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Results Matter Handbook

Results Matter: Improving Preschool Outcomes for Children with Disabilities


Begun in 2005 to meet state and federal accountability reporting requirements, Results Matter became  a nationally recognized early childhood assessment and outcomes measurement approach for Colorado children from birth through age five administered by the Colorado Department of Education. We want to ensure great outcomes for children. To that end, we must measure those outcomes. Results Matter helps lay strong foundations, an integral part of CDE’s strategic plan, by providing the means for families and educators to make informed decisions for children in the early years. Due to shifts in the early childhood landscape in Colorado in 2022 and 2023, with the sunset of the Colorado Preschool Program and the advent of Universal Preschool under the newly formed Colorado Department of Early Childhood,  Results Matter is now focused on supporting Special Education Administrative Units, their member districts and the programs they contract with, to meet reporting requirements of preschool children who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

This handbook is intended to help early childhood care and education programs implement authentic assessment for children ages three  through five years old who have been identified with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Children in publicly funded Kindergarten are subject to different policies and procedures. More information available on the CDE School Readiness website.


Results Matter improves outcomes for Colorado’s preschool students who have IEPs by helping teachers, administrators, families, and other education stakeholders use authentic assessment data to inform classroom instruction as well as program and policy decision making. 

In addition, Results Matter is a core part of CDE’s Early Childhood Special Education Team Mission:

Every child deserves inclusive high quality early learning experiences, setting a foundation for belonging and contributing to their classrooms, schools and communities.

We build the capacity of leaders, educators, and families through mutual partnerships within systems to improve the identification of, and outcomes for, children ages 3 through 5 years old with disabilities as outlined in the Exceptional Children's Educational Act (ECEA) and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). We assist and support partners to:

  • Locate and identify children with disabilities to access and participate in preschool services
  • Use authentic assessments to inform eligibility, programming, and classroom instruction to improve outcomes for children
  • Develop and implement early childhood policies that promote high quality inclusive practices for children with disabilities
  • Improve preschool outcomes through the use of Results Matter to inform program and policy decision-making
  • Co-construct shared knowledge to advocate for and implement evidence-based practices in early childhood special education

Results Matter Components

  • Authentic Child Assessment - At the heart of Results Matter is a developmentally appropriate assessment that provides valid, meaningful, and representative information about young children.
  • Professional Learning - Teachers are assessors in the implementation of Results Matter. To ensure authentic assessment is used with fidelity, strong professional development is essential. Results Matter makes available a variety of professional development resources.
  • Implementation - Technology, when used appropriately, can be a powerful tool in early childhood education. What’s particularly beneficial for educators and families who participate in Results Matter is that they have access to an online assessment platform that provides real-time reporting and digital portfolios.
  • Data Analysis - Results Matter provides meaningful assessment data that can be used to make decisions at every level.


The Colorado Department of Education wishes to thank the following partners for their contributions:

  • The Arizona Department of Education — for allowing adaptations of OSEP reporting guidance.
  • Teaching Strategies and HighScope — for their support resources.
  • All local care and education providers participating in Results Matter — for their ongoing commitment to high quality practices for young children and their collective knowledge base that helps the Results Matter program continuously improve.

Explore the Results Matter Handbook