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Welcome to Austin Community College

Child Assessment and Screening

Purpose Statement

Child assessment and screening is used at the Lab School for the following purposes:

  • Informing parents about the development of their child
  • Involving parents in understanding and planning for their child
  • Assisting teachers in planning for individual children and for the group
  • Identifying areas of concern for further evaluation


Effective assessment:

  • Is developmentally appropriate
  • Is used to understand and improve learning
  • Is conducted as part of children’s daily activities
  • Uses multiple sources of evidence gathered over time
  • Documents both the process and content of each child’s learning
  • Includes parents in the process

Vision and Hearing

The Special Senses and Communications Disorders Act, Texas Health and Safety Code, requires that all four and five year old children enrolled in a child care facility licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) be provided with a vision and hearing screening. Child care centers are required to file a report annually with the Texas Department of Health summarizing the results of the screening. To meet these requirements the Lab School collaborates with the ACC School of Nursing to provide vision and hearing screenings at no cost for children 3 years and older. Vocational nursing students, trained and certified through the Texas Department of Health, administer the hearing and vision screenings under the supervision of Nursing Department Faculty. Parents are asked to share any family history of vision and hearing problems prior to the screenings. Parents are notified if the screening indicates a concern and a referral is recommended.

Developmental Screening

With parent permission, a developmental screening is administered by a trained professional within three months of enrollment. These screenings help staff better understand children who are new to the program and can sometimes catch possible delays so that teachers and parents can work together to plan for the child and/or a referral can be made. Currently ACC Vocational Nursing Program students, under the supervision of Nursing Department Faculty, administer the developmental screenings, using the Denver Developmental Screening Test II (DDST II), a nationally recognized screening tool. The DDST II compares a child’s development to those children in his/her age range in the following areas: personal-social, fine-motor adaptive, language, and gross motor. Parents are asked to complete a Denver Prescreening Developmental Questionnaire (PDQ II) prior to the screening to share information about their child. With younger children the developmental screenings are done in the children’s classroom. The screenings may be administered outside the classroom for older children to avoid distractions. The nursing students observe first and then do some simple activities with the children. The results are shared with parents if a concern is indicated or at their request. Referrals for further evaluation are made if appropriate. The screening information is placed in the child’s file here at the center. The nursing program only collects aggregate data related to the number of children screened; no personal information about children is collected and retained by the nursing program.

Developmental Assessment

Developmental assessment tools are sequential lists of developmental skills that provide a snapshot of a child’s development. They identify strengths as well as needs, provide data that can be used in planning and may indicate need for evaluation. The New Portage Guide, Birth to Six is the developmental assessment used throughout the entire time a child is enrolled in our program. Information about the child’s growth and development is collected, utilizing the Portage “Tool for Observation and Planning” (TOP) which focuses on the following developmental areas:

  • Communication/Language/Literacy
  • Social Emotional Development
  • Exploration/Approaches to Learning
  • Purposeful Motor Activity
  • Sensory Organization

Each Developmental Area is divided into Strands, each with specific indicators. The TOP is divided up into six age ranges: birth-9 months, 9-18 months, 18-36 months, 3- 4 years, 4- 5 years and 5-6 years. The TOP is designed to gather developmental information on children through systematic naturalistic observations which can be used to plan for individual children as well as the group. Parents are asked to share information and observations about their children, both informally (daily conversations with teachers, during home visits) and formally (enrollment forms, parent-teacher conferences). Parent input and assessment information from the TOP are used to set goals and make plans for each child using the Child Planning and Family Partnership Document and for the group using the weekly planning form.

Child Portfolio

The developmental assessment becomes part of the child’s portfolio, which also contains work samples, photos and observations. A portfolio is a way to document a child’s on-going efforts and developmental progress over time. Typically the child portfolio is shared with parents at the spring parent conference. The portfolio is passed up each year to the next classroom teaching team and given to the child and parent when they leave the program.