Developmental Screening and Authentic Assessment

Through Developmental Screening and Authentic Assessment, teaching staff deepen their shared understanding of children's development and learning across domains to inform instruction. Teaching staff collect evidence of student learning, reflect and determine next steps to support individual growth.

Developmental Screening

Screening tools assist educators in learning about the various aspects of a child's development, such as language, cognition, perception, and motor development.

Developmental screening tools approved for use:

The Division of Early Childhood Education (DECE) provides materials and training for ESI-R only.

NYCDOE Expectations

Developmental screening is a key part of a student's transition into a 3-K for All or Pre-K for All classroom. 3-K for All and Pre-K for All programs are required to use a valid and reliable developmental screening tool to identify potential developmental delays and language support needs.

Key Requirements

  • 3-K for All and Pre-K for All teachers are required to administer a developmental screening to all children within 45 calendar days of enrollment. Please see below for more information about the 3-K for All timeline.
  • Staff administering the developmental screenings should take into consideration the needs and backgrounds of the children that they are serving and ensure that screenings are implemented using culturally, linguistically, and developmentally responsive materials.

Developmental screenings do not have to be administered to children currently receiving Early Intervention services or currently receiving preschool special education services. If a child's screening results indicate that they need to be rescreened for any reason, 3-K for All and Pre-K for All programs are required to rescreen the child within 8-10 weeks. If the screening is not available in a child's home language, the screening should be marked as "OK" when entering the outcome into Payroll and Vendor Portal, and "language exception" should be entered in the comments area. 3-K for All and Pre-K for All programs should work to provide the child with language support and instruction, as well as send the Language Exception to families.

Timeline and Important Dates

ESI-R Examiner Qualifications

Early Screening Inventory - Revised (ESI-R)

3-K for All and Pre-K for All leaders are responsible for ensuring that staff administering the developmental screening meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Must have an understanding of basic principles of standardized tests, including:
    • Knowledge of methods to ensure objectivity in administration of the tool
    • Importance of following standard procedures for administration and scoring
  • Must be a 3-K for All or Pre-K for All leader, teacher, paraprofessional, or other staff member experienced in early childhood education, with an understanding of early childhood behavior and development.
  • Must complete training to include observation of an examiner administering the tool (through WeTeachNYC.org or in-person training). Self-paced training for ESI-R is available at WeTeachNYC.org.
  • Must be fluent and proficient in the language(s) used to administer the developmental screening tool (including Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Russian if using ESI-R).

ESI-R Materials

The DECE provides materials for the ESI-R. You may reuse leftover ESI-R materials dating back to School Year 2008-09. Review the ESI-R Materials List, and please complete this Materials and Support Request Form if you need any materials.

Training

Self-paced training for the ESI-R is available via WeTeachNYC.org. For additional information or to request on-site support, email prekscreening@schools.nyc.gov.

Communicating with Families

At the start of the school year, NYCDOE funded 3-K for All and Pre-K for All programs are required to send the following letter to families of enrolled children. In response to this letter, families may opt out of developmental screening.

Early Intervention Services or Preschool Special Education Exemption

If a child is currently receiving Early Intervention services or is currently receiving preschool special education services, they are exempt from screening. Exemption letters should be sent to families.

Language Exception

If the screening is not available in a child’s home language, the screening should be marked as "OK" when entering the outcomes into Payroll and Vendor Portal, and “language exception” should be entered in the comments area. The program should work to provide the child with language support and instruction, as well as send the Language Exception letter to families.

Screening Outcomes

Screening results must be reported to the DECE through Payroll or Vendor Portal. District school teachers can enter data using Payroll Portal under the DOE Applications tab, using UPK Survey. NYC Early Education Center teachers can enter data using the Vendor Portal.

Screening outcomes must also be communicated to families. The method of communication is at the discretion of the site leader.

Gifted and Talented Request for Testing

The DECE invites all families to submit a Request for Testing regardless of screening outcomes.

Referrals

The DECE requires that if a child scores below the referral cutoff on the ESI-R or a comparable developmental screening tool, families and programs should work together to collect information, support the child, and determine next steps. If, after implementing a variety of strategies and/or supports, programs and/or families still have concerns regarding a child's progress and believe that he or she may need additional support, the parent can make a referral to the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) for special education services.

Referral cutoffs are available in the ESI-R manual and are differentiated by age. Methods of referral are at the discretion of the site leader.

Additional Resources

This webpage is for early childhood educators and administrators; it contains copyright protected material that is critical for educators and administrators to have to implement ESI-R. It is a violation of copyright to share this information beyond your school.

Authentic Assessment

Authentic assessment provides 3-K for All and Pre-K for All teaching staff, leaders and families a system to understand and support students' developmental progress across all domains of learning, as outlined in the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) and the NYS Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core (PKFCC), to inform instruction.

Authentic assessment systems support teaching staff to: 

  • strategically collect observational data and work samples
  • analyze that information along a developmental continuum
  • plan instruction that is responsive to the needs of individual students and groups of students and
  • inform family engagement practices

DECE Approved Authentic Assessment Systems

These authentic assessment options have been approved by the DECE for 3-K for All and Pre-K for All programs to utilize throughout the school year. Please note all approved online authentic assessment systems align to the PKFCC and can be used with any developmentally appropriate 3-K for All or Pre-K for All curriculum. Teaching staff should use an approved authentic assessment system to actively solicit students' understanding and ideas of their own learning to be incorporated into instructional practices.

Work Sampling System

The Work Sampling System (WSS) is an authentic assessment system that informs educators about their students' skills, behaviors, and academic achievement across seven domains:

  1. Personal & Social Development
  2. Language & Literacy
  3. Mathematical Thinking
  4. Scientific Thinking
  5. Social Studies
  6. The Arts
  7. Physical Development, Health, and Safety

Please note that 3-K for All programs should use the WSS Preschool-3 Developmental Guidelines, and Pre-K for All programs should use the WSS Preschool-4 Developmental Guidelines.

Teachers develop child portfolios by collecting observations and work samples throughout the year for three Citywide Checkpoint periods: Fall, Winter, and Spring. For more information, please see Work Sampling System/Online.

Teaching Strategies GOLD

Teaching Strategies GOLD is an authentic assessment system that tracks children's development across ten domains:

  1. Social-Emotional
  2. Physical
  3. Language
  4. Cognitive
  5. Literacy
  6. Mathematics
  7. Science & Technology
  8. Social Studies
  9. The Arts
  10. English Language Acquisition

Teachers collect evidence of child learning through observations and work samples throughout the year for three Citywide Checkpoint periods: Fall, Winter, and Spring. For more information, please see Teaching Strategies GOLD.

High Scope Child Observation Record Advantage

The High Scope Child Observation Record Advantage (COR) is an authentic assessment system that tracks children's development across nine domains:

  1. Approaches to Learning
  2. Social and Emotional Development
  3. Physical Development and Health
  4. Language, Literacy, and Communication
  5. Mathematics
  6. Creative Arts
  7. Science and Technology
  8. Social Studies
  9. English Language Learning (ELL)

Teachers collect evidence of child learning through the collection of observations and work samples throughout the year for three Citywide Checkpoint periods: Fall, Winter, and Spring. For more information, please see High Scope Child Observation Record/Child Observation Record Advantage.

Assessment Requirements

Authentic assessment data consists of low-inference notes and high-quality work samples. Data must be collected throughout the school year in the form of Developmental Summary Reports at least three times per school year during the Fall, Winter, and Spring Citywide Checkpoints. Please note the checkpoint due dates for the 2018-2019 school year:

- November 30, 2018 (Fall)
- March 1, 2019 (Winter)
- May 31, 2019 (Spring)

Authentic assessment data must be used to develop:

  • Portfolios
    • Teaching staff:
      • Collect low-inference notes and high-quality work samples regularly throughout the school year
      • Align child portfolio items to authentic assessment system domains and indicators
    • Portfolio items are entered online and hard copies can be stored within the classroom
  • Developmental Summary Reports
    • Teaching staff:
      • Complete Developmental Summary Reports by using portfolio items to assess each child's progress along a developmental continuum, across the domains of learning
      • Complete Developmental Summary Reports three times per school year during the Fall, Winter, and Spring Citywide Checkpoints
      • Use the data to individualize practice and set goals that address the needs of each child
    • Developmental Summary Reports are stored online and in the child's cumulative folder

The DECE recommends that site leaders meet regularly with teaching staff to:

  • Review child portfolio items and developmental progressions
  • Use developmental progressions to inform ongoing instruction and support

Additionally, teaching staff should communicate developmental progressions to families regularly and during Family-Teacher conferences using family-facing reports.

Student Record Transfer Process

In an effort to support smooth transitions from Pre-K for All program settings into elementary school, the NYCDOE requires that Pre-K for All teachers print the authentic assessment developmental summary reports and include them in each child's cumulative folder as part of the student record transfer process into Kindergarten. This assessment is outlined in the Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) Regulations, Section 151-1 and helps provide Kindergarten teachers with a more complete understanding of incoming children’s strengths and the supports that they may need.

For questions or to request on-site support, email prekassessment@schools.nyc.gov.

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