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Birth to Three Test: Special Education Assessment Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 10th, 2021

Description: The “Birth to Three: Piecing it Together” test supports the involvement of families in special education assessment for children under the age of three years. The test has four main constructs that include (a) a family-guided intervention, (b) the interaction of parents, teachers, and children as the main stakeholders in the test, (c) an understanding of family patterns through an evaluation of daily routines, and (d) a recording of conversations between parents and interventionists, as the basis for making decisions (Doan-Sampon, Wollenburg, & Campbell, 1993).

The “Birth to Three: Piecing it Together” test has several advantages compared to other instruments because it includes family support, which is essential to the educational development of infants and toddlers (WECCP, 2019). The purpose of the “Birth to Three: Piecing it Together” test is to detect and characterize learning issues early in a child’s life. Therefore, it provides the right basis for developing sound interventions by informing decisions relating to the early detection of learning abnormalities in early childhood education. Teachers administer the test, and they are the intended users (in consultation with parents) (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993).

The “Birth to Three: Piecing it Together” test is intended to inform decisions relating to how children function in the education setting. Its main purpose is to help families and teachers have a deeper understanding of a child’s individual progress during their early years of learning. One of its main features is its ability to help teachers plan for individualized assessment procedures (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993). The test is administered when teachers monitor children’s development progress and identify potential delays in learning. The information provided from the test is also useful in planning intervention strategies that could be used to improve a child’s learning outcomes.

Development: The “Birth to Three: Piecing it Together” test is an amalgamation of different and distinct parts of early childhood education that merge to create an individualized and continuous curriculum planning process. The test’s development process includes the integration of different materials characterizing a five-step process that includes gathering and recording information, determining functional goals, pursuing family-guided interventions, monitoring progress, and determining new goals (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993).

The process of gathering and recording information was completed through ecological planning, nurturing journals, and assessing interactive growth packs (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993). Determining functional goals was also achieved through ecological planning, nurturing journals, and using interactive growth packs (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993). The third stage of development, which includes family-guided interventions, was undertaken through a review of parent-child interactions, family routines, interactive growth packs, nurturing interventions, and intervention forms (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993). The fourth stage of review involved the process of documenting and monitoring progress, which happened through ecological and intervention planning (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993). The last stage involves a determination of new goals that support ecological planning, using interactive growth packs, and seeking material support through nurturing journals.

The appropriateness of the test was assessed based on an evaluation of whether the services provided by teachers matched what families want for their children in the educational setting. The test does not have a specific period of completion because it was developed as an ongoing process. Although training is not necessarily required to administer the test, it is recommended that skilled personnel be present to administer it (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993; WECCP, 2019). No information is available relating to how test items were checked for quality and suitability.

Technical: Information relating to the standardization, reliability, and validity of the “Birth to Three: Piercing it together” test is unavailable. However, the test was based on a study, which sought to investigate the reliability and validity of early intervention programs in the US (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993). Its proponents visited selected homes and observed or interviewed parents and their children about the efficacy of early intervention programs (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993). Information was recorded using “master forms,” which helped to gather data regarding important family information and any changes that may affect the setup (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993). The forms were filled after obtaining data through observations and conversations with parents or caregivers, and they were used to develop family-specific service plans (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993). The suggested interventions were sensitive to each family’s dynamics. Communication strategies were also proposed after a 36-day routine exercise to facilitate interactive communications between parents, caregivers, and their children (Doan-Sampon et al., 1993).

Commentary: Although the ideas of the “Birth to Three: Piecing it Together” test affirm its efficacy in evaluating the educational development of children below the age of three years, there is little evidence to suggest that efforts are being made to update it. This concern could explain why few works of literature have evaluated the test, especially in the post-1990 era. The lack of widespread interest in interrogating the test stems from many issues, but the emergence of other child assessment instruments for children between 0-3 years underscores the lack of empirical interest in updating the test. Although the technical manual for this test provides a good overview of the assessment technique, information surrounding its technical background is still scanty and unclear. The lack of a theoretical model to support the test is a weakness because it makes it difficult to contextualize the scores. There is also scanty information available regarding the relative ease or difficulty of scoring on the test. Nonetheless, the guidelines for the administration of the test provide valuable information to educators and parents who want to acquaint themselves with the test.

Although the “Birth to Three: Piecing it Together” test is useful to educators, it cannot be implemented in isolation because of varied issues involved in making proper childhood development assessments, such as the age of the children involved and the type of assessment to be undertaken (Management Association and Information Resources, 2018; Bruce, Louis, & McCall, 2014). Therefore, its implementation has to be done in collaboration with community referral resources. The test allows for the collection of different types of data, and the type of information to be collected will vary, depending on the assessment required (Sancisi & Edgington, 2015). For example, the “Birth to Three: Piecing it Together” test allows for the collection of information from parents and teachers using interviews and observations. It also provides researchers with multiple options for recording data, such as development record-keeping and comprehensive skill sequencing. Both techniques can be color-coded to allow for the easy tracking of a child’s educational progress. It also supports easy communication between parents and teachers. Current developments on the test have provided an opportunity for educators to accurately compute raw scores and convert them to quotients that can be effectively administered to operationalize instructional plans. It also allows for the easy determination of adaptive behavior scores and instructional ranges.

Summary: Overall, the quality of the “Birth to Three: Piecing it Together” test is moderate because it can only be used to assess learning outcomes for children who may have developmental delays. It also allows instructors to detect specific areas of learning that would impact a child’s education. The test’s findings could be generalized to criterion-referenced testing, which helps teachers and parents understand how to improve the education outcomes of specific subtypes of children. Such information is essential in developing a child’s instructional plans and evaluating how educational curricula could be remodeled to appeal to individualized needs (Garro, 2016).

Given the test’s grounding in empirical research and proven measures of child assessment, users should embrace new developments made on the scale. Here, experts should provide appropriate psychometric information to users and pave the way for its update. Nonetheless, critics of the score still have concerns regarding its reliability and differentiation from other tests, such as those that measure the childhood development of children below three years. Similar tests include “Assessment Evaluation and Programming System,” “The Creative Curriculum Developmental Continuum,” “Infant Toddler Development Assessment,” and “Early Learning Accomplishment Profile for Infants and Toddlers” (Ghazvini, 2018; WVDHHR, 2019). Broadly, although the “Birth to Three: Piecing it Together” test has been highlighted as a promising measure of a child’s developmental outcomes, it should not be implemented in isolation because other learning resources and materials need to be availed to improve its efficacy. Therefore, it should be used with other test criteria. Nonetheless, current efforts to improve the validity of the test score should be aimed at improving its efficacy and applicability in early childhood education, as suggested by Saracho (2015), Derman-Sparks, LeeKeenan, and Nimmo (2014).


Bruce, T., Louis, S., & McCall, G. (2014). Observing young children. London, England: SAGE.

Derman-Sparks, L., LeeKeenan, D., & Nimmo, J. (2014). Leading anti-bias early childhood programs: A guide for change. Cambridge, MA: Teachers College Press.

Doan-Sampon, M. A., Wollenburg, K., & Campbell, A., (1993). Web.

Garro, A. (Ed.) (2016). Early childhood assessment in school and clinical child psychology. New York, NY: Springer.

Ghazvini, A. S. (2018). Birth to three screening and assessment resource guide. Web.

Management Association and Information Resources. (Ed.) (2018). Early childhood development: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications. New York, NY: IGI Global.

Sancisi, L., & Edgington, M. (2015). Developing high-quality observation, assessment, and planning in the early years: Made to measure. London, England: Routledge.

Saracho, O. (Ed.). (2015). Contemporary perspectives on research in assessment and evaluation in early childhood education. New York, NY: IAP.

(2019). Web.

(2019). Assessment instruments approved to be appropriate for screening or evaluating the needs of infants and toddlers. Web.

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