Relevant Research

Saturday, December 10, 2016


Exporting Progress Monitoring Data

Many schools have completed the first wave (beginning-of-year) of the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System. As a reminder, administrators from your organization can export progress monitoring data at any time from the "Administrative" tab. Your organization can then transform the data into any other format needed, including for uploads to other platforms your districts may be using. For more information, review this how-to guide on the CIRCLE data export. TSR Comprehensive participants should have also completed their Classroom Environment Checklists, however observables are still in progress.

CIRCLE Activity Collection

If you've visited the CIRCLE Activity Collection recently, you may have noticed a new welcome screen and some new activities! We are excited to launch the new CIRCLE Activity Collection for infant and toddler teachers with all-new activities from birth through 36 months. All activities are aligned to the Texas Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines and are available in English and Spanish. From the same screen, all CLI Engage users can access the infant and toddler and pre-k teacher activities, as well as the home activities for parents. 

TX-KEA Spring Roadshow

We are hitting the road this spring to promote our current resources on CLI Engage and to introduce the Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment! We will be hosting an outreach event at every Education Service Center. For more info, contact your ESC or email us at

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)

Analyzing Student Data

The CIRCLE Progress Monitoring assessment is a user-friendly and psychometrically sound screening tool that allows a teacher to assess a child’s progress in a particular skill area almost instantly. This reliable yet simplistic data collection prompts teachers to focus on lessons that target their students’ least developed skill areas. Systematically monitoring children’s progress plays an important role in showing us what a child already knows and understands. When you use progress monitoring tools that give you immediate feedback, you can ensure that all children benefit from classroom instruction. Based on child progress monitoring and assessment reports, you can provide high-quality, intensive instruction that has been designed specifically for individual children.

The Children’s Learning Institute developed this online tool to:

  •  inform instructional practice
  •  be a reliable and valid predictor of child outcomes
  •  have a relatively brief administration time
  •  assess students in both English and Spanish.

CIRCLE Progress Monitoring covers a comprehensive yet manageable set of learning domains aligned to the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines and the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. However, the results are not comprehensive, developmental assessments or intended to diagnose children that may have difficulty learning. The CIRCLE Progress Monitoring tool’s purpose is to help teachers identify children's strengths and weakness according to developmental milestones.

In order to understand the results one needs to understand what the data reveals. In the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System, the assessment measures have benchmarks, which represent how well students are learning a specific set of competences. In order to establish a benchmark, multiple sets of data were collected and examined within the specific language and age range of the students.

The reporting system provides color coding to visually identify children at risk for academic difficulties and are based on age-specific ‘formal’ or ‘informal’ benchmarks. Formal benchmarks are scientifically identified through comparison of sufficiently-sized data sets. Informal benchmarks are not identified through an examination of data but are recommendations that can guide instructional decision making. If a benchmark exists for the child’s age range, the shade of color presented indicates if it is a formal benchmark (dark shade) or informal benchmark (light shade). Colors in the assessment indicate the following:

  • Green / Light green – the child meets the benchmark and is 3.0-4.9 years of age (proficient)
  • Orange / yellow – the child does not meet the benchmark and is between 3.0-3.9 years of age (developing)
  • Red / pink – the child does not meet the benchmark and is at least 4 years old (emergent)
  • Blue / light blue – the measure has benchmarks but not for the child’s age range
  • No color – the measure has no benchmarks. Please note that CLI’s validation efforts are ongoing and benchmarks will be added as they become available.


Our benchmarks are dichotomous and include:

  • Proficient or
  • Not-proficient (This category includes ‘developing’ and ‘emerging’ depending on the age group. Emergent was set as an indicator for those students under the age of 4 who essentially have an additional year in preK to reach proficiency.)

The Phonological Awareness and Mathematics measures have subtasks that are both formal and informal. The informal subtasks are described as “optional” on the assessment tool bar. Let’s take a closer look at the phonological awareness measure.

Benchmark validity for phonological awareness is based on the composite (total) score of the four core subtasks: syllabication, onset-rime, alliteration and rhyming 1 (receptive rhyming). Based on the composite score, the student may meet the benchmark. As a district or community, it is not recommended to make district-level decisions based on any one subtask score since the phonological awareness composite reveals how the students are performing according to the benchmark set for the total phonological awareness score.

The sub-measure results can guide the teacher on what activities can be used to support specific phonological awareness needs, but these individual subtasks results cannot be used as predictors of school readiness in isolation; that is the reason their color is light. Our validation analysis shows that if a child has low scores (0, 1, 2 etc.) on one or two subtasks, but met the benchmark with the composite score, the child is showing sufficient understanding of phonological awareness.

Alternatively, a proficient score on any subtask or on the composite (total score), does not mean that the child is fully ‘developed’ in this skill and that the teacher should not continue to instruct in this area. It means that the child will be able to make sense of the instruction she will receive in kindergarten.

You may have children who are pink (below) on all four subtasks and green in the total phonological awareness score. These children might not be ‘proficient’ on the assessed tasks, but have a good foundation when they transition to kindergarten. That being said, at the classroom level, it is important to pay attention to low scores on any of the subtasks in phonological awareness as the teacher can use this information to plan interventions for individual students.

Teaching Tips

Tips for Using the Grouping Tool

CLI Engage provides a feature called a “Grouping Tool” that breaks children into groups for you based on their assessment results. The groups will contain children that have not reached the proficient level for each skill and who need more practice with certain skills in a small group setting. Suitable activities from the CIRCLE Online Activities are listed on the “View Groups Button”.


For example: If you see more than half of your children in a certain group, you would need to incorporate that skill into a large group activity. See below an example of the grouping tool and the activity selected:



When analyzing the data, use these tools to help develop a plan for children who are identified in need of interventions:

  • Use the grouping tools located within the assessment
  • Use the CIRCLE Online Activity Collection
  • Utilize CLI Engage Professional Development for Teachers

See below the example from the CIRCLE Online Activity Collection.



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