the Fine Arts Domain
      • Must assess all children in all Learning Progressions (32 or 28) at a minimum of two times per year following the same schedule as the ECE and PSE schedule
      • Must report only the 10 required Learning Progressions for the ECE and PSE funded children to EMIS or EAS
      • May use KReady or the Bridge form to document and report the required 10 LPs
      • May use the KReady system to document and generate reports on all SKBs (ODE-licensed programs only)
      • Ohio's Early Learning Assessment: Comprehensive Assessment
    • If a program does not use the ELA as their comprehensive assessment, the program:
      • Must use another research-based comprehensive assessment on all children
      • Must assess ECE and PSE funded children on the 10 required Learning Progressions of the ELA and must also assess these children with their chosen comprehensive assessment
      • Must report only the 10 required Learning Progressions for the ECE and PSE funded children to EMIS or EAS

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    How does the Early Learning Assessment (ELA) support the Child Outcomes Summary (COS) for a preschool child with a disability?
    Although the ELA is required for every preschool child with a disability, there is no requirement that the entire assessment must be completed within 30 days of eligibility for special education to complete the COS. Multiple sources of information should be documented, including evidence from the ELA.  However, it is not necessary or required to administer or refer to all 72 Skills, Knowledge and Behaviors (SKBs) in the entire ELA to gather the required evidence needed for the outcome performance measure areas. To clarify the requirements for the COS, please refer to the resources found on the Preschool Special Education Webpage
     

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    How is the ELA implemented?
    The assessment of young children is ongoing. The purpose of the ELA is to determine the current developmental level of children. As such, results are required to be reported at a minimum of twice per year during the assessment windows. 
    Assessment Windows  Time Frame  Assessment Requirements 
    Fall Aug. 15 – Nov. 14 Required for reporting
    Winter Nov. 15 – Feb. 14  Ongoing for best practice 
    Spring  Feb. 15 – May 14  Required for reporting
    Summer May 15 – Aug.14  Ongoing for best practice 

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    Should the results of the ELA be used as part of the teacher evaluation?

    Child specific scores should not be tied to a teacher’s performance evaluation. Rather, the focus should be on the quality of the evidence that the teacher has produced using the ELA. 

     

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    What are the similarities and differences between the ELA and the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment

    The ELA and KRA are part of Ohio’s comprehensive assessment system addressing all essential elements of school readiness.

    Both the ELA and KRA are directly aligned to the Ohio Early Learning and Development Standards (OELDS)

    ELA KRA
    Serving Preschool-Age Children Benefiting Kindergarten-Age Children
    Ongoing throughout the Year Administering Runs from the First Day of School through November 1 
    Evaluating is Entirely Observational using Learning Progressions as a Guide Evaluating includes Performance Tasks/ Direct Response Items and Observational
    Reporting Child Performance Results Twice per Year to the State Reporting Child Performance Results Once to the State

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    What are the 10-required Learning Progressions?
    The ten-required Learning Progressions are: Awareness and Expression of Emotion, Cooperation with Peers, Relationships with Adults, Communication, Phonological Awareness, Vocabulary, Number Sense, Coordination-Small Motor, Personal Care Tasks and Safety and Injury Prevention.
     
    For each of the required progressions, the users must gather a minimum of one piece of evidence for each observational rubric and assign a score for each observational rubric.
     

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    When are the assessment windows?

    There are four assessment windows throughout the school year: 

    Fall:   Aug 15 - Nov 14
    Winter:     Nov 15 - Feb 14
    Spring:     Feb 15 - May 14
    Summer:  May 15 - Aug 14

     

     

     

     

    Programs receiving ECE or PSE funding must complete the 10-Required Learning Progressions assessment during the fall and spring windows, and are encouraged to use it during the winter and summer windows.

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    What is the Implementation Schedule?

    Programs that are serving Early Childhood Education or Preschool Special Education funded children are required to use Ohio's Early Learning Assessment 10-Required Learning Progressions twice annually (fall and spring) and report scores on 10-Required Learning Progressions for those funded children. 

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System and Technology

    What is the KReady System?

    The Ready for Kindergarten Online system supports the administration of the ELA, including:

    • Providing various ways to score students in the system 
    • Delivering dashboard access to student assessment results for immediate use by teachers 
    • Ensuring more than one teacher can be assigned to a student within the system to enter data on behalf of that child 
    • Working so that the last score for each assessment item entered at the close of the assessment window is what counts for reporting
    • Making a variety of reports available within the system during and after the administration window
    Teachers can learn more in the professional development section of their KReady account. Professional Development includes: important grab-n-go resources, an overview of the online system with tutorials, guides, technology tips and tricks, and information about using the app. Teachers can find reports available through the administration window and use them to inform instruction. 

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    What is the role of the Data Manager (DM)?

    A data manager is the individual who has access to teacher and student demographic information. It is this person’s responsibility to add teachers, students, and enrollment data to the Ready for Kindergarten Online system. You have to be registered in the Ready for Kindergarten system as a data manager in order to enter or access any data.

    ODE Programs: To get access, an individual must be selected by the school or district to serve in this capacity. Each participating program must assign the role “Assessment Data Manager-Preschool and Kindergarten” in the Ohio Educational Directory System (OEDS). It is up to the local organization to determine who will fulfill this role at the local level.

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    What supports are there for the role of the Data Manager (DM)?

    Data managers can learn more about their role and find resources to support them online. The Ohio Data Managers ELA Guide is a living document designed for Ohio Data Managers. You can find this guide along with many other important resources at the ELA Administrators site. 

    The Ohio K12 Help Desk provides support for the ELA. Go to http://www.ohio-k12.help or call 844-K12- OHIO (844-512-6446) to submit a ticket. The Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education hosts an electronic learning community for data managers. Go to the Data Manager Site for how-to presentations, guidelines and templates, webinars, common validation errors, and support information. 

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    Is there a difference between the assessment window and the reporting window?
    Yes. The assessment window is a period of time when teachers collect data. The reporting window is a period of time when programs enter the data into the EMIS or EAS reporting system.

    Since assessment is ongoing and connected to the teaching and learning process, the state requires reporting assessment data twice each year – once in the fall and once in the spring.

    We strongly recommended that teachers collect data throughout the year, even during winter and summer, for a fuller assessment of the child’s progress. There are four assessment windows. Two of these windows are also reporting windows. 
    Assessment Windows Reporting Windows
    • Fall: Aug. 15 – Nov. 14 (required for reporting) 
    • Winter: Nov. 15 – Feb. 14 (ongoing for best practice) 
    • Spring: Feb. 15 – May 14 (required for reporting) 
    • Summer: May 15 – Aug.14 (ongoing for best practice)
    The reporting windows are determined by the Education Management Information System (EMIS) and Enterprise Application System (EAS).

     

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Professional Development, Training and Qualifications

    Who in my program should attend the ELA training?

    Before collecting evidence for the ELA, staff must attend and complete the Early Learning Assessment (ELA) training. Staff includes any early care and education professionals* employed by the program. Staff must complete the training that includes demonstrating reliability on a video simulator and passing a content knowledge test. Click on the links below to learn more.

    *Early care and education professionals: Include but are not limited to teachers, lead teachers, assistant teachers, classroom aides, paraprofessionals, early care professionals, educators, early childhood teachers, early childhood intervention specialists, supervisors, itinerant teachers, directors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, school psychologists, speech/language pathologists, data managers, other staff members identified by the program.

    Administrators may choose any early care and education professionals who are program staff to attend the ELA training. Administrators and other individuals (co-teachers, assistant teachers, itinerant teachers, etc.) are strongly encouraged to complete the training. We highly recommended that Administrators also attend the ELA training so they understand the ELA and how it relates to the education of young children.

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    How do teachers obtain a copy of the ELA?
    Most trainers will provide participants with a copy of the ELA.

    There are two versions of the ELA.
    • There is the Comprehensive version, which includes all 32- Learning Progressions, a Teacher Guide, Student Observations and Sample Reporting Forms. There is an insert to the Comprehensive version called Adaptations, which is recommended for Universal Design.
    • There is also the 10-Required Learning Progressions version. The 10-Required Learning Progressions version contains only the Learning Progressions that are required for reporting.
    Additional copies can be ordered online for staff who have received the ELA training. 

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    What Data Manager Resources are available?

    There are many support resources available to help users with understanding the Ready for Kindergarten (KReady) online system, reporting requirements, and trainings.

    Data Manager Resources: The Ohio Data Managers ELA Guide is a living document to support Ohio Data Managers. You can find this guide along with many other important ELA resources online.

    The Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education hosts an online learning community for data managers. Go to the Data Manager Site for how-to presentations, guidelines and templates, webinars, common validation errors, and support information.

    The Ohio K12 Help Desk provides support for statewide K12 education programs, including the ELA. Go to www.ohio-k12.help or call 844-K12-OHIO (844-512-6446) to submit a ticket for technical assistance.

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    What Reporting Resources are available to Teachers and Data Managers?

    There are many support resources available to help users with understanding the Ready for Kindergarten (KReady) online system, reporting requirements, and trainings. 

    Reporting Resources: The Bridge Document links the paper and pencil administration of the ELA and the online submission of data to EMIS and EAS. Programs will use the Bridge Form until KReady is fully operational.

    The Bridge Form is a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet that is a transitional process for collecting and reporting scores. The spreadsheet is programmed to calculate the 10-Required Learning Progression scores that need to be reported to EMIS or EAS for those children funded by ECE or PSE dollars. For questions regarding reporting data for the ELA, consult the Data Reporting Decision Tree.

    The Bridge Form is designed to move teachers closer to submitting ELA data in an electronic format. The Bridge form empowers teachers to use this data to improve student-learning opportunities. For guidance on administering the ELA, see the ELA Guide and Sample Reporting Forms. Sample forms are for programs that administer the ELA in a paper/pencil environment then move that data to the Bridge form to generate the 10-Learning Progression scores necessary for reporting. There are additional sample forms available on the ELA for Teachers website in Microsoft Word so that teachers may customize them as needed. Downloads are available in the grey Resource box on the right.

    We want to support all programs administering the ELA. Here are several technical assistance resources:

    • Bridge - Quick Start Guide – a one-page step-by-step 
    • Bridge - Quick Start Video – a short video demonstrating how teachers use this form 
    • ELA Help Desk – Visit Ohio K12 Help to access: 
      • ELA Knowledge Base 
      • ELA Resources 
      • ELA News/Announcements o Request a Teacher Account o Request Support – If there is an easy fix, it will be sent to you by email. If the Help Desk needs to talk to you to resolve the issue, you will get a phone call. 
    • Finally, there are instances where individuals may not be able to make a scoreable decision from the evidence collected. In this case, it is important to remember to indicate an “N” for those particular items and chose the appropriate reason code. Programs then need to be sure to have a communication plan in place to share the non-scoreable reason codes with those entering the data within the EAS or EMIS systems.

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    What Training Resources are there for Teachers and Administrators?

    There are many support resources available to help users with understanding the Ready for Kindergarten (KReady) online system, reporting requirements, and trainings. 

    Training Resources: Prior to initial use, teachers who will be making scoring decisions must successfully complete the required ELA training. The training is required for those teachers making scoring decisions and that others may collect evidence but only those trained staff can make scoring decisions. Teachers must complete the training that includes demonstrating reliability on a video simulator and passing a content knowledge test. Administrators and other individuals (co-teachers, assistant teachers, itinerant teachers, etc.) are strongly encouraged to complete the training.

    The State Support Teams and the Resource and Referral Agencies will be offering the ELA trainings. The two-day new teacher training and one-day optional update training are currently being offered through the Ohio Professional Registry (OPR). A general training on Formative Assessment is available and recommended prior to attending ELA training. The Formative Assessment training provides: 

    • an introduction to at the 10-Required Learning Progressions,
    • the formative assessment process, and
    • how teacher use the results of the instruction to plan and direct instruction.
    These formative assessment modules are offered through the State Support Teams and Resource and Referral Agencies. There are three modules available:
    • Overview: This is an introduction to formative assessment. This includes formative assessment purposes and how to use it to enhance early learning. The overview module is a prerequisite to completing one of the other two modules. 
    • Formative Assessment with Children Birth – 36 Months: This reviews the use of formative assessment including tools and methods to assist the early childhood professional in identifying ways to recognize and collect evidence of developmental progress. The formative assessment modules are not a requirement for administrators using the ELA, but are strongly recommended, as they provide a foundational understanding of the purpose and use of formative assessment.
    • Formative Assessment with Children 3 – Kindergarten: This reviews the use of formative assessment including tools and methods to assist the early childhood professional in identifying ways to recognize and collect evidence of developmental progress. Individuals interested in registering for these trainings should do so through the Ohio Professional Registry (OPR) at www.registry.occrra.org.

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Last Modified: 1/24/2019 7:12:31 AM