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Measuring Infant/Toddler Language Development: Lessons Learned About Assessment and Screening Tools

Published: July 17, 2015
Early Head Start, Head Start
Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Study (Baby FACES), 2007-2020 | Learn more about this project

Using data from the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (Baby FACES), this brief explores how well several parent- and staff-reported language screening and assessment tools perform in a low-income Early Head Start population. Specifically, the brief examines the reliability of the tool or the ability of the tool to produce scores that are stable regardless of when the tool is administered, where it is administered, and who administers it. It also explores the validity of the tools or whether the scores accurately capture a child’s progress on the developmental domain it is intended to measure.

Although this brief is not meant to be a complete review of the wide array of language instruments that are available to screen and assess the infant and toddler population, the brief highlights several well-known parent- and staff-reported language tools and observational measures used in Baby FACES:

  • Ages & Stages Questionnaires Third Edition Communication scale (ASQ-3)
  • MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (CDI)
  • Early Communication Indicator adapted for use in Baby FACES (ECI-Adapted).

The brief concludes with suggestions for factors programs should consider when selecting measures of children’s development.

Last Reviewed: April 29, 2019