Blog

  • Behind the scenes with fellow SLP, Nancy Castilleja

    Nancy Castilleja, SLP

    Nancy, a fellow speech-language pathologist, worked in clinical practice for many years before coming to Pearson. She didn't simply happen upon her career as an SLP. Perhaps like you, Nancy’s interest in following a path to help people with communication disorders was sparked by her experiences with some very special people in her life.

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  • When the question is “Are they ready?”, ESI-3 is the answer!

    Teacher with students

    How do you know if your students are ready for the next level or if they’re at risk for school failure? Spring benchmarking is the ideal time to get a full picture of each student’s abilities in order to determine if they’re ready for the next step in their educational journey. Knowing what to look for and having a test that assesses all domains of development are the most critical factors in that process.

    We have a number of valid and reliable tools to help you make that determination. For students ages 2:6–5:11, assess Motor, Concepts, Language, Self-Help, and Social-Emotional domains with the Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning(TM), Fourth Edition (DIAL(TM)-4). To assess Visual Motor/Adaptive, Language and Cognition, and Gross Motor domains for students ages 3:0–5:11, use Early Screening Inventory(TM), Third Edition (ESI(TM)-3).  

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  • Sensitivity, specificity, and the agreement index

    Teacher with students

    What are they, and why do they matter when choosing a developmental screener?

    The extent to which a test performs accurately in a screening situation can be determined by the three indices of a test’s validity: Sensitivity, Specificity, and the Agreement Index. Here’s a brief explanation of each and how they relate to a test’s validity:

    • Sensitivity relates to the proportion of the children at the extreme end of the continuum (Potential Delay category) who were identified as such in the screening process.
    • Specificity refers to the proportion of those children in the OK category who were identified as OK in the screening process.
    • Agreement Index refers to the percentage of children for whom the screening decision was correct, whether at the extreme or in the “OK” range.

    These three indices are the best way to determine the extent to which a screening test is doing what it is supposed to do: separating children at the extreme end (potential learning delays) from children who perform in a more typical manner. Having these factors at play when identifying the children who may need further testing can help get them the support they need... sooner.

    ESI-3 takes all three indices into account!

    If you need to take a closer look at overall abilities to determine where additional support may be necessary, the Early Screening Inventory, Third Edition will give you the tools you need to individually screen kids ages 3:0–5:11 in several areas of development.  

    Read the previous articles in this series.

    For more information on developmental screening with the ESI-3, visit  

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  • Reliable, valid, or both?

    Teacher with students

    Reliability, as it pertains to assessment, is a measure of consistency. For example, if a group of people took a test on two different occasions, they should get nearly the same scores both times, assuming that no memory of the items carries over to the second. If an examinee scored high the first time and low the second, we wouldn’t have any basis for interpreting the test’s results. Initially, the most common means of determining reliability was to have the examinee take the same test twice or to take alternate forms of a test. The scores of the two administrations would then be correlated. Generally, one would hope for a correlation between the two administrations to reach .85 to the maximum correlation of +1.00. Reliability is the essential condition of a test: if it’s not reliable, it has to be disregarded.

    That being said, a test can be reliable without being valid. A central component in early childhood screening test validity is how accurately the test identifies children who may be in need of service. However, no matter how careful examiners are, there will be some error in the decision-making process. Some children identified as OK, may actually be in the Potentially Delayed range and vice versa. Verifying the validity of the tests you use is paramount in identifying kids who are in need of extra support.

    With ESI-3, you don’t have to choose between valid and reliable!

    If you need to take a closer look at overall abilities to determine where additional support may be necessary, the Early Screening Inventory, Third Edition will give you the tools you need to individually screen kids ages 3:0–5:11 in several areas of development.

    Read the previous articles in this series.  

    For more information on developmental screening with the ESI-3, visit  

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  • Where does individuality end and true delay begin?

    Photo of Teacher with Students

    Human beings are inherently unique. From eye, skin, and hair color to height, weight, and overall build, no two people are exactly alike. Even identical twins have at least one physical trait that differentiates one from the other.

    Just as each person is unique physically, so, too are they in their developmental abilities. Where one infant may smile and begin communicating nonverbally at 6 weeks of age, another might roll over at 10 weeks, then smile for the first time. One baby might not ever crawl, but completely stun their parents by pulling themselves up on a chair leg at 10 months and toddling across the kitchen. One baby might sing themselves the “Happy Birthday song” on their first birthday while another doesn’t start communicating verbally until after their second.

    Although early childhood experts have general guidelines for milestones, each child is unique in their own development. That being said, knowing when a baby or young child is truly delayed is often critical to making sure they receive the interventions necessary to get them — and keep them — on track.

    Areas of development to screen for:

    • Physical development
      • sensory abilities: acuity, discrimination, perception
      • fine motor skills, gross motor skills
    • Cognitive development (intellectual abilities)
    • Communication development (speech and language)
    • Social or emotional development (social skills, emotional control)
    • Adaptive development (self-care skills)

    Screening for developmental delays gives you a closer look at their overall abilities to determine where additional support may be necessary. The Early Screening Inventory, Third Edition gives you the tools needed to individually screen kids ages 3:0–5:11 in several areas of development. In short, ESI™-3 makes finding the kids that need extra support... easier.

    Read the previous articles in this series.

    For more information on developmental screening with the ESI-3, visit PearsonAssessments.com/ESI-3.  

     

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  • Are your students in need of extra support?

    Teacher with young students

    The connections for learning, behavior, and health in a child’s brain are the most flexible when they are young, and over time, these connections become harder to change. As with any other skill, the sooner a child receives intervention for developmental delays, the better their outcomes typically are. Developmental screening is the most effective way to identify children who need further evaluation in order to get them the support they need sooner rather than later.

    Developmental screening should be used to:

    1. Identify children who may be in need of further evaluation
    2. Assist teachers in getting to know their students’:
      • Cognition
      • Adaptive skills
      • Language skills
      • Fine and gross motor skills
    3. Help prevent severe delays from going unrecognized

    Developmental screening should not be used as:

    • A means to make a diagnostic decision
    • A school entry or readiness test
    • An achievement test

    A typical developmental screening tool will contain items such as name, color recognition, printing letters, picture recognition, rote counting, and identifying body parts. The Early Screening Inventory, Third Edition (ESI-3) goes beyond these “typical” categories to help attain a deeper understanding of a child’s abilities.

    ESI-3:

    • Measures visual motor-adaptive skills through block building, copy forms, and visual-sequential memory to help understand how a child can coordinate their visual capacities with their fine motor abilities.
    • Connects language and cognition with number concepts rather than just rote counting, and verbal expression rather than just identifying objects.
    • Measures verbal reasoning which enables them complete analogies, and auditory-sequential memory which enables them to recall items in a particular sequence.
    • Measures gross motor skills through balancing, hopping, and skipping.

    Hear about the importance of developmental screening, and the power of the ESI-3 from its author, Dr. Miesels!

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  • Early childhood development and the 10 indicators of risk

    Now that you’ve watched Gloria Maccow’s video answering the five basic questions about early childhood development, you might be wondering how you can identify the children in your care who may need extra support. HeadStart has provided an Early Learning Outcomes Framework (HSELOF) which presents five broad areas of early learning — central domains — which reflect research-based expectations for learning and development. The framework emphasizes the key skills, behaviors, and knowledge that programs must foster in children ages birth to 5 to help them be successful in school and life:

    • Cognition
    • Language and literacy
    • Approaches to learning
    • Social and emotional development
    • Perception, motor, and physical development

    There are some well-known indicators for identifying children who may be at risk or need extra support.

    The 10 indicators of risk:

    1. Difficulties following directions or routines
    2. Clumsy (gross and/or fine motor skills)
    3. Difficulties interacting with peers
    4. Talked late compared to peers
    5. Slow vocabulary growth
    6. Extremely restless and easily distracted
    7. Poor articulation
    8. Difficulty naming known objects quickly
    9. Poor phonological awareness skills
    10. Poor letter-naming skills/math skills

    While some of these are typical of any young child, none should be discounted, and further screening is recommended. Using a tool that aligns with the HeadStart Framework is important to ensure you are measuring a child’s progress against a well-known and respected standard.

    Early Screening Inventory, Third Edition (ESI-3) aligns with HeadStart, and can quickly identify where they may need additional support in or outside of the classroom, with reporting that can be shared with parents.

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