The Child Outcomes Summary Process
The Child Outcomes Summary (COS) is a team-based process to assess a child's functioning in three outcome areas using a 7-point scale. A team of individuals who are familiar with the child consider multiple sources of information about the child’s functioning to determine the ratings. The documentation of the child’s performance across settings involves parents and other caregiver observations to complete the assessment.
The three areas in which a child’s outcomes are reported are:
- Positive Social Emotional Skills
- Acquisition and Use of Knowledge and Skills
- Use of Appropriate Behaviors to Meet Needs
The ADE will no longer require PEAs to use a single tool to report child outcomes, rather, schools may conduct the Child Outcomes Summary Process using district-selected methods and tools. PEAs may select a preferred tool and train staff on the procedures to conduct the child outcomes assessment to determine outcomes ratings. The process must result in reliable and timely data submissions. The Child Outcomes Scores must reflect the IEP team's view of the child's performance upon entry of each child into the program and upon their exit. A COS process overview was presented at the Special Education Professionals Check-in, March 16, 2023.
Professional development is available to all Public Education Agencies to support the use of a high-quality COS process.
Purpose for Assessing Child Outcomes
Children's outcomes are assessed for several reasons:
- Federally reported data is used to determine if federal funding for provision of early childhood special education is making a difference for young children with disabilities and their families.
- State and Local Programs use results to know how well programs are serving children and families and how to help programs improve.
- Data is shared with Family and Community Members, so they know how children and programs are doing.
- Teachers use the results to inform instruction in the classroom.
Reporting Child Outcomes
Public Education Agencies (PEAs) will provide the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) with Child Outcomes Summary ratings for each outcome area upon entry of each child to a preschool special education program. PEAs will provide exit scores when the child leaves the program to enroll in kindergarten or is no longer considered a child with a disability. PEAs will also submit scores for each outcome area at the end of each school year. Data for child outcomes will be reported through the Arizona Education Data System (AzEDS) and reports, such as the SPED11 report, will be available for districts to review. The ADE will calculate summary data, such as Developmental Trajectories and Summary Scores, from the entry and exit COS scores for federal reporting. ESS Data Management published a technical assistance manual on Preschool Outcomes Data Submissions into AzEDS. This manual includes sections on Rating Scores, Progress Categories, Measurement Calculations, and AzEDS Data Transactions.
Entry, Exit, and End of Year Definitions:
- Entry: must be submitted within 45 days of entry, but should be submitted within the first week once the child attends the preschool special education program on all three outcome areas (Social Emotional, Knowledge and Skills, Behaviors to Meet Needs). Integrity will fail until the information is provided.
- Exit: the date a preschool-aged child no longer needs special education, or who has exited preschool to go to kindergarten, or who has moved out of the district.
- End of Year: represents the status of the child at the end of the school year. The child is not exiting from the program but rather is continuing on in the following year as a preschool-aged student.
Data Submission Time Frames:
- Entry data: will be submitted within 45 days of entry to the preschool special education program on all three outcome areas (Social Emotional, Knowledge and Skills, Behaviors to Meet Needs).
- Exit data: required within 30 days of exit from the preschool special education program on all three outcome areas (Social Emotional, Knowledge and Skills, Behaviors to Meet Needs). Data must be submitted prior to the end of the fiscal year, June 30th. Exit scores may not be calculated prior to 30 days before the end of the school year.
- End of the Year: data submission timelines are the same as for exit data (end of the school year status) to report functioning on all three areas.