Assessments (formal and informal) can help programs learn more about children’s individual development and learning needs. Assessment data isn’t just collected–it should be used to adjust lesson plans, improve classroom strategies, and support conversations with families. Using assessment data in these ways ensures children receive the support they need to learn and thrive. 

Assessment data can help identify children who are struggling in a particular learning area, for example, math. Programs can then act on that data by implementing or improving classroom activities that engage those children in early math concepts. Assessment data can also be used to guide decisions about staff professional development–for example, some teachers may benefit from professional learning around preschool math instruction to better support children in this area. 

Sometimes, assessment data suggests that children may have developmental delays. In these cases, programs should use the assessment data to talk with families about opportunities for early childhood intervention (ECI) evaluation, particularly for infants and toddlers.

Stop and Reflect

What formal and/or informal assessments is your program currently using? How are you using this data to support children?

How confident do you feel using assessment data to guide decisions around:

    • Lesson planning? 
    • Staff professional development? 
    • Conversations with families?

What support do you need from your Texas Rising Star mentor to help you improve your use of assessments?


Texas Rising Star has three measures related to child assessment. Click the links to learn more about these measures.

    • P-PM-05: Program supports the use of assessments (formal and/or informal) that measure children’s developmental progress. 
    • P-PM-06: Child Assessment Policy: Program encourages and supports teachers’ use of assessments to guide their instructional planning for the children in their class. 
    • P-FI-02: Parent-teacher conferences are held. Conferences can be in person or by phone.


CIRCLE Infant and Toddler Teacher Training – Grow with Me: Understanding and Using Developmental Assessments

Grow with Me is a course designed to provide caregivers of infants and toddlers with the skills and knowledge to support developmental assessment. This course focuses on the importance of monitoring young children’s developmental progress, different methods and formats of assessment including developmental milestones checklists, factors to consider when assessing young children from diverse backgrounds, and what to do with assessment results for an individual child, whole classroom, or program.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler
Resource Type: Online Course
Early Childhood Assessment

This guide provides information and resources to build practitioners’ knowledge on using student assessment tools, informal or formal, to track students’ learning. This learning resource acts as a support to practitioners when measuring children’s developmental progress, and it provides a general written process for using student assessment tools to inform instruction.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Resource Type: Publication
Getting a Clue: Observation and Assessment

This course from Texas A&M AgriLife offers practical tips on how to prepare to do assessments in preschool classrooms and how to best support children using assessment results. The course is $12 to access.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Resource Type: Online Course
Understanding Developmental Screening & Early Intervention

There are many tools available to help practitioners and families learn about children’s growth and development. The resources on this page provide information about developmental milestones, developmental screening tools, and Early Childhood Intervention services for children with developmental delays or disabilities.

Age group(s): Infant, Toddler
Resource Type: Toolkit

View more resources

Practice and Improve

CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System

CIRCLE Progress Monitoring (C-PM) is a free preschool assessment system that was validated in multiple research studies. Programs can choose which measures to use, and results are available in family-friendly reports. Texas Rising Star programs are eligible to access C-PM at no cost through the TSR Online program. Follow instructions for TSR Online access when creating your CLI Engage account to start accessing this assessment.

Resource Type: Assessment
Developmental Milestones Checklists for Infants, Toddlers, and Three-Year-Olds

These milestone checklists are divided into age ranges and areas of development, and they can be used by families or program staff of children from birth to 48 months of age. This informal student assessment tool supports early learning programs to measure children’s developmental progress.

Resource Type: Assessment
Family Observation Forms

Assessment practices should include receiving input from families on children’s developing skills. The CIRCLE Progress Monitoring: Family Observation Forms are appropriate for preschool children and can be used in conversations with families to identify skills that could be supported at home and at the program.

Resource Type: Observation Form

View more resources by clicking the link for each measure in the Define section.