Why Common Measures?
In 2006, the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund (the Children’s Cabinet) and University of Kansas created the Accountability Framework to assess Children’s Initiatives Fund (CIF) programs. In 2013, the Children’s Cabinet instituted a “common measures initiative” (CMI) in order to answer the question “what difference do early childhood programs make, and how do the outcomes relate to the goals of the Children’s Cabinet?” The primary goal of the CMI is to establish measures that can be used throughout the state in similar programs to document the outcomes associated with Children’s Cabinet-funded programs for early childhood. The CMI does so by implementing a small number of psychometrically sound tools to measure a core set of targeted outcomes across a variety of programs. Statistical analysis of the common measures data allows empirical demonstration of the effectiveness of the programs, as well as identification of opportunities for improvement.
Selection of Common Measures
The common measures were selected to most accurately document child, family and classroom outcomes for the widest range of grantee programs. The current common measures were selected using the following criteria:
Established reliability and validity
Reliability and validity are, respectively, indicators of whether the instrument produces consistent results each time it is used and actually measures what it intends. The following graphic illustrates these concepts:
Some instruments can be reliable and valid but are not able to capture change across time. Because of the importance of measuring growth or change, particularly for the children involved in Children’s Cabinet-funded programs, sensitivity to change was considered to be essential for the common measures. This requirement was only applied to outcome measures and not measures intended to be used for universal screening.
Normed to Reflect Typical Development
“Norming” refers to the process of identifying what would be considered typical development or attainment of expected developmental milestones. Some instruments are not normed and therefore cannot provide a reliable indication of whether a child is on track compared to other children with similar characteristics and circumstances.
More information regarding psychometrics: Introduction to Psychometrics.
Current use by programs
Special consideration was given to reliable, valid and normed measures already being used by grantees for the purpose of continuity and ease of adoption.
Usefulness for Continuous Quality Improvement
The selected measures would be of little value if they were not useful to grantees in making decisions about programs. Measures were selected with the goal of providing both data on outcomes and targeted information regarding the quality of services to children and families.
Consistent with the Outcomes Identified in the Children’s Cabinet Blueprint for Early Childhood
In order to identify the impact of funding, the common measures align specifically with outcomes related to Healthy Development, Strong Families, and Early Learning.
- Ages and Stages Questionnaire, 3rd Edition (ASQ-3) and the Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social-Emotional (ASQ: SE)
- Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA)
- Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs)
- Home Observation for the Measurement of the Environment (HOME) Inventory
- Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale (KIPS)
- Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)
- Protective Factors Survey (PFS)