Ohio Department of Education Topic News

Early Learning Assessment Updates - January 2017


Happy New Year!  We hope everyone had a restful winter break. Much like the anticipation of spring during this time of year, preschool is an exciting time for young children and the educators who teach them. Throughout the school year, you witness the growing competence of the children you teach. As the children's skills develop, they are able to express and demonstrate an array of emerging skills. As a result of your efforts and their efforts every day, the children in your classroom establish the skills necessary to succeed in school.
  • Introduction, Welcome to Preschool and Frequently Asked Questions
  • Training and Ordering
  • Using the ELA
  • Bridge Form: Data Collection, Entering and Reporting
  • Ready 4 Kindergarten: Understanding ELA and KRA
  • ELA and Professional Development
  • Data Manager Guide and Reason Codes
  • Reporting Fall 2016 Assessment Data in EMIS
Please take time to read and share these news articles in this January edition, which provides additional information to support you in closing out the 2016-2017 school year and to prepare for the 2017-2018 school year.

Introduction to Early Learning Assessment for Preschool

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. For more about formative assessment, see ELA for Teachers
Teachers will be able to share a report with families that explains their findings and provide suggestions on activities families can do at home to continue to support children’s growth and development.
To help explain the ELA we have prepared a Welcome to Preschool handout that programs can use with stafffamilies, and the community to share the who, what, when and how of the ELA. 
Finally, we have complied a list of ELA Frequently Asked Questions to address ELA Basics, Technology, Training, and Resources.

Training and Ordering

As of fall 2016, 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. 
Beginning fall 2017, all programs that are participating in SUTQ and are 3-5 star rated are required to use the assessment and report on the 10-Required Learning Progressions.
Before collecting evidence for the ELA, staff must attend and complete the ELA training.
Keep in mind that the ELA is a process of collecting evidence through observation and documentation that allows the teacher to make scoring decisions on children’s learning. This is not a performance-based assessment where children engage in a process of questions and answers. 
Administrators may choose any of the following staff to attend the ELA training:
  • Lead Teachers
  • Assistant Teachers
  • Classroom Aides
  • Intervention Specialists
We highly recommended that Administrators attend the ELA training so they understand the ELA and how it relates to the education of young children.
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 strongly recommended prior to attending ELA training.
While trainers do provide copies of the ELA; programs may need to order additional materials.
Two versions of the Early Learning Assessment exist. The majority of teachers will be use the smaller version, required 10-Learning Progressions but may find the larger Comprehensive Assessment to be a good resource when scoring their observations.
The Early Learning Assessment team created also created the Adaptations for Special Education as an insert to the Comprehensive Assessment for those teachers that may need additional support assessing children with special needs. The Early Learning Assessment Adaptations follow the same Learning Progressions and level descriptors as the full Early Learning Assessment. The Adaptations provide examples of possible observational variations of each Skill, Knowledge and Behavior (SKB) for children with identified disabilities and for children who are developing differently from expected norms and not yet identified as having a disability. These examples include the use of alternate communication techniques and assistive devices, providing those implementing the ELA with a broader scope for the SKBs exhibited across all domains of the ELA. Early learning professionals are encouraged to refer to these adaptations when interpreting observational evidence, recognizing that children with disabilities might display the developmental SKBs in a different manner.
Early Learning Assessment products include:
  • The Early Learning Assessment – Comprehensive Assessment Binder – JFS 01265
  • The Early Learning Assessment – Ten Required Learning Progressions – JFS 01245
  • The Early Learning Assessment – Adaptations for Special Education – JFS 01165 
All three are now available in print free of charge from the JFS Order Online Order System
If you have not previously ordered ELA or other documents from the JFS Online Order System, here are directions on requesting an account and ordering.
If you have questions about the online order process, call the Child Care Policy Help Desk 1-877-302-2347 option #4 for assistance. 
All copies of the assessment are considered secure documents and should be kept in a secure, but central location.
Teachers must complete training before using the Early Learning Assessment. Please look for free trainings for teachers in the Registry.

Using the ELA

The assessment of young children is ongoing. The purpose of the ELA is to determine the current developmental level of rapidly growing 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
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).

Bridge Form: Data Collection, Entering and Reporting

Based on feedback from the field, we have worked to improve The Bridge Form. You will want to download the new version. If you moving data from an older version of the Bridge Form to the newest version, here are directions to help. Programs are advised to ensure that all data in their SIS is updated.
As a reminder, the Bridge Form is an Excel Spreadsheet that is programmed to generate the 10 Learning Progression Scores that need to be reported in EMIS or EAS by programs who use the Early Learning Assessment.
Teachers enter student scores and names on the “Enter Scores” tab and Data Managers or Program Administrators will be able to see the 10 Learning Progression scores they are to report on the “Reporting” tab.
In addition to the Bridge Form, there are resource materials, like Quick Start Guides and Videos, on the Early Learning Assessment for Administrator website. Finally, if you have questions, the Ohio K12 Help Desk provides support for statewide K12 education programs, including the ELA.
Go to or call 844-K12-OHIO (844-512-6446) to submit a ticket for technical assistance.

Ready 4 Kindergarten: Understanding ELA and KRA

Both the Early Learning Assessment and Kindergarten Readiness Assessment are directly aligned to the Ohio Early Learning and Development Standards (OELDS), but reporting and administration are different.
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
For guidance on administering the ELA, see the ELA Guide and Sample Reporting Forms. Sample forms are provided for programs that may administer the ELA in a paper/pencil environment then move that data to the Bridge Document 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. 
The Ready for Kindergarten Online system supports the administration of the ELA.

ELA and Professional Development

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.

We want to support all programs administering the ELA, so we have created 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  
  • Early Learning Assessment Help Desk – Visit Ohio K12 Help to access: 
    • ELA Knowledge Base
    • ELA Resources
    • ELA News/Announcements
    • Request a Teacher Account
    • Request Support - If there is an easy fix, that 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.

Data Manager Guide and Reason Codes

Similar to the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, the administration of the Early Learning Assessment will use Data Managers. 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.

ODJFS Programs: To get Data Manager access:
  • For 3-5 star SUTQ programs, Ohio Child Licensing and Quality System (OCLQS) will designate a Data Manager. Individuals who are assigned the role of owner or administrator in OCLQS will automatically be uploaded as a Data Manager into Ready for Kindergarten Online. It is important that all information, including a unique email address for each owner and administrator is current in OCLQS.
  • For Unrated Programs and SUTQ 1-2 star rated programs, programs must complete a “Data Manager Request for the Early Learning Assessment – Ready for Kindergarten Online System” form (JFS 01162) found at JFS Forms Central and submit it to the email address listed on the form. 
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 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.  
Data Managers should know that when scoring the Early Learning Assessment, there are cases when a teacher will not be able to determine a score for a child on a skill, knowledge or behavior. In these cases, the teacher will enter an “N” score in the bridge document for the unscored skill, knowledge or behavior. A score of “N” will then be calculated at the Learning Progression level within the Bridge Document. 

Programs are required to enter a reason code anytime a Learning Progression score of “N” is reported. There are a number of reason codes to select from within EMIS or EAS if an “N” score is reported for a Learning Progression. A list of the allowable reason codes, and an explanation of what they mean, can be found in the table below. Currently, there is no column on the bridge document that is available to record reason codes. As a result, programs must develop an internal communication process to assure that teachers are accurately reporting reason codes to their EMIS coordinator or the individual responsible for uploading student data in EAS, anytime an “N” score is reported for a Learning Progression.

Only one reason code can be reported for each Learning Progression and score of “N”. If multiple Learning Progressions are scored as an “N”, a different reason code can be selected for each “N” score or available here

Reporting Fall 2016 Assessment Data in EMIS

An updated 2016-2017 EMIS Data Collection Calendar has been posted to our website. It can be found here