Providing the Tools for Head Start Program Self‐Assessment


Accurate information on children's abilities and progress is a central precursor to effective management and the provision of high‐quality services.

This interconnection between management systems, information on children's learning, and program services is reflected in the review process. There are five critical management activities related to the delivery of results‐based, high‐quality early education: record keeping and reporting, ongoing monitoring, self‐assessment, individualization, and curriculum implementation and assessment.

The linking of these management activities helps to ensure that:

  • Data on children's learning is gathered in a consistent, credible way throughout the program year;

  • The data is analyzed and made accessible to decision makers in a timely fashion;
  • The analysis of the data can be used for self-assessment;
  • The results of self‐assessment can be used in the management of learning at all levels of program operation; and
  • This information is used to make program improvement and generate successful outcomes for children.

Galileo facilitates the gathering, organizing, aggregating, analyzing, and reporting of data on children's learning and those factors influencing learning because it electronically links these functions quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Ongoing data collection provides information that can be used throughout the year to set goals, make and implement plans, evaluate outcomes, and modify plans as needed

While federal legislation requires that data collection on child outcomes occurs a minimum of three times a year, programs benefit when they have access to information for decision-making throughout the entire program year.

For instance, program administrators can use Galileo reports documenting learning that has occurred in each classroom to quickly and easily determine where additional resources, guidance, and attention is needed to achieve goals that support the developmental needs of children.

Galileo expands the team by incorporating technology. It is an educational management software that is changing the way teachers teach and the way teachers assess accomplishment by providing information valuable in planning and decision making.

As stated in the ACYF-IM-HS-00-18 Information Memorandum, Head Start programs that serve children three to five years of age are now required to connect their current systems, tools, and procedures to accomplish three objectives:

  1. Improve the content, quality, consistency and credibility of ongoing assessment of children.
  2. Design an approach to analyze data on children's progress and accomplishments.
  3. Incorporate child outcome data into program self-assessment and continuous program improvement.

Objectives Required by Head Start

Objective 1: Improve the content, quality, consistency, and credibility of ongoing assessment of children

Galileo Alignment

Content and Quality

Grantees should collect data in each of the eight domain areas of children's learning and development:

  • Language Development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Approaches Toward Learning
  • Science
  • Creative Arts
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Health and Development

check Galileo electronically links these domain areas to the ongoing assessment, planning, and reporting of children's progress. This unique linking provides programs with immediate access to information about children's learning progress and development. As a result, programs can easily aggregate and document child outcomes and incorporate outcome data in program self-assessment and program improvement.

Consistency and Credibility

Grantees must ensure that assessment tools are age-appropriate, sensitive to language and culture, and quality‐controlled.

check Galileo has been supported by ongoing research and participation with the Head Start community, early childhood educators, and researchers for more than 20 years. This helps to ensure that the assessment tools in Galileo sustain a high level of reliability and validity for use in Head Start outcome documentation and program improvement.

Ongoing Assessment

check In Galileo, scales reflecting validated developmental paths are available for all eight domain areas of children's learning and development. In addition, these scales are continuously validated through ongoing research on children's development.

Objective 2: Design an approach to analyze data on children's progress and accomplishments

Galileo Alignment

Grantees must develop a system to analyze data on child outcomes that centers on patterns of progress for groups of children as they receive services through the program year. At a minimum, data analysis should compare progress beginning when children enter Head Start, at a mid-point in the program year and when they complete the program year. In Galileo‐speak, we call these segments of time "Observation Periods."

check Beyond the ability to create and set Observation Periods within Galileo, data can be immediately aggregated and reported to reflect profiles of progress and accomplishments at the individual, class, center, and program levels. In addition, Galileo's Data Source makes it possible to measure progress using multiple sources of data. Information about how we know what we know about a child's learning is fundamental. Various data sources might include direct teacher observation, a sample of work, or parent observations. Creating a developmental profile for a child under these circumstances provides not only a wealth of information about what future learning needs to take place, but also enhances the program-parent partnerships that are such an important element of measuring Head Start success.

Objective 3: Incorporate child outcome data into program self-assessment and continuous program improvement

Galileo Alignment

Data on outcomes should be considered in conjunction with overall program self-assessment findings in planning for program improvements.

check Since Galileo electronically aggregates all child outcome data, Head Start decision‐makers have an important tool available to them in enhancing program quality. For example, since this data provides timely and critical report information about where children stand on developmental continuums, appropriate and meaningful changes in curriculum design may be considered. Taking this example a step further, since curriculum design and lesson planning are directly linked within Galileo, implementing enhancements becomes a purposeful and relatively simple process.

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