Relevant Research

Sunday, December 13, 2015


TSR Comprehensive coaches, don't forget to be reviewing progress monitoring data with your teachers!

CLI New Alert! To learn more about how to best prepare young children for school success, the Administration of Children and Families has awarded a $2.5 million research grant to CLI. This new project will adapt two research-based parent and teacher interventions developed at the Children’s Learning Institute, PALS and BEECH, to examine the benefit to low-income infants’ and toddlers’ language, cognitive and social-emotional development as well as self-regulation skills. Read the article on our website!

Did you miss the webinar on working with children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder? Don’t worry, you can watch it online! This webinar provided practical strategies that teachers can use to engage and facilitate learning for children with ASD through the lens of CLI expert, Dr. Michael Assel, and the lens of an experienced practitioner Libby Hall. Watch the recorded version here.

Stay tuned for our next issue on phonological awareness!

CLI Engage Website

Texas School Ready Website

Children's Learning Institute Website

Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines

Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines

Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS)

Creating a Data Culture throughout the School

We know from research that early identification of learning needs and grouping children according to those needs is known to maximize instructional impact. So, how do you create a data culture within your school or center where teachers and staff rely on data to determine children’s progress and analyze the results to inform instruction? And how do you as an administrator then use the collective information to monitor, evaluate and revise programs and policies?

Does data drive instructional decisions in your classrooms?

In the classroom, you have likely completed wave one for beginning of the year CIRCLE Progress Monitoring (C-PM). The C-PM, CLI’s assessment system, is designed to be a user-friendly, online tool that allows the teacher to assess a child’s progress in a particular skill area almost instantly. It is a valid and reliable instrument that is age and developmentally appropriate and fair. It is a comprehensive measure and includes all of the Head Start domains, allowing the assessor to collect holistic information on the student.

The most important part of administering the C-PM is knowing how to analyze the results to determine the next steps. The results among other outcomes can identify two things:

  1. They can determine whether the instructional plans or curriculum were effective for most of the students.
  2. They identify students that are not proficient in the assessed skill areas and need more targeted intervention.

Children identified as "at-risk" may receive more frequent, more intensive, and/or different types of instruction, often in small groups. This involves identifying each student’s current progress, creating goals for his or her learning that include targeted strategies in areas that are below benchmark, continual monitoring, and providing individual scaffolding. Both informal assessment and ongoing progress monitoring determine whether the interventions and increased instructional support are working.

The C-PM provides small group results with direct links to targeted strategies in the digital online CIRCLE Activity Collection. These activities include exemplar videos, demonstrating the activity with annotations directing the viewer to the why and how as well as scripted modeled lessons with guided practice and scaffolding suggestions. (Please note this link will not work unless you are logged into CLI Engage.)

In section 6 of the Pre-K Response to Intervention Professional Development Online Course, watch Drs. Susan Landry, Carolyn Denton, and Tricia Zucker explain about the value of data and how to consider what data can be used in making important decisions on children that may need greater instructional assistance. (Please note this link will not work unless you are logged into CLI Engage.)

How is data useful to Administrators in making sound program decisions?

Assessments can be used for formative or summative purposes. Formative assessment results are generally used to inform instruction and are responsive to the needs of the learner. Summative assessment results look at a student’s progress based on the instruction and the contributions of the teacher or program related to the individual student’s progress. Summative results may be used by administrators for example to decide on professional development needs for staff or to make decisions regarding program budgets for classroom curriculum and resource materials.

How do you create components of a data–driven school culture?

  1. Build trust - Use of data is about improving student achievement not teacher performance evaluations. Create a blameless data culture so that everyone is working together to examine the data and collaborate for change.
  2. Set school wide goals - What is the vision for the school?
  3. Empower teachers - Support teachers’ use of progress monitoring as part of their teaching and learning cycle (assess-analyze-plan-teach)
  4. Provide training - Use outcomes to determine staff deficient understandings and provide professional development to increase and improve best practices
  5. Assess what matters - Only assess what is needful and collect only data on which you will take action.

How can parents collaborate with the school/center to help their child learn?

Teachers, coaches, parents, and administrators can all partner together to use data to inform instruction. The C-PM provides information for parents on interpreting their child’s progress on individualized reports as well as recommended activities to further support their child’s emerging skills.

Making sound decisions for pre-kindergarten student achievement based on data is not only wise but standard practice.


  • Barnett, W. S., Riley-Ayers, S., & Francis, J. (2015). Measuring Child Outcomes in the Early Years. Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes.
  • Paiva, R. (2010). A political framework for building a data-driven district or school: How to focus on data quality, capacity, and culture supports data-driven action to improve student outcomes. Public Consulting Group News. Retrieved on November 11, 2015, from   
  • Pierce, D. (2015) Five Keys to Building a Data-Driven Culture. Sungard K-12 Education Blog
Teaching Tips

Tips for Assessment Article

  • Monitor children’s progress
  • Document change over time
  • Make informed instructional decisions
  • Modify the instruction being delivered
  • Respond to children’s changing needs

CIRCLE Progress Monitoring (C-PM) offers Web Reports

  • Class Summary
  • Group Summary
  • Student Summary Report

Children benefit when assessment data is used to make instructional decisions. Add assessment data to each child's portfolio. Gather the same items over a period of time to show progress. Visit the CIRCLE Activity Collection to learn more about Assessment and Portfolios. (Please note this link will not work unless you are logged into CLI Engage.)

Examples of Items and Suggested Timelines

  • Self-Portrait - August, October, January, May
  • Picture/Art Sample - August, December
  • Name Writing Sample - August, January, May
  • Dictated Stories - October, January, May

Share assessment data with families in a productive and appropriate way, including at-home activities and ideas to focus on needed skills.

Example of Small Group Instruction Activity for Using Assessment Results

  • Who (which children) will you work with?
  • What is your objective?
  • What activity will you do?
  • When (time of the day) will you meet?
  • How long will it last?
  • Where will you meet?
  • Why are you working with this group?
  • How will you make this group happen?
  • What routines need to be in place?

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