From Alyssa Ciarlante, M.A. | Research Associate
We are just passing the halfway point of the program year, and for many educators, that means we are halfway through a year of building within-child protective factors with the DECA Program! Have you begun to think about how you might use the Devereux Early Childhood Assessments (DECAs) to capture, evaluate and share the results of your skill-building efforts?
As a standardized, norm-referenced assessment of within-child protective factors related to resilience, the DECAs allow educators and parents to assess children’s skills at a specific point in time. Use of the assessment offers information about children’s strengths and needs across three key protective factors related to resilience: Initiative, Attachment/Relationships, and Self-Regulation. Gathering specific information about children’s strengths and needs in these domains can guide instructional planning and support the use of targeted strategies to promote skill development. In addition to guiding instruction, the information provided by the DECAs can be used to measure skill development over time, allowing programs to effectively assess outcomes.
One method of measuring outcomes with the DECAs is through progress monitoring. Progress monitoring consists of using the DECAs multiple times throughout the program year to check in on how skills are developing. Progress monitoring offers programs a way to measure whether specific strategies for building protective factors are effective and provides an opportunity to adjust in order to promote successful outcomes. Another method of measuring outcomes with the DECAs is through program evaluation. Program evaluation typically occurs at the end of the program year, and allows programs to assess their effectiveness in promoting within-child protective factors over the entire year. Practicing program evaluation with the DECA Program can help tell the story of a program by quantifying and describing overall outcomes.
If you are interested in using the DECA Program to assess outcomes, more information on progress monitoring, program evaluation, and applications of both methods is available in our published guide, Measuring Outcomes with the DECA. And if you want more information on how to get the most out of your data, learn about our Data Analysis Services. You can also join us for our free, one-hour webinar on Thursday, March 15th at 2:00pm (EST): How to Measure & Assess Outcomes of the DECA Program. REGISTER TODAY!