Issue

Process for reviewing/analyzing draft content

Rationale:

Because the ELG document will be used to define expectations for children's development and learning, it is important to ensure that the content is appropriate and the document communicates the content as clearly as possible.

Recommendation(s):

States should conduct a thorough review/analysis of the draft content of the ELGs to ensure that it is age appropriate, developmentally significant, and appropriate for children from diverse backgrounds. Several different types of review/analysis processes can be conducted:

  • Expert review: Solicit reviews from individuals and/or agencies with content expertise in order to gather feedback for improvements that can be made to the draft document. Reviewers should include persons who have knowledge of children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and of cultural competence frameworks. Reviewers should also include persons who have experience working with children with disabilities.
  • Age-appropriateness evaluation: Implement a formal process to gauge the extent to which the ELGs are written at the appropriate level for the age groups. It is important to determine whether the ELGs are age appropriate for the children with whom the document will be used. States might elect to conduct a review of research literature to determine if the specific knowledge and skills described in the ELGs are age appropriate. Alternatively, states might elect to conduct an age-validation study that collects data from children within the state to determine if the expectations articulated in the ELGs are age appropriate. The age-validation study is more scientific and will yield quantitative data that can be used to recalibrate the ELGs in instances where they may have been too "low" or too "high" in terms of the expectations articulated for children at different ages. States that conduct an age-validation study will have more confidence that the ELGs are age appropriate for the particular children being served in their own state.
  • Content analyses: Use a systematic process to analyze the content of the draft ELGs.
  • Alignment analyses: Use a systematic process to analyze the degree to which the content of the draft ELGs is consistent with the curricula and assessments used for this age (horizontal alignment) and/or consistent with the state's standards for children of other ages (vertical alignment).

Considerations:

General considerations: The number and type of reviews/analyses needed is somewhat determined by the intended use of the document. ELGs that are intended to be part of an accountability system require a greater number of and more sophisticated analyses. The degree to which the review/analysis is needed to validate the content and/or lend credibility to the document, the timeframe of the development process, and the level of funding available to support review/analysis activities should also be considered when determining what type of review/analysis to conduct. The persons involved in an expert review and/or ELG analysis process should be knowledgeable of the age range that the ELGs address and of issues that are particularly salient for the age. Research used to conduct age appropriateness reviews should be focused on the specific age range addressed in the ELGs and should include both the most recent studies available as well as seminal works, even if they are not the most current research. The review process should include consideration of important issues such as the influence that family, culture, and relationships have on children.

Age-specific considerations: The review/analysis process will be similar for ELGs written for infants and toddlers and ELGs written for preschoolers. It is, however, important to take the unique characteristics of the particular age range into consideration when planning and carrying out the review/analysis process. For instance, reviews/analyses conducted on ELGs for infants and toddlers may pay closer attention to issues related to children's physical development and may place particular emphasis on attachment and the importance of developing trusting relationships with caregivers. A review/analysis of preschool ELGs might place emphasis on a child's transition to formal schooling and research related to children's later success in school.

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