Developmental Screening and Authentic Assessment

Developmental Screening

Pre-K for All programs are required to use a valid and reliable developmental screening tool to identify potential developmental delays and language support needs. Screening tools assist educators in learning about the various aspects of a child’s development, such as language, cognition, perception, and motor development. 
Teachers administering developmental screenings should take into consideration the needs and backgrounds of the children they are screening and ensure they are being culturally, linguistically, and developmentally responsive. 

The following developmental screening tools are approved for use: 

The Division of Early Childhood Education provides materials and training for the ESI-R only.

Please click here for NYCDOE developmental screening policy, important dates, and screening guidance.

Authentic Assessment System

Authentic assessments provide Pre-K for All educators a system to monitor students' developmental progress across all domains of learning, as outlined in the NYS Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core (PKFCC), to inform curriculum development and instruction.

Pre-K classrooms are required to use a developmentally appropriate, valid, and reliable authentic assessment system to monitor developmental progress, plan instruction, and inform family engagement. Authentic assessments include a formative collection of qualitative student data (e.g. student observations and work samples). By utilizing authentic assessments, teaching staff deepen their shared understanding of students' development and learning across the domains of the PKFCC to inform instruction and family engagement.   

Authentic assessment systems support teachers to: 

  • Strategically collect observational data and work samples
  • Analyze that information along a developmental continuum
  • Plan instruction that is responsive to the needs of individual students and groups of students.
  • Inform family engagement practices.  

DECE Approved Authentic Assessment Systems

These authentic assessment options have been approved by the DECE for Pre-K for All programs to utilize throughout the school year. Please note all approved online authentic assessment systems align to the PKFCC and can be used with any developmentally appropriate pre-K curriculum. Teaching staff should use an approved authentic assessment system to actively solicit students' understanding and ideas of their own learning to be incorporated into instructional practices.

Work Sampling System

The Work Sampling System (WSS) is an authentic assessment system that informs educators about their students' skills, behaviors, and academic achievement across seven domains:

  1. Personal & Social
  2. Language & Literacy
  3. Mathematical Thinking
  4. Scientific Thinking
  5. Social Studies
  6. The Arts
  7. Physical Development & Health

Teachers develop student portfolios by collecting student observations and work samples throughout the year for three Citywide Checkpoint periods: Fall, Winter, and Spring. For more information, please see Work Sampling System/Online.

Teaching Strategies GOLD

Teaching Strategies GOLD is an authentic assessment system that tracks students' development across ten domains:

  1. Language
  2. Literacy
  3. Mathematics
  4. Social-emotional
  5. Physical
  6. Cognitive
  7. Science & Technology
  8. Social Studies
  9. The Arts
  10. English Language Acquisition

Teachers collect evidence of student learning through student observations and work samples throughout the year for three Citywide Checkpoint periods: Fall, Winter, and Spring. For more information, please see Teaching Strategies GOLD.

High Scope Child Observation Record Advantage

The High Scope Child Observation Record Advantage (COR) is an authentic assessment system that tracks students' development across six domains:

  1. Language & Literacy
  2. Mathematics & Science
  3. Initiative
  4. Social Relations
  5. Creative Representation
  6. Movement & Music

Teachers collect evidence of student learning through the collection of student observations and work samples throughout the year for three Citywide Checkpoint periods: Fall, Winter, and Spring. For more information, please see High Scope Child Observation Record/Child Observation Record Advantage.

Assessment Requirements

Authentic assessment data consists of annotated student observations and work samples. Data must be collected throughout the school year and aggregated at least three times per school year in the form of Developmental Summary Reports. Authentic assessment data must be used to develop:

  • Student Portfolios
    • Teachers must:
      • Collect annotated observations and work samples regularly throughout the school year
      • Align student portfolio items to authentic assessment system domains and indicators
    • Student portfolio items are entered online and hard copies can be stored within the classroom
  • Developmental Summary Reports
    • Teachers must:
      • Complete Developmental Summary Reports by using student portfolio items to assess each student's progress along a developmental continuum, across the domains of learning
      • Complete Developmental Summary Reports three times per school year during the Fall, Winter, and Spring Citywide Checkpoints
      • Use the data to individualize practice and set goals that address the needs of each student
    • Developmental Summary Reports are stored online and in the student's cumulative folder

The DECE recommends that site leaders meet regularly with teaching staff to:

  • Review student portfolio items and developmental progressions
  • Use developmental progressions to inform ongoing instruction and support

Additionally, teachers should communicate developmental progressions to families regularly and during Family-Teacher conferences.

Student Record Transfer Process

In an effort to support smooth transitions from Pre-K for All program settings into elementary school, the NYCDOE requires that pre-K teachers print the authentic assessment developmental summary reports and include them in each student's cumulative folder as part of the student record transfer process into Kindergarten. This assessment is outlined in the Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) Regulations, Section 151-1 and helps provide Kindergarten teachers with a more complete understanding of incoming students’ strengths and the supports that they may need.  

For questions, email