Overview of the Early Years Evaluation

Learning to read is the critical challenge of the primary grades (K-3). Children must “learn to read” by grade three so that they can “read to learn” in grade four and beyond. However, in Canada and the US about 25% of children encounter significant difficulty learning to read. When these children reach the fourth grade, they do not read fluently enough to grasp what is being instructed. Although there are many reasons children do not learn to read well during the primary grades, the consequences are uniformly negative – children who struggle with reading are often susceptible to lower academic and social functioning, both during and beyond the school years.

The Early Years Evaluation (EYE) is designed to assist educators in assessing the skills of children ages 3 - 6 years as they prepare for and make the transition to school. The EYE consists of two complementary components: the EYE-Teacher Assessment (EYE-TA), a teacher rating scale, and the EYE-Direct Assessment (EYE-DA), an individually-administered measure. Results are provided at the government, district, school, and child levels using colour codes to represent development as: appropriate (green), experiencing some difficulty (yellow), and experiencing significant difficulty (red).

 

Early Years Evaluation – Direct assessment

Research indicates that most reading difficulties can be prevented with early identification, excellent classroom instruction, and appropriate intervention. This is the premise on which the EYE-DA was created and continues to guide implementation practices. The EYE-DA is an individually administered direct assessment of pre-kindergarten children ages 3 to 5 years. The EYE-DA takes about 30-45 minutes per child and assesses four key areas of early childhood development: Awareness of Self and Environment, Cognitive Skills, Language and Communication, and Gross and Fine Motor Skills. A web-based tool has been developed for the EYE-DA which calculates each child’s scores, provides separate reports for each child, and summarizes the results with graphical reports at the school, district, and provincial levels.

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Early Years Evaluation – Teacher assessment

To teach students to read early and well, classroom teachers must determine students’ competency levels across multiple domains of early learning. Research suggests that classroom-based assessment positively affects student outcomes when it is frequent, formative, and instructionally relevant. The EYE-TA provides a systematic framework that kindergarten or grade one teachers can use during the first few months of school to structure their frequent observations and informal assessments. It assesses five domains of early learning closely associated with their readiness to learn to read: Awareness of Self and Environment; Social Skills and Approaches to Learning; Cognitive Skills; Language and Communication; and, Physical Development. The EYE-TA uses a web-based tool which calculates each child’s scores, provides separate reports for teachers and parents, and summarizes the results with graphical reports at the school, district, and provincial levels.

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