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Results Matter Timelines
- Create/edit child records.
- Collect observations throughout the school year.
- Upload brief observation anecdotes, pictures of work samples, videos, or voice recordings to the online system.
- If desired, and where available, add preliminary ratings.
- Complete all assessment ratings by the checkpoint deadline three times per year (four, if using summer checkpoint).
Observation and documentation as soon as a child enters your program and continue throughout the program year. There are three calendar checkpoints throughout the year. The first checkpoint is a critical one as it serves as the child's baseline for progress. It is important to enter a baseline rating for children as soon as initial evidence for each objective becomes available. This is especially important for children on IEPs. However, as in previous guidance, if teachers and other staff assigning checkpoint ratings truly do not have enough documentation for all objectives, our guidance is to wait to enter and finalize the checkpoint at the subsequent checkpoint period. Note: If teachers and other staff assign checkpoint ratings to finalize any baseline ratings with “not observed,” it will interfere with the OSEP baseline calculation during the OSEP exit season.
Where available, preliminary ratings can be made at any time. Ratings should then be reviewed and finalized during the specified assessment rating window unless it is a baseline rating. All ratings must be finalized by the standard checkpoint deadline unless your program has been pre-approved for a different date due to extenuating circumstances or program schedule conflicts.
- If a child is absent from your program or does not receive services for an extended period of time, you may archive the record after the end of the current checkpoint. Complete assessment ratings and OSEP exits where applicable before archiving. You can always reactivate later.
- If a child attended your program or received services for fewer than 30 total days of programming/services in a checkpoint period, do not finalize any assessment ratings in that checkpoint. Preliminary ratings in GOLD® are okay.
- If a child returns and his/her record was previously archived, reactivate the existing record. If it has been 90 or more consecutive calendar days since a preschooler on an IEP was last in your program/receiving services—not including summer break—treat this as a new OSEP entry and change the IEP/service start date to the first day the child returned. Ninety days is the state-determined threshold beyond which the baseline data need to be reset for the purpose of OSEP Preschool Outcomes reporting. Any effect from services is likely to have diminished by this point. Do not change the IEP/service start date if it has been fewer than 90 days. If it has been fewer than 90 days and the record was OSEP-exited previously, reactivate the OSEP record.
- If a child attends two different programs in the same day, only one program may hold the child portfolio and make assessment ratings. Concurrent assessment records are not allowed. More information in the Preventing Duplicate Child Records section of Child Record Management..
- If a child dis-enrolls in the middle of a checkpoint, yet he/she was present for at least six calendar weeks/thirty program days within the checkpoint window—including standard two-day weekends but not including holiday breaks—teachers should finalize checkpoint ratings but only if the teacher collected enough documentation to make reliable ratings.
- If a child starts late in your program and is present through the rest of the checkpoint for at least six weeks, we expect that the teacher is on schedule to complete everything. It is important to enter a baseline rating for children as soon as initial evidence for each objective becomes available. This is especially important for children on IEPs.
- Fewer than 6 Weeks Remain in the Checkpoint, Child Will Continue in Your Program: If there are fewer than 30 days of programming/services left in the checkpoint period (six calendar weeks not including holiday breaks) when a child enters, obtain what information you can. It is important to enter a baseline rating for children as soon as initial evidence for each objective becomes available. This is especially important for children on IEPs. However, as in previous guidance, if teachers and other staff assigning checkpoint ratings truly do not have enough documentation for all objectives, our guidance is to wait to enter and finalize the checkpoint during the subsequent checkpoint period. Note: If teachers and other staff assigning checkpoint ratings finalize any baseline ratings with “not observed,” it will interfere with the OSEP baseline calculation during the OSEP exit season.
Fewer than 6 Weeks Remain, Pause/Break in Programming: If there are fewer than 30 days of programming/services left in the checkpoint period (six calendar weeks not including holiday breaks) when a child enters but the child will resume participation afterward, do not finalize ratings until after your program/services resume. Documentation should begin immediately. You may set preliminary ratings if desired. It is important to enter a baseline rating for children as soon as initial evidence for each objective becomes available. This is especially important for children on IEPs. Information from screening and evaluation during the child find process is essential to documentation in this situation.
Example: Child enters on April 29 and summer break begins on May 20.
Fewer than 6 Weeks Remain, Child Will Not Return to Your Program: If there are fewer than 30 days of programming/services left in the checkpoint period (six calendar weeks not including holiday breaks) when a child enters and the child will not be resuming participation, exclude the child from Results Matter assessment. This typically happens when children enroll in preschool late in the school year and will transition to kindergarten the following school year. These children are not required to be assessed, although programs may choose to do so.
Example: Child enters April 29 and summer break begins on May 20. The child will transition to kindergarten in the fall. Exclude the child from preschool assessment.
The Importance of Capturing True Baseline Data
A child’s very first assessment rating period serves as a baseline for measuring and comparing subsequent progress. This initial portfolio of observations and documentation demonstrates where a child is along the continuum of development before any instruction and intervention has been provided. A true baseline is important for measuring growth, particularly in the context of special education assessment and reporting where child growth is measured from entry to and exit from preschool special education services on several outcomes.
In order to reflect baseline information and subsequently show the greatest amount of progress, ratings for a child’s first assessment period should be based on the earliest observations and information available. Teachers are encouraged to enter ratings in the first period as soon as they have sufficient documentation for any objectives. They do not need to wait for the standard checkpoint rating window (i.e., two week-window before the deadline) in the child’s baseline period to finalize their baseline data. This does not mean, however, that teachers should rush to score all objectives in the first few weeks, which is not feasible given the overall number of assessment objectives. Rather, an assessor’s mindset should be to score as soon as baseline evidence becomes available.
After determining ratings in the first checkpoint period, staff can continue capturing documentation to be considered in the following period. For children that have been evaluated for special needs and placed on an IEP, information from formal evaluation reports can be used as documentation and should be entered into the online system as soon as possible. As with other ongoing assessments, special educators and general educators should partner closely to capture this information online.
Family Communication and Individual Learning Plans
Some programs may be concerned with not having the most current assessment scores at the time of family conferences that would show children’s current developmental picture. One possible solution is to move the first conference earlier in the baseline period. Also, staff could customize the information selected for the Individual Learning Plan (ILP) and include more up-to-date developmental information. Please note, children receiving state funds for preschool are required to have an ILP. CDE strongly encourages the use of an ILP as the primary tool for family conferences. CDE advises programs to consider family input in the ILP as well as other non-Results Matter information they have about a child. The information for the ILP does not need to come entirely from the assessment system.
Children Placed on an IEP Mid-Year
Some children are placed on an IEP after the start of the school year, sometimes not until well into the second or third checkpoint periods. In this case, teachers should keep what has already been scored so far in the period corresponding to the child’s IEP entry date and instead of waiting until the standard checkpoint rating window, follow the baseline guidance above for the objectives that are still un-scored.
What Does This Mean in Practice with GOLD® and COR Advantage?
This baseline scoring process means treating the scoring process in GOLD® and COR Advantage a bit differently in the first assessment period.
For teachers using GOLD®, it is not just about using preliminary ratings. While preliminary ratings are still helpful, determining the earliest possible baseline score means moving more quickly from entering preliminary ratings to scoring and finalizing areas under the Assess>Checkpoint by Child/Class options. When developing the ILP for family conferences, teachers could draw from more recent preliminary ratings that do not necessarily need to be converted into new finalized ratings for the period.
For teachers using COR Advantage, this means not entering scores more than one time for the same objective in the baseline period, since the online system stamps whatever the highest rating was within a period regardless of the order in which they were entered (teachers do not “finalize” in this system).