United states and uk see rise in early childhood assessment

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United states and uk see rise in early childhood assessment

  1. 1. United States and UK See Rise in Early Childhood AssessmentIn the United States, the American Board of Pediatrics reports that an approximate14 percent of young children suffer from some form of developmental disability.The numbers are similar in the United Kingdom. As testing for these disordersbecome more focused during the formative years, the number of accuratelydiagnosed cases continues to rise in both countries.Standardized testing of basic skills, previously implemented only in the later yearsof elementary and secondary education, has become a necessity in pinpointingearly developmental problems during the first few years of life. Variousassessments are useful in both predicting and diagnosing developmental disorders.Certain tests are aimed specifically at identifying one type of disorder in particular,such as the broad spectrum of disabilities included in the category of autism. Othertests, which have become more popular in early childhood education centers, aregeared more toward identifying general cognitive and behavioral problems so thatfurther testing can lead to a direct diagnosis.In the United Kingdom, children as young as two years old are now administeredcompulsory developmental assessments. This portion of a recent governmentintervention hopes to aid in the detection of underdevelopment in children beforeelementary school is even an option. This initiative is founded, in part, upon theproof that earlier diagnosis does, in fact, positively impact both the children andtheir families for an indefinite amount of time.As mandated by UK government officials, this new advance requires that earlychildhood education centers provide all parents and legal guardians with progressreports on a regular basis. Testing will assess a childs cognitive ability, checkingfor delays in skills associated with major sensory development, social skills, andthe ability to effectively communicate with others in their environment. While notgraded in the same way that standardized tests are graded, these regular checks willassist in diagnosing problems in children so that further action may be taken ifnecessary.As England begins to enforce early developmental testing, the United Statescontinues to place an increasing amount of emphasis on its own education system.President Obamas ideas for improving early preparation in preschool studentsinclude developmental testing for children prior to kindergarten.Because parents are often unaware of developmental problems in their own
  2. 2. children, the increase in standardized assessments in early education will serve toaid in accurate detection years earlier than previously thought possible. Childrenyounger than one year of age have been correctly identified as at risk for a varietyof mental and physical disorders with the implementation of these tests, providingfamilies and special education teachers with an advantage in the teaching process.After test results have been examined and a learning disability or disorder issuspected, a professional therapist, psychologist, or special education instructorcan move forward with the child in a way that is tailored specifically to that childsindividual needs. This may save years of questioning and searching (as well assubstantial amounts of money) for the childs family and the education system as awhole.

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