Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) means voluntary, common standards for a key set of education data elements (e.g., demographics, program participation, transition, and course information) at the early learning, K-12, and postsecondary levels developed through a national collaborative effort being led by the National Center for Education Statistics. CEDS focus on standard definitions, code sets, and technical specifications of a subset of key data elements and are designed to increase data interoperability, portability, and comparability across early learning programs and agencies, States, districts, and postsecondary institutions.
Comprehensive Assessment System means a coordinated and comprehensive system of multiple assessments – each of which is valid and reliable for its specified purpose and for the population with which it will be used – that organizes information about the process and context of young children's learning and development in order to help Early Childhood Educators make informed instructional and programmatic decisions. A Comprehensive Assessment System includes, at a minimum--
- Screening Measures;
- Formative Assessments;
- Measures of Environmental Quality; and
- Measures of the Quality of Adult-Child Interactions.
Note: The use of these assessments must conform with the recommendations of the National Research Council's reports on early childhood.
Data System Oversight Requirements means policies for ensuring the quality, privacy, and integrity of data contained in a data system, including--
- A data governance policy that identifies the elements that are collected and maintained; provides for training of system users in internal controls; establishes who will have access to the information and how the information may be used; sets appropriate internal controls to restrict access to only authorized users; sets criteria for determining the legitimacy of data requests; establishes processes that verify the accuracy, completeness, and age of the information elements maintained in the system; sets procedures for determining the sensitivity of each inventoried element and the risk of harm if that information was improperly disclosed; and establishes procedures for disclosure review and auditing; and
- A transparency policy that informs the public, including families, Early Childhood Educators, and programs of the existence of data systems that house personally identifiable information, explains what data elements are included in such a system, enables parental consent to disclose personally identifiable information as appropriate, and describes allowable and potential uses of the data.
Early Childhood Educator means any professional working in Early Learning and Development Programs, including but not limited to center-based and family child care providers, infant and toddler specialists, early intervention specialists and early childhood special educators, home visitors, related service providers, administrators, Head Start teachers, Early Head Start teachers, preschool and other teachers, teacher assistants, family service staff, and health coordinators.
Early Learning and Development Program means any (a) State-licensed or State-regulated program or provider, regardless of setting or funding source, that provides early care and education for children from birth to kindergarten entry, including, but not limited to, programs operated by child care centers and in family child care homes; (b) preschool programs funded by the Federal government, State or local educational agencies (including Individuals with Disabilities Education Act-funded programs); (c) Early Head Start and Head Start programs; and (d) any non-relative child care providers not otherwise regulated by the State and regularly cares for two or more unrelated children for a fee in a provider setting.
Early Learning Intermediary Organization means an organization (statewide, regional, or community-based) that represents networks of Early Learning and Development Programs in the State that have influence or authority over those Early Learning and Development Programs, including, but not limited to, Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, State Head Start Associations, Family Child Care Associations, State affiliates of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, State affiliates of the Council for Exceptional Children's Division of Early Childhood and, where appropriate, the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association, the National Tribal, American Indian, and Alaskan Native Head Start Association, and the National Indian Child Care Association.
Early Learning and Development Standards means a set of expectations, guidelines, or developmental milestones that describe what all children from birth until kindergarten entry should know and be able to do and their disposition toward learning. These standards must be appropriate for each age group of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and English learners, and for children with developmental delays and disabilities. In addition, the standards must cover all the Essential Domains of School Readiness, and must be developmentally, linguistically, and culturally appropriate.
Essential Data Elements means the critical child, program, and workforce data elements of a coordinated early learning data system, including--
- A unique statewide child identifier or another highly accurate, proven method to link data on that child to and from the Statewide Longitudinal Data System, including kindergarten entry assessment data;
- A unique statewide worker/teacher identifier;
- A unique program site identifier;
- Child and family demographic information;
- Early Childhood Educator demographic information including data on educational attainment and State credential or licenses held, as well as professional development information;
- Data on the program's structure, quality, child suspension and expulsion rates, staff retention, and work environment, including all applicable data reported as part of the State's Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System; and
- Child-level program participation and attendance data.
Essential Domains of School Readiness means the domains of language and literacy development, cognition and general knowledge (including early mathematics and early scientific development), approaches toward learning, physical well-being and motor development, and social and emotional development.
Formative Assessment means assessment questions, tools, and processes that are specifically designed to monitor children's progress along the Early Learning and Development Standards and to guide and improve instructional practice, and are valid and reliable for their intended purposes and their target populations.
High-Need Children means children from birth until kindergarten entry who are from low-income families or otherwise in need of special assistance and support, including children who have disabilities or developmental delays, who are English learners, who reside on "Indian lands" as that term is defined by Section 8013(6) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, of 1965, who are migrant, homeless, or in foster care; and other children as identified by the State.
High-Quality Plan means a plan that includes, at a minimum, the following components--
- A description of the current policies, practices, and resources;
- The key goals of the plan.
- The key activities to be undertaken and rationale for the activities, which include why the specific activities are thought to bring about the change envisioned and how these activities are linked to the key goals of the plan, and an explanation of how the policies, practices, and resources described in (a) will change as a result of implementing this plan, if applicable.
- The timeline for implementing the activities;
- The party or parties responsible for implementing each activity;
- The information requested in the performance measures, where applicable;
- The information requested under the selection criteria as supporting evidence, if any, together with any additional information the State believes will be helpful to peer reviewers in judging the credibility of the plan; and
- Any specific elements of the plan that describe how the State will meet the unique needs of the following categories of High-Need Children (as applicable): children who have disabilities or developmental delays, who are English learners, who are living in Tribal communities, and who are homeless or in foster care; and other children as identified by the State.
Lead Agency means the State-level agency designated by the Governor for the administration of the grant; this agency is the fiscal agent for the grant. The Lead Agency must be one of the Participating State Agencies.
Measures of Environmental Quality means valid and reliable indicators of the overall quality of the early learning environment.
Measures of the Quality of Adult-Child Interactions means the measures obtained through a valid and reliable process for observing how teachers and caregivers interact with children. The process should be designed to promote child learning and to identify strengths and areas for improvement for early learning professionals.
Participating State Agency means a State agency that administers public funds related to early learning and development and is participating in the State Plan. The following State agencies must be Participating State Agencies: the agencies that administer or supervise the administration of the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part C and Part B Section 619, State-funded preschool, Home Visiting, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), the Head Start State Collaboration Grant, the State Advisory Council on Early Care and Education, and Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant; and the State's Child Care Licensing Agency and the State's Education Agency. Other State agencies, such as the agencies that administer or supervise the administration of Child Welfare, Mental Health, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), are encouraged to participate in the State Plan.
Participating Program means an Early Learning and Development Program that elects to carry out activities described in the State Plan.
Program Standards means the standards that serve as the basis for a Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System and define levels of quality for Early Learning and Development Programs. Program Standards are expressed, at a minimum, by the extent to which--
- Early Learning and Development Standards are implemented through evidence-based activities, interventions, or curricula that are appropriate for each age group of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers;
- Comprehensive Assessment Systems are used routinely and appropriately to improve instruction and enhance program quality by providing robust and coherent evidence of--
- Children's learning outcomes and development; and
- Program performance;
- A qualified workforce improves young children's health, social, emotional, and educational outcomes;
- Strategies are successfully used to engage families in supporting their children's development and learning, including but not limited to: parent access to the program, ongoing two-way communication with families, parent education in child development, outreach to fathers and other family members, training and support for families as children move to preschool and kindergarten, social networks of support, intergenerational activities, linkages with community supports and family literacy programs, parent involvement in decision-making, and parent leadership development;
- Health promotion practices include developmental, behavioral, and sensory screening, referral, and follow up; promote physical activity, healthy eating habits, oral health and behavioral health; and support health literacy among parents;
- Effective data practices include gathering Essential Data Elements and entering them into the State's Statewide Longitudinal Data System or other early learning data system, using these data to guide instruction and program improvement, and making this information readily available to families; and
Screening Measures means age- and developmentally appropriate, valid, and reliable instruments that are used to identify children who may need follow-up services to address developmental, learning, or health needs in, at a minimum, the areas of physical health, behavioral health, oral health, child development, vision, and hearing.
State Plan means the plan submitted as part of the State's Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge application.
Statewide Longitudinal Data System means the State's longitudinal education data system that collects and maintains detailed, high-quality, student- and staff-level data that are linked across entities and, over time, providing a complete academic and performance history for each student. The Statewide Longitudinal Data System is typically housed within the State educational agency but includes or can be connected to early childhood, postsecondary, and labor data.
Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System means the system through which the State uses a set of progressively higher Program Standards to evaluate the quality of an Early Learning and Development Program and to support program improvement. A Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System consists of four components: (1) tiered Program Standards with multiple rating categories that clearly and meaningfully differentiate program quality levels; (2) monitoring to evaluate program quality based on the Program Standards; (3) supports to help programs meet progressively higher standards (e.g., through training, technical assistance, financial support); and (4) public availability of program quality ratings; and includes a process for validating the system.
Workforce Knowledge and Competencies means the set of expectations that describes what Early Childhood Educators (including those working with children with disabilities and English learners) should know and be able to do. These must, at a minimum, be evidence-based; incorporate knowledge and application of the State's Early Learning and Development Standards, the State's Comprehensive Assessment System, child development, and strategies for working with families; and incorporate feedback from experts at the State's postsecondary institutions and other early learning and development experts.