Several years ago, the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) developed a tool to assess children’s early learning and development with the goal of informing instruction and supporting communication with families. This tool, the Connecticut Documentation and Observation for Teaching System (CT DOTS) is an observational assessment that guides educators in collecting evidence of children’s skills and behaviors and using this evidence to assess children’s progress relative to the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS).
The CT DOTS was designed in alignment with CT ELDS, which describe 26 learning progressions grouped into eight domains:
- Social and emotional development
- Physical development and health
- Language and literacy
- Creative arts
- Social studies
Consistency in ratings across educators is important because it ensures the growth of children is being assessed and supported similarly across all early learning programs. To this end, in 2019, the OEC commissioned a small study on the CT DOTS to examine how consistently early childhood educators can use the CT DOTS. PEER is conducting this reliability study in partnership with the OEC and the RESC Alliance as part of the OEC’s Quality Improvement and Supports program. In this pilot study, the RESC Alliance will provide professional development focused on the CT DOTS to a group of early childhood educators, who will then independently review simulated data for fictional children and assign CT DOTS rating. PEER will examine how consistently these educators can assign ratings relative to one another and relative to a group of expert raters.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the launch of this pilot study several times, PEER is now recruiting early childhood educators to participate in the study. PEER is excited to reach this milestone and looks forward to working with early childhood educators who are eligible to participate. The study offers a great learning opportunity for educators who have attended at least one CT DOTS introductory training and have at least 6 months of experience using CT DOTS in the classroom. To minimize burden during an already busy and stressful time, the study is being conducted virtually. Participating in the study will take 4-5 hours—2 hours for professional development and 2-3 hours for independent rating of child data through a web-based platform. If multiple teachers from the same program sign up to participate together, they will have the opportunity to work together as they practice scoring simulated child data. The expert raters who are participating in this study have reported the process of reviewing the simulated data and discussing their ratings to be engaging and enlightening. It is PEER’s hope that these trainings help educators to more effectively and efficiently incorporate CT DOTS data into their classroom practice. To learn more about the project or to sign up, please email email@example.com.