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SRI studied the quality of child outcomes data reported by states to the federal government under Part C and Part B Preschool services of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) with a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences at the US Department of Education.
ENHANCE consisted of four studies that examined the quality of the data that was collected through the Child Outcomes Summary (COS) process. An urgent need existed to understand the conditions under which the COS process produced valid and reliable data, because the majority of states were using it to generate data for federal accountability reporting for Part C and Part B Preschool services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Furthermore, many states wanted to use their data for program improvement, so they needed valid information about child outcomes to identify program strengths and weaknesses.
The Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Center developed the COS process to address states' needs to build measurement systems for child outcomes data that would reflect multiple sources of information on child functioning. In the COS process, members of local teams (e.g., early interventionists, therapists, teachers, and parents) synthesized multiple sources of information on child functioning on each of three child outcomes and converted that information into a single rating on a seven-point scale. The COS process supports multidisciplinary best practices in early childhood assessment and is consistent with the approach numerous professional organizations promote.
The four ENHANCE studies addressed the following:
- How teams decided COS ratings
- How consistent COS ratings were with information from other assessments
- COS users' perceptions of their experiences with the COS process, including their impressions of the COS tool, the process, and the training and support they received
- Patterns and trends in state-level COS data
Additional details about ENHANCE are available on the project website.