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Child outcome standards in pre-k programs

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Policy brief issue 5, March 2004
Shore, Rima; Bodrova, Elena and Leong, Deborah
Publication Date: 
1 Mar 2004

Available in print for order (see SOURCE) and online for download.

Excerpts from brief:

This brief provides an overview of the extension of the standards movement to preschool programs. It presents the conditions and special considerations necessary for standards to have a positive impact on preschool children and strengthen accountability.


- Because standards reflect the values of the people who set them, collaboration with families and communities is a key to the successful design and implementation of preschool standards.

- Standards documents should distinguish clearly between program standards and child outcome standards.

- Outcome standards need to be written in ways that take into account the unique ways that young children develop and learn, considering all aspects of school readiness identified by the National Education Goal Panel.

- Standards that address physical health, social-emotional development, and approaches to learning need to have as much emphasis and specificity as those that address cognitive and language development.

- Standards should allow for a coherent educational experience. Preschool standards should allow continuity with kindergarten standards, but not at the expense of attention to physical and social-emotional development.

- Standards should be written in ways that allow for appropriate, effective assessment. Assessment policies and practices should go beyond accountability to foster program improvement.