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Results Matter Nebraska

 

Results Matter Nebraska is a child, program, and family outcomes measurement system designed and implemented to improve programs and supports for all young children served by districts and their community partners, which may include Head Start and other community early childhood programs. 

Use the tabs below to find answers to frequently asked questions and explore relevant resources.

The purpose of measuring program outcomes is to ensure that young children participate in a high-quality early childhood program that contributes to positive cognitive, social, and health outcomes. Each district and ESU is required to participate in the Results Matter program outcomes system for all children birth to kindergarten entrance age.

PROGRAM QUALITY MEASURES

1. How is program quality measured?

  • Results Matter in NE uses observational tools to measure program quality.
  • Results Matter in NE calls for program outcome assessments that:
    • are reliable and valid;
    • measure multiple dimensions of the environment;
    • are research based and consistently show a relationship between program quality and child outcomes;
    • reflect evidence-based practices;
    • are inclusive of culture, race and ability;
    • inform decisions for continuous program quality improvement; and,
    • support teachers, children and families.

2. Which observation tools are used?

The Environment Rating Scales (ERS) are observational tools designed to measure the child’s experience in the program and how interacting with the environments has a direct effect on student development. Each tool is organized into subscales with multiple items in each subscale. 


Classroom Assessment Scoring Systems (CLASS) are observational tools designed to measure the quality of interactions between teachers and students and how the interactions impact student learning. Each tool is organized into domains with multiple dimensions in each domain. 

  • CLASS Infant: 4 domains and 13 dimensions within the domains.
    • Relational Climate (Relational behaviors, Emotion expression, Respect for infants’ state, Lack of adult negativity).
    • Teacher Sensitivity (Awareness and cue detection, Responsiveness, Infant comfort).
    • Facilitated Exploration (Involvement, Infant focused, Expansion of infants’ experience).
    • Early Language Support (Teacher talk, Communication support, Communication extension).
  • CLASS Pre-K-3rd: 3 domains and 10 dimensions within the domains.
    • Emotional Support (Positive climate, Negative climate, Educator sensitivity, Regard for child perspectives).
    • Classroom Organization (Behavior management, Productivity, Instructional learning formats).
    • Instructional Support (Concept Development, Quality of feedback, Language modeling).
  • CLASS Toddler: 2 domains and 8 dimensions within the domains.
    • Emotional and Behavioral Support (Positive climate, Negative climate, Teacher sensitivity, Regard for child perspectives, Behavior guidance).
    • Engaged Support for Learning (Facilitation of learning and development, Quality of feedback, Language modeling).
  • Upcoming CLASS training flyer

Home Visit Rating Scales (HOVRS3): The HOVRS is an observation measure that evaluates the effectiveness of the home visit, e.g., responsiveness to the family. 

 

The NDE Office of Early Childhood defines a quality standard score for ITERS-3 and ECERS-3 as 5 in each subscale and total program score. A quality standard score for CLASS has not yet been established. 

3. Who will conduct the observation?

Infant & Toddler

Center-Based (Sixpence): A Munroe Meyer Institute evaluator will complete the ITERS-3 for every new program and debrief with the program. Sixpence will pay associated costs. All other classrooms will participate in CLASS.

Center-Based (not Sixpence): An observer trained to the NDE approval standards will complete an observation of the classroom(s) as assigned by the NDE Office of Early Childhood using the ITERS-3, CLASS-Infant or CLASS-Toddler. The NDE will pay associated costs.

Home-Based (Sixpence): The Home Visit Rating Scales (HOVRS) is an observational measure that evaluates the effectiveness of the home visit, e.g., responsiveness to the family. All home visitors from each program will have a home visit videotaped for evaluation. The program will make a 30 minute video of a home visit session that includes planning with the parent and other typical home visit activities and submit to the program evaluator. Sixpence will pay associated costs.

Preschool: An observer trained to the NDE approval standards will complete an observation of the classroom(s) as assigned by the NDE Office of Early Childhood using the ECERS-3 or CLASS Pre-K-3. The NDE will pay the costs associated with the observations.

PROCEDURES FOR PROGRAM QUALITY ASSESSMENT

4. When will the observations take place?

Fall observations will be scheduled starting mid-September and will be completed by early December. Spring observations will be scheduled starting mid-February and will be completed by early May.

5. How will districts and ESUs be informed if they are selected for an onsite observation?

  • The classroom teacher and district identified Early Childhood contact and/or superintendent will receive a notification via email from the NDE 
  • Districts and ESUs that will be observed in the fall will receive email notification in August and those that will be observed in the spring will receive email notification in January.
  • The observation notification email will specify if the program will be observed using the ECERS-3 or if the program may choose between an ECERS-3 or CLASS observation.

6. Who are the observers?

  • Observers are persons across the state with an early childhood background who have achieved Nebraska Approval. The observers are currently working in or with early childhood programs.
  • Observers re-establish Nebraska Approval every six months, or every ten observations, whichever comes first.

7. How should the program prepare for the observation?

  • Districts should assure that classroom teachers and other appropriate staff have a basic understanding of the observation criteria and scoring process. It is recommended that staff attend a training on the observation tool that will be used for the observation. Training is available at sites across the state and can be found on the Nebraska Early Childhood Training Calendar.
  • The purpose of the observation is to see what a “typical” program day in the classroom looks like. Teachers should not plan special activities or a field trip for the day of the observation.
  • All district and ESU preschool center-based programs are expected to have child choice at least one-third (1/3) of the scheduled program time.

8. What happens during the observation?

  • The observer arrives at the scheduled time and observes for a minimum of 3 hours (ERS) or 2 hours (CLASS).
  • Observers are not part of the classroom supervision and do not interact with children or staff.

9. What happens following the observation?

  • The observer completes the scoring.
  • The observer writes a summary report.
  • The summary report and original score sheets are returned to the NDE or Sixpence.
  • Summary reports and score sheets are reviewed by the NDE Office of Early Childhood and/or Sixpence staff.
  • The NDE and/or Sixpence staff will share information with the program.
    • The NDE staff will make every effort to provide preliminary feedback to the program within 3 business days of the observation. A meeting may be scheduled for an in-depth conversation.
    • Sixpence staff will schedule with programs individually.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Environment Rating Scales

  • The NDE will schedule and conduct training that provides an introduction and a closer look at the ERS virtually and at locations throughout the state. The cost to attend training is the responsibility of the district or ESU. View a schedule of upcoming ERS training or visit the NECPRS Early Childhood Training Calendar.
  • Environment Rating Scale Institute (ERSI) webinars pertaining to specific items from the ECERS-3, ITERS-3 and FCCERS-3 tools will be available at no cost throughout the 2023-2024 school year. Registration and details on these trainings can be found on the NECPRS Early Childhood Training Calendar by entering a search for ERSI.
  • If you are interested in attending a Practice Using the Environment Rating Scale training, please complete our training request form.

CLASS Tools

The NDE will schedule and conduct training that provides an Introduction to the CLASS virtually and at locations throughout the state. The cost to attend training is the responsibility of the district or ESU. Training for Observation (Reliability) will also be available. View a schedule of upcoming CLASS training or visit the NECPRS Early Childhood Training Calendar. An introduction is also available online through Teachstone.

The Preschool Post

Opportunities for early childhood professional development are included in the Preschool Post e-newsletter. Check out some of our past issues and subscribe!

The Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System (NECPRS)

The Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System (NECPRS) is a free system that allows users to learn about and register for professional development opportunities, organize all their professional development records, and grow their professional resume.  

USING OUTCOME DATA

Data from the program quality assessment should be used to support and improve program outcomes as part of the Teaching/Learning Cycle:

  1. Observe and collect facts;
  2. Analyze and respond;
  3. Evaluate;
  4. Summarize, plan and communicate.

REPORTING OF OUTCOME DATA

Local:

Program quality assessment data should be shared with parents, school district/ESU, Head Start and other partners, and local community. The sharing of program quality assessment data involves explaining and analyzing results of all applicable assessments (e.g. Environment Rating Scales (ERS), Classroom Assessment Scoring Systems (CLASS), Home Visit Rating Scales (HOVRS), Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT) for Preschool Classrooms, Teaching Pyramid Infant-Toddler Observation Scale (TPITOS).

 

State:

Data from program quality assessments utilized by the Nebraska Department of Education is explained and analyzed in the Early Childhood Education Report for the state of Nebraska. The most recent report, as well as reports from previous years, can be found on the NDE Office of Early Childhood website.

The purpose of measuring child outcomes is to ensure that young children are active and successful participants during the early childhood years and in the future across all settings. Early childhood settings include home, childcare, preschool, or school programs, and in the community.  

The requirements for child data collection and online reporting using My Teaching Strategies GOLD™ are intended for use by teachers, practitioners, and program administrators who are responsible for measuring and reporting child progress. Ongoing data collection and reporting requirements apply to all children birth to kindergarten entrance enrolled in district or ESU early childhood programs and services. 

GETTING STARTED-MANAGING GOLD ACCOUNTS

1. How much does a GOLD subscription cost?

The following pricing is available under the NDE administrative umbrella:

Term Price
August 2, 2022—August 1, 2023 $12.30/portfolio
August 2, 2023—August 1, 2024 $12.65/portfolio
August 2, 2024—August 1, 2025 $13.00/portfolio

 

An unlimited number of archived slots are included in the subscription fee. 

2. What is the GOLD subscription period?

The GOLD subscription period is August 1 – July 31 each year.

3. Which children are required to be included in the GOLD system?

  • All children from six-months to kindergarten entrance age enrolled in any program provided by a district or ESU, or in partnership with another entity must be included.
  • It is the responsibility of the school district to ensure that all children, as detailed above, are included in the GOLD system and are assigned an ADVISER ID. The child’s ADVISER ID number must be entered into each child’s profile.

4. Who is responsible for managing and verifying child outcome data for a district?

  • The district-designated GOLD online administrator is responsible for overseeing all data entry, reporting, and information updates for the district or ESU. At least one online administrator must be a district employee. A district may elect to also include an ESU or Cooperative staff member, or Head Start manager as an online administrator.
  • The district’s GOLD online administrator(s) is the official contact for all the NDE communication in regard to GOLD.
    • The district may designate different district contacts for specific GOLD functions: GOLD online administrator, GOLD child portfolio transfer and GOLD child data verification.
    • Refer to the GOLD monthly job targets to assist the GOLD Online Administrator/s on which tasks to complete monthly.
  • In a partnership program, there must be an online administrator for the district and an online administrator for the EHS/HS.
    • At the beginning of the year, there needs to be an agreement between the district and EHS/HS GOLD administrators regarding the level of access each user receives, team member access, and funding source administrator access.
    • Funding source administrator access allows programs to share child level data. This access must be granted through the NDE. Contact tsgold@nebraskacloud.org for access. Refer to the support portal in GOLD for more information regarding funding source administrator access.

5. Who holds the GOLD account?

  • Either the district, ESU or the Early Head Start/Head Start (EHS/HS) program may hold the child account.
  • If the EHS/HS program holds the online child account, the district and EHS/HS program staff must identify and document in their Partnership Agreement:
    • Who will be responsible for entering child demographics on the child profile page
    • Who will be responsible for scoring
    • Who will be assigned as Team Members
  • Each child is only permitted one GOLD profile. The duplicate profile prevention setting will not allow a duplicate profile to be created. If an error message occurs when creating a child profile, begin by reaching out to the prior district the child attended. If this information is unknown, contact tsgold@nebraskacloud.org.
  • If an infant/toddler-age child is placed in foster care in a district other than the resident school district, the child’s GOLD profile will be established by the foster or service district/program.
    • The resident district should be marked on the child profile as the district of record.
    • If the child has an existing profile, it should be transferred to the foster district and the resident district should remain the district of record.
  • If a preschool-age child is placed in foster care in a district other than the resident school district, the child’s GOLD profile will be established and maintained by the resident district until such time as the court, or other authorized official, decides that it is in the child’s best interest to receive his/her educational services in either the foster district or other specified program.
    • The resident district should be marked on the child profile as the district of record.
    • If the child has an existing profile, it should be transferred to the foster district or other specified program only if a change in educational service location has been determined necessary by the court or other authorized official.

6. Who has access to online child and district data?

  • Once data is entered into an online system, data is secure within the system. It is accessible only by those individuals authorized by the district to receive a user ID and password for the district’s online account.
  • The NDE has administrative access to all Results Matter accounts in Nebraska. Only authorized personnel from the NDE with an assigned user ID and password have access to the Results Matter online systems. This allows for immediate problem-solving and checking on the status of online accounts at any time.
  • OSEP does not have access to the NDE Results Matter online data, and no individual child or district data is submitted to OSEP.

7. Can a user name and password be shared within the district?

No! Every individual accessing a GOLD online account is required to have an individual username and password.

DISTRICTS OR ESUs & EARLY HEAD START PROGRAM PARTNERSHIPS

When districts partner with Early Head Start and/or Head Start (EHS/HS) programs, items 8-12 apply.

8. Which assessment tool will be used to collect data?

  • If the EHS/HS program is using COR instead of GOLD, both the district and the EHS/ HS must enter child scores in each system. District and EHS/HS program staff are responsible for identifying ways to share documentation to inform the assessment of each program and avoid duplicated effort.
  • If the district and the EHS/HS program staff collaborate and collect assessment data together using GOLD, the district or ESU and the EHS/HS programs must determine at the beginning of the year who will finalize checkpoints.
    • The program designated to finalize checkpoints, as outlined in the partnership agreement, will hold the child’s GOLD profile.
    • The other program should be granted team member access by the NDE to also provide documentation to the child’s GOLD account. Contact tsgold@nebraskacloud.org for team member access.
    • Both programs may utilize the Funding Source Administrator function to share finalized child level data among the two programs. This function must be activated by contacting the NDE. Contact tsgold@nebraskacloud.org. Refer to the Support Portal in GOLD for more information on Funding Source Administrator access.

9. Who holds the online child account?

Refer to question 6 above.

10. How will children be identified if they are served by both a Head Start and school district?

  • A drop-down on the child’s profile page in GOLD contains the names of all Head Start agencies using GOLD in Nebraska. The Head Start agency names appear in the same way as the current drop-down with school district names.
  • Only the Head Start “umbrella” name is listed in the drop-down menu, not town names. Each Head Start is able to pull Head Start child data as needed and appropriate – agency-wide, by program, by site, by teacher/classroom.
  • Teachers select the appropriate Head Start name in the Head Start drop-down, just like they do in the school district drop-down. This will help clean up data errors and allow child data to be more easily pulled into appropriate reports for children served by school districts only, Head Start only, or children served both by Head Start and a school district.
  • The drop-down menu allows Head Start agencies to see/have access to child data for all children who are funded or served by Head Start. Children who are served by both Head Start and school districts in a blended program, or in Head Start for a child with an IFSP or IEP, are flagged with both a Head Start agency name and school district name in the drop-down menus.
    • Please note the Custom Questions, School District drop-down box is specific to children on an IFSP/IEP. This box is used to designate which school district is responsible for reporting the child’s data to OSEP.

11. What is the role of each partner in collecting data?

  • Staff from both the district or ESU and the EHS/HS program will decide, and document in their partnership agreement, who will enter the documentation and finalize checkpoints.
    • The program not responsible for documentation and finalized checkpoints should still gain team member access to add documentation when they are serving the child as well. Contact the NDE to gain team member access at tsgold@nebraskacloud.org
  • The district is accountable for meeting all the NDE Results Matter requirements.

12. Who pays the online subscription cost?

  • If the natural environment for a child on an IFSP or the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), the district may choose to reimburse the EHS/HS agency for the subscription cost, or the district may choose to pay the subscription cost directly to the publisher.
  • If children are enrolled in both an EHS/HS and a district early childhood program, the district may choose to reimburse the EHS/HS agency for the subscription cost, or the district may choose to pay the subscription cost directly to the publisher.
  • For all children enrolled in a district early childhood program, the district pays the subscription cost directly to the publisher.

DEMOGRAPHIC DATA ON CHILD'S PROFILE PAGE

13. What is required on the demographic page?

  • Every child is required to have an ADVISER ID number entered into their profile.
    • This 10-digit number is listed as NDE student ID in ADVISER and is required by the NDE for all districts and all children birth to kindergarten entrance age served by the district.
    • DO NOT use the Special Education SRS number.
  • Mark ‘yes’ if the child has an IFSP/IEP. This will prompt you to enter: What date will this child begin to receive Special Education services? The date entered here is the child’s entry date.
    • The provider then has 45 calendar days to enter documentation and finalize checkpoints in the same checkpoint period as the child’s entry date.
  • Funding sources: Mark all that apply to each child. This allows reporting by program funding source.
    • Mark migrant funding ONLY for children in Migrant Projects supported by the NDE.
  • Head Start name: Click on the Head Start agency where the child is enrolled, if applicable.
  • Custom Questions, School District field: This drop down box is required for all children on an IFSP/IEP.
  • Language:
    • For children who do not use spoken language, use the primary language of the family.
    • For children who do use spoken language, use the primary language of the child.

14. What date do you enter for the First Day in Program field?

For all children, this is the first date of attendance or home visit in any district or ESU early childhood program.

15. What is the child’s Part C/Part B entry date for GOLD data collection?

  • For Part C: You must first mark ‘yes’ to IFSP on the child’s demographic page of their profile. The child’s IFSP meeting date is entered as the “date the child will begin to receive services” AND the “first day in program”.
  • For Part B: You must first mark ‘yes’ to IEP on the child’s demographic page of their profile. The child’s IEP meeting date is entered as the “date the child will begin to receive services”. The “first day in program” is either their IEP meeting date OR the date of initiation of Part B services.
  • For children who are already enrolled in a district early education program and are subsequently identified for services in Part C or Part B, the IFSP/IEP date is entered as the Part C/Part B “date the child will begin to receive services”.

16. How are child records identified for Special Education reporting?

  • By marking ‘yes’ to IFSP/IEP in the child’s profile, this triggers their inclusion in the OSEP Preschool Special Education and Early Intervention GOLD reports.
    • These reports are located in the Report tab under OSEP Federally Mandated YearEnd Report or OSEP Status Report.
  • For children who are already enrolled in a district early education program and are subsequently identified for services in Part C or Part B, go into the child’s profile and mark ‘yes’ to IFSP/IEP. This will prompt you to enter the date this child will begin to receive Special Education services. This is where you list the child’s entry date into Part C or Part B.
    • The provider then has 45 calendar days to enter documentation and finalize checkpoints from the date listed here; child’s entry date.

ENTERING DATA

17. At what age does the GOLD assessment begin?

The initial GOLD assessment begins when the child is 6 months old.

18. What if a child is born prematurely, has a significant illness, or lengthy absences?

  • Do not adjust the child’s age for prematurity.
  • If a child is absent for 30 days or more for any reason, archive the child’s data and reactivate when/if the child returns.

19. When should the child’s GOLD Part C or Part B entry data collection be completed?

  • Information from evaluation and assessment materials, such as Routine Based Interviews or DAYC-2, that were gathered prior to the child’s initial IFSP/IEP meeting date can be used but must be entered as documentation after the IFSP/IEP date in order to be considered valid in the GOLD system. Child must be at least 6 months of age.
  • Entry data must be recorded in the checkpoint period of the child’s Part C or Part B entry date. If there are less than 45 days left in that checkpoint period, continue to collect entry data in the next checkpoint period up to (a total of) the 45 days. The data needs to be finalized in the checkpoint period of their entry date. This may require manual changing of the checkpoint period if it has defaulted into the next checkpoint period.
    • For example, if the child enters Part C services on May 15, data would be entered up to 45 days later which extends beyond the Spring checkpoint (May 31). In this example, data could be collected beyond May 31, but all data would be finalized in the spring checkpoint. If there is a need to record data in a checkpoint period other than the current one, the entry checkpoint period must be changed manually.
  • If you have additional questions regarding Part C or Part B entry/exit data, please contact a representative from the early childhood special education office.

Download the entry/exit flow chart for children who have IFSPs and IEPs.

20. Which checkpoints are required for children birth to kindergarten entrance age?

Finalized fall and spring checkpoint periods are required, with the additional requirements listed below. Any entry or exit data received during the winter checkpoint period must be entered and finalized regardless of the type of programming the child is attending.

For children ages 3 to 5:

  • All programs regardless of service location (children with and without IEPs):
    • Two GOLD checkpoints required: fall and spring each year
  • Head Start programs or programs with Head Start partnerships, regardless of location, are required to follow Head Start Program Performance Standards (children with and without IEPs):
    • Three GOLD checkpoints required: fall, winter and spring each year
  • Programs that utilize Title I funding in early childhood programs, regardless of location, are required to follow Head Start Program Performance Standards (children with and without IEPs):
    • Three GOLD checkpoints required: fall, winter, and spring each year
  • Year-round, center-based Head Start programs, regardless of location, are required to follow Head Start Program Performance Standards (children with and without IEPs):
    • Four GOLD checkpoints required: fall, winter, spring, and summer each year
  • Please note: a child needs to be enrolled in a program for 45 calendar days in order to finalize checkpoint data for that checkpoint period.

For infants and toddlers birth to age 3:

  • Enrolled in home AND center-based programs, or center-based programs only (children with and without IFSPs):
    • Two GOLD checkpoints required: fall and spring each year
  • Home-based programs only (children with IFSPs):
    • Two GOLD checkpoints required: at Part C entry and Part C exit
    • Infants and toddlers with services coordination only must be entered at entry and exit checkpoints.
  • Home-based programs only (children without IFSPs):
    • Two GOLD checkpoints required: fall and spring each year
  • Early Head Start programs, programs with Early Head Start partnerships or early childhood programs that utilize Title I funding, regardless of location, are required to follow Head Start Performance Standards for checkpoints (children with and without IFSPs).
  • Year-round, center-based Early Head Start programs, regardless of location, are required to follow Head Start Program Performance Standards (children with and without IFSPs):
    • Four GOLD checkpoints required: fall, winter, spring, and summer each year.
  • Please note: a child needs to be enrolled in a program for 45 calendar days in order to finalize checkpoint data for that checkpoint period.

21. What are the checkpoint periods in GOLD each year?

  • Fall: August 1 – October 31
  • Winter: November 1 – February 15
  • Spring: February 16 – May 31
  • Summer: June 1 – July 31 [12-month programs only]

22. Which GOLD objectives must be assessed for each checkpoint?

  • All children, birth to kindergarten entrance age served by school districts, Objectives 1 through 23 must have documentation entered online and checkpoints finalized. Objectives 1-23 include the following six areas of development and learning: Social-Emotional, Physical, Language, Cognitive, Literacy, and Math.
    • The two English Language Acquisition objectives (Objectives 37 and 38) must also be completed for a child age 3 and older if indicated by the results of the GOLD Home Language Survey.
    • Refer to item #31 for examples of documentation.
  • Objectives 24-36 are required for Head Start, Head Start Collaboration programs and Title I funded early childhood programs. These Objectives are in the areas of Science and Technology, Social Studies, and The Arts.
  • All Physical, Literacy, and Math Objectives are “on-the-spot” observations:
    • These objectives do not require any additional documentation beyond setting preliminary levels and finalizing checkpoints.
    • You can download and print an “on-the-spot” recording tool from your GOLD profile. In the Assess tab, first click On-The-Spot at the top of your screen. Then click on the Support Portal (circle with question mark at the bottom of your screen) and select On-The-Spot Observation Recording tool.

COLOR BANDS

23. How are color bands assigned to children?

For infants, toddlers and two’s:

  • The color band is automatically assigned by date of birth when the child’s birthday is entered on the profile. The color band should automatically change on the child’s birthday.
  • The color band should be checked and the child’s profile updated if the color band did not change automatically.

For children ages 3 to 5:
The teacher assigns a color band according to the chronological age of the child and the number of years away from kindergarten at the beginning of the program/school year:

  • Preschool 3 (green) color band – A child who will be in preschool 2 years before kindergarten
  • Pre-K 4 (blue) color band – A child who will be in preschool 1 year before kindergarten
  • Children with IEPs: Color bands apply to all children with IEPs, regardless of the level of a child’s delay.

24. Are color bands changed during the year?

Preschool:
No! The color band is assigned based on the child’s age at entry or first day of preschool. A child in preschool must be on the same color band all year, regardless of the child’s birthday.

Infant/toddler:

  • If the child does not have an IFSP, and remains in the same program until they enter preschool, their color band remains the same all year.
  • If a child turns three during the year, and has an IFSP, the child’s color band is changed to green, and the child’s profile record should be moved according to the examples provided in item 27.

25. How is a child’s color band changed if a mistake has been made?

When a child has been assigned the wrong color band, three steps are required to change it:

  • Go to the child’s profile page and change Age or Class/Grade.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the profile page and click on “Checkpoint Period Settings” then click on “Update”. Update Age or Class/Grade for each checkpoint period as needed and click Save.
  • Click on the “Save” button and the color band will be corrected for profile and all checkpoints.

26. Can a child be scored in any color band, regardless of their assigned color band?

Yes! Checkpoints may be scored in any of the color bands based on the child’s documented skills and abilities during that checkpoint period.

DOCUMENTATION, RATING & ONGOING DATA COLLECTION

27. What are the steps in the ongoing GOLD cycle?

  • Step 1: Observe, gain information and document children’s learning during daily routines and activities;
  • Step 2: Analyze your documentation and respond by providing the right strategy, material or support to scaffold the child’s learning;
  • Step 3: Evaluate the child’s progress and decide what level each child has reached in terms of the objectives, based on the documentation you have collected; and
  • Step 4: Summarize, plan and communicate to others. Summarize what you know, basing plans for individual children or groups of children on that knowledge, and communicate with families and administrators what children are learning, and what progress they have made.

28. What is required to rate a child’s skills or behaviors at a particular level?

  • In order to rate a child’s skills or behaviors at a particular level, the child must be able to do them consistently and independently across settings over time. If not, the skill or behavior should be rated at an “in-between” level (i.e., 1, 3, 5). The child may also need a certain amount of adult support, which may be verbal, physical or visual, which would result in an “in-between” level.
  • Indicators often include multiple expectations that are separated by a semicolon. All expectations must be met in order for the indicator to be achieved. The child must demonstrate skills related to all components included in the indicator.

29. How are “not yet” and “not observed” used in GOLD?

  • “Not Yet” indicates that a child of that age is not yet expected to demonstrate a particular skill or behavior. Sometimes a skill does not begin to develop until a child is two years old, and another skill may not emerge until age 3 or 4. “Not Yet” applies only to a child who is not yet demonstrating a particular skill or behavior.
  • “Not Observed”: do NOT use this option. If a child has excessive absences, their profile should be archived and re-activated upon their return.
  • “Not Yet” and “Not Observed” should not be used for children simply because they are new to the program.

Download the “Not Yet” cheat sheet.

30. Is supporting documentation required for scoring the assessment?

  • Yes! GOLD is an authentic assessment system based on ongoing observation of children engaged in real activities, as documented or reported by family members and other people they spend time with, across a variety of settings. Supporting documentation is based on multiple sources and methods of documenting children’s learning and development. It captures the child’s context, i.e. the people and materials they know, those environments that are familiar to them, and any necessary strategies.
  • An organized system of documenting observations should be used to achieve the following three essential components:
    • collect facts from ongoing observation and family/caregiver;
    • analyze and evaluate the collected facts to get a picture of the child’s development; and,
    • use what is learned to plan for both individual and group interests and needs.
  • Regularly recording child observations to support numerical scores is a required teacher activity. Observations should be gathered throughout daily routines and activities. This is in contrast to focusing attention only on whether the child has reached a particular learning goal or archived items on a checklist.

31. What are examples of supporting documentation?

  • Examples of supporting documentation based on observation include but are not limited to: anecdotal notes, photographs, video and audio recordings, work samples, portfolios, parent reports, charts, graphs, IFSP and IEP reviews, home visit notes, dictation, data collection forms, child notebooks and folders.
  • The GOLD app for portable electronic devices is a valuable tool for collecting documentation.

32. Is all documentation required to be online?

Online Documentation is required for the Fall and Spring Checkpoints. If a program is required to finalize the Winter Checkpoint, documentation does not have to be online but must be stored in such a way that it is accessible when requested by families, district administration or the NDE staff.

  • Any child with IFSP or IEP entry/exit data collected during the winter checkpoint MUST enter all supporting documentation online.
  • Refer to Question #20 to determine what checkpoints are required for each school district.

33. How much documentation is required?

There is no set number of observations or amount of documentation that must be collected in relation to each objective. For some objectives, seeing a child perform a skill once is sufficient to make an informed decision. Other objectives need more evidence and documentation.

34. What information needs to be included in anecdotal notes?

  • Anecdotal notes should include observed or reported facts, not subjective information.
  • Anecdotes are short written records of observations. Begin the anecdote with information to set the scene. For the middle, jot down brief and specific information about what the child did or said. To complete the anecdote, consider whether the observation has an ending or outcome. Keep in mind that all anecdotal notes become part of the legal record of the child and are subject to subpoena in court cases.

35. Why is ongoing data collection required?

Ongoing data collection is required to provide:

  • continuous child progress monitoring;
  • appropriate program planning for individual children and groups of children;
  • a data-based method for evaluating the effectiveness of instructional approaches;
  • systematic decision-making to allow early and effective responses to children’s learning;
  • current information for parent conferences, transition meetings, IEP/IFSP meetings and others; and,
  • classroom, program and district data for program administrators and other stakeholders to guide decision-making for improving child and program outcomes.

ASSURING RELIABLE & VALID DATA

36. Who is responsible for assuring that staff from each program are trained in the use of GOLD, and that the data is reliable and valid?

District GOLD online administrators.

GOLD online administrators are responsible for:

  • Ensuring all staff are adequately trained and mentored in ongoing data collection and entering and scoring child observations.
  • GOLD Inter-rater Reliability (IRR) for teachers who have used GOLD for at least one year or are due for re-certification. The GOLD administrator must assign IRR to teachers via TS GOLD and teachers must complete IRR certification or recertification by December 31. Staff completing their IRR certification: refer to items #38-42 for detailed information about the IRR certification.
  • All staff new to GOLD must complete the GOLD online Professional Development module Power of GOLD by September 30. The Power of GOLD can be found in the develop tab on your GOLD account. It is a free, self-paced course, that takes about 2 hours to complete.

GOLD online Administrators should:

37. What are the data collection and scoring responsibilities of staff?

  • Classroom Teacher or Co-Teacher (may also be called lead teacher or head teacher) can enter observations and score checkpoints for all children
  • Home-based staff/primary providers for children with IFSPs or IEPs and Sixpence programs – can enter observations, family/caregiver reports and score checkpoints for all children
  • Classroom Assistant Teacher (may also be called para, family educator, teacher aide) can enter observations for children and set preliminary levels; cannot score checkpoints
  • Team Member (itinerant staff) – can enter observations and preliminary levels for children assigned to that team member; cannot finalize checkpoints.
    • To add a team member outside of your program, contact: tsgold@nebraskacloud.org

38. Who is required to complete GOLD Inter-rater Reliability (IRR) Certification?

  • IRR Certification is required to be completed online by each teacher/practitioner responsible for scoring child observations and documentation in GOLD for children birth to age five.
  • GOLD will NOT send notification emails to users when IRR is due for renewal.
    • Once completed, teachers/practitioners must reestablish IRR certification at least every three years. Districts may require more frequent certification.
  • IRR is not required for teachers/practitioners new to GOLD in the current school year. One year of GOLD experience is necessary prior to completing IRR Certification.
  • The NDE requires that Individual Inter-rater Reliability (IRR) be completed by December 31 of each school year. Districts may establish an earlier completion date.
  • GOLD online administrators and program supervisors must plan for and assure that teachers/practitioners who score child documentation in GOLD have ample time to complete the IRR process.
    • Teacher IRR test information is tied to the teacher’s account. GOLD online administrators can run a report under the Reports tab and download the report.
  • There is no cost for the IRR. It is provided as part of each district or Head Start GOLD subscription.

39. Which age groups in the IRR must be completed?

  • Teachers/practitioners are required to complete the IRR that accurately reflects the age group/s of the children. This must include dual language and children with disabilities regardless of whether a teacher is currently serving dual language learners or children with disabilities:
    • Birth-age 2, including children with disabilities.
    • Preschool, including dual language learners and children with disabilities.
  • Teachers/Practitioners working with children birth to kindergarten entrance age are required to complete certification for both age groups: birth-age 2, including children with disabilities AND preschool, including dual-language learners and children with disabilities.

40. How much time do teachers need to complete the IRR?

  • It takes an average of 3 hours to complete one age group. For teachers/providers who work across two age groups (Birth to 2 and 3 to 5), 6 hours should be allowed for completion. The IRR does not need to be completed at one time.
  • There are no time limits when taking the IRR. As much time as needed may be taken.
  • A score of at least 80 percent is required in order to attain certification. If a score in a particular area of development/learning is less than 80% (i.e. social-emotional), then only that area is required to be retaken, not the entire IRR. If an area needs to be re-taken, a new child portfolio for a different child will be scored.

41. Where are detailed IRR instructions located?

MyTeaching Strategies GOLD™ provides detailed IRR instructions and resources online. GOLD online administrators, teachers and providers can download this guidance by clicking on the Support Portal (question mark button in GOLD located at bottom left corner) to link to the resources below:

  • How to Guide for Teachers: Interrater Reliability Certification
  • How to Video: Interrater Reliability Certification
  • How to Guide for Administrators: Goals

42. How do teachers/practitioners begin the IRR process?

Each individual will:

  • Go to MyTeaching Strategies™ Dashboard and click on the Develop tab.
  • Choose “Inter-rater Reliability”.
  • Choose “New Certification” and agree to the terms of the test to be given a list of test options.
  • Choose appropriate assessment options; the assessment will then be available.

EXITING, TRANSFERRING, ARCHIVING & DELETING DATA

43. What are the GOLD exit requirements for children on IFSPs and IEPs?

  • Child must have received services for at least 6 months.
    • Child should still be exited even if they received Part C or Part B services for less than six months. In this case, checkpoint data is not required to exit a child from OSEP since they will not be included on the OSEP Federally Mandated Report at the end of the school year.
  • Children must have complete and finalized checkpoint data at the time of GOLD exit.
  • For a child who exits during the year, exit data is completed in the checkpoint period nearest the child’s date of exit.
  • The exit data must be archived for one year.
  • Select the exit reason that is closest or most appropriate as to why the child is exiting. Please note that any exit reason selection will work.
  • If a child dies during any given checkpoint period and the staff is unable to collect full documentation for the current checkpoint, exit the child as of the previous checkpoint (i.e., If the child dies during the spring checkpoint with unfinished documentation; the district should exit the child using the winter checkpoint documentation and levels.) If there is completed documentation for the current checkpoint, exit the child during the current checkpoint. If the child was in a program less than six months, delete the record.

44. For children who have IEPs, when is the GOLD exit data collected?

  • Preschoolers who are no longer eligible for special education services, enter data and finalize the checkpoint in which the child was dismissed from services.
  • For students who will continue to receive Part B services and are entering kindergarten, data must be collected and entered in the spring checkpoint.
  • Children who are kindergarten-age eligible but remaining in preschool one additional year must still be exited in the spring of the current school year. They will no longer be reported to OSEP under the early childhood/preschool- age for the next school year. The child can remain in GOLD and would still be assessed using the Pre-K 4 (blue) colorband, as they continue to be one year away from kindergarten.

45. When does a program need a transitional/virtual classroom?

The GOLD online system calculates child progress based upon their color band designation. Classrooms must designate themselves as infant/toddler or preschool. Due to this function of the system, there will be a need for a transitional/virtual classroom for children who turn three and who have an IFSP, but will not physically transition to a preschool center-based classroom until the following fall. The transitional/virtual classrooms should be designated as a preschool (green color band) room even though the child may still be receiving Early Intervention services. A child’s GOLD age 3 exit data will serve as the Part B entry data.

The following are examples that explain when a transitional/virtual classroom is or is not used.

Example A: Exit from GOLD at age 3 with continuation of Part C services: Child exits from GOLD at age 3 during the school year but continues to receive the same Part C services based on the IFSP until fall when IEP services will begin. No physical change is made in the environment in which the child is receiving services. The child should be exited from Part C services within GOLD at age 3 and transferred to a transitional/virtual GOLD classroom. Next, mark “yes” on “IEP” within the child’s profile, even though the child is continuing on an IFSP. Child will transfer to the pre-k/three-year-old GOLD classroom in the fall. The child will always move to an IEP in his/her GOLD profile, even though he/she is staying on an IFSP.

Example B: GOLD exit at age 3, exit from Part C services, and transfers to Part B services in a classroom immediately: Child exits at age 3 and from Part C services during the school year and then receives Part B IEP services in a pre-k/three-year-old classroom. The child should be exited from GOLD at age 3 and entered in the pre-k/three-year-old GOLD classroom. Child is not entered into a transitional/virtual classroom.

Example C: GOLD exit at age 3 and from Part C home-based services, and transfers to Part B home-based services: Child is receiving Part C home-based services and exits GOLD at age 3 and from Part C services during the school year. The child then receives Part B homebased services. Child should be exited from GOLD at age 3 and the Part C GOLD home-based classroom, and transferred to the 3-5 GOLD home-based classroom. Child is not entered into a transitional/virtual classroom.

46. For children who have IFSPs, when is the GOLD exit data collected?

  • The GOLD exit data for children on an IFSP who turn 3 must be completed by the child’s third birthday (age 36 months).
  • Once the child is exited from Part C services on their 3rd birthday and continue to receive special education services, the child should be entered into Part B services
  • Refer to entry/exit checklists.
  • Once the child begins Part B services, two GOLD checkpoints are required each year: fall and spring.

The following exceptions apply to children who are identified with a disability at the end of the school year:

  • A child who enters Part C after March 1st and transitions to Part B in August should NOT be entered into GOLD Part C for OSEP reporting. That child would be entered as new to Part B in the fall.
  • For a child who is newly-verified for Part B services after May 1, all data collection must be completed and entered online within 45 calendar days of the beginning of the following school year. Refer to Question #29: How are “not yet” and “not observed” used in GOLD?

47. Why do we exit children from Part C on their 3rd birthday even when they continue with IFSP services?

OSEP (the Federal Office of Special Education Programs) compares data from all states. To ensure data quality, OSEP requires all children who are birth-36 months old to be entered into Part C for federal reporting purposes and children who are 3-5 years in Part B. The state of Nebraska has given guidance that a child may remain in Part C until August 31st after the child’s third birthday. Even though a child can remain in Part C services, he/she must be exited on or before his/her third birthday for reporting purposes.

48. After exiting a child from Part C services, what do I do when they continue to stay on an IFSP?

The child’s GOLD profile will need to be moved into a transitional classroom in which the designated color band is Preschool 3 class/green (two years away from kindergarten). Once the child is in the transitional classroom, they must have “yes” marked on the IEP checkbox within the child’s profile. Even though the child continues to receive IFSP services, marking “yes” represents that the child is now entered into Part B for reporting purposes.

49. After exiting a child from Part C services on or before his or her third birthday, what is the child’s entry date into Part B services within GOLD?

  • When a child is exited from Part C on or before his/her third birthday, it is recommended that the Part B entry date follow the Part C exit date. It is important that the child’s entry into Part B must be within the same checkpoint period. When this is completed correctly, the Part C exit data also serves as the Part B entry data. (Please reference Results Matter TA Document #19.)
  • For example, the child’s Part C exit date is 11/6. The child’s Part B entry date could be 11/7.

50. When should children who are turning age 3 or age 5 during the summer be exited in GOLD?

The exit assessment should be completed in the spring checkpoint for all children turning age 3 or age 5 during the summer.

51. What is the difference between the OSEP Status Report and the OSEP Federally Mandated Report? When do I run each of them?

  • The OSEP Status Report allows a GOLD administrator to periodically view the status of children’s entry and exit data who are on an IFSP or IEP. It can assist in troubleshooting any potential errors that can occur when entering and exiting children for OSEP reporting purposes.
  • The OSEP Federally Mandated Year-End Report includes children who received Part C or Part B services and were entered AND exited properly and have been on their IEP or IFSP for 183 days or more.

52. How is a child’s GOLD portfolio transferred between programs?

To transfer a child’s portfolio, complete the Child Transfer Form.

53. Can teachers keep other information when a child is transferred?

Individual teacher lesson plans are tied to the class and stay if the class stays.

54. Is there a way to export documentation so it is not completely lost?

Documentation stays in the child’s portfolio. To keep a record of the documentation in hard copy, log in as the teacher and print the child’s documentation.

55. When should child data be archived?

Child data is archived:

  • When the child has exited, both entry and exit data must be finalized
  • When the child temporarily leaves the program
  • When the child moves from the district but is still eligible to participate in an early childhood program.

56. How long should archived data be kept?

Data should be archived for one year following the child’s exit from the program. To keep data longer, export to an excel spreadsheet and save. The data will then be available for maintaining a longitudinal database, running trend data across time, looking for patterns in the data, verifying improved child outcomes over time, etc..

57. Why is child data archived rather than deleted?

Archiving child data allows the district, ESU, and the NDE to run multi-year analyses on child progress and outcomes to better assess the effectiveness of the early childhood program over time. Seeing trends over time allows for effective decision making at the district and state levels.

58. When can archived child data be deleted?

  • Archived child data may be deleted for children who exited in 2019-20 or prior years.
  • Deleted records are saved in GOLD for 90 days. If accidentally deleted, child data can be restored within 90 days. After 90 days, the data is permanently deleted.

59. When can teacher profiles be disabled?

Accounts for teachers who leave a district must be ‘Disabled’ so the teacher no longer has access to the district online account. This action maintains all child information.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Learn more about the GOLD professional development options available for teachers, home visitors and administrators below. Find and register for GOLD training on the NECPRS calendar by searching for “GOLD” or check out the GOLD Professional Development flyer.

INTRODUCTION TO GOLD FOR TEACHERS 

During this session, participants will examine the importance of ongoing formative assessment and reflect on their current teaching and assessment practices. Participants will practice using a variety of tools to gather authentic information about children’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. By leveraging the progressions of development and learning, participants will strengthen their ability to make accurate assessment decisions.

 

INTRODUCTION TO GOLD FOR HOME VISITORS

During this session, participants will examine the importance of ongoing formative assessment and reflect on their current teaching and assessment practices. Participants will practice using a variety of tools to gather authentic information about children’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. By leveraging the progressions of development and learning, participants will strengthen their ability to make accurate assessment decisions.

 

INTRODUCTION TO GOLD FOR ADMINISTRATORS

During this session, participants will examine the importance of ongoing formative assessment and reflect on their own and/or staffs current teaching and assessment practices. Participants will practice using a variety of tools to gather information about your early childhood program. By leveraging the progressions of development and learning, participants will strengthen their ability to support early childhood staff to make accurate assessment decisions.

 

GOLD USING THE ASSESSMENT CYCLE TO STRENGTHEN TEACHING & LEARNING

During this advanced GOLD session, participants will carefully examine the four steps in the assessment cycle: observe and collect information, analyze and respond, evaluate, and summarize, plan, and communicate. Participants will learn how observations inform ongoing formative assessment and will identify the characteristics of high-quality objective documentation. Additionally, participants will refine their observation skills and practice identifying the indicators that best describe a child’s unique strengths. Educators will be introduced to the Observe, Reflect, and Respond cycle and will begin to develop responsive instructional plans.

 

GOLD ADMINISTRATOR REPORTING

During this session, participants will review the purposes of GOLD. They will learn how the organization of GOLD relates to the assessment process. Participants will generate, interpret, and explain the major reports in GOLD and how to utilize that information to inform classroom level and program level decisions.

 

OSEP FOR ADMINISTRATORS

Formative assessment is a crucial piece of improving the learning outcomes for all children, including children with disabilities. When administrators know how to support teachers in their formative assessment process, they should begin to see improvements in child data. In this highly reflective session, participants will discuss what formative assessment looks like through the lens of special education. Participants will define what inclusion means and examine how GOLD encourages inclusion in programs through differentiated instruction support. Finally, participants will practice analyzing and interpreting child outcome data to create ongoing monitoring plans and inform communication with teachers.

USING OUTCOME DATA

60. How can I find my data?

You can generate a report under the report tab.

61. How can reports help me?

Teachers and administrators can use the data to drive instruction and improve the learning environment to meet the needs of each student.

62. Which reports should I start with?

Individual Child Report 

  • Determine whether there are areas of concern
  • Determine where the child needs to be challenged
  • Data for an IEP/IFSP meeting

 

Class Profile Report

  • Determine small groups
  • Decide if classroom materials are meeting academic and social needs
  • Determine if whole/small group content is meeting students needs

 

Documentation Status Report 

  • Determine which objectives need more or less focus
  • Which student(s) need more  or less focus

 

Report Card

  • Data to be shared with families during parent teacher conferences, or home visits
  • Shows where children are now, and where they’ll be next

REPORTING OF OUTCOME DATA

NDE Early Childhood OSEP Reporting

The Office of Special Education, along with our partners at UNMC, provide a webinar along with a technical assistance opportunity to refresh your OSEP reporting skills within the Teaching Strategies GOLD platform. The webinar is geared towards the GOLD Administrators who enter and exit children on IFSPs/IEPs for OSEP purposes. Visit www.education.ne.gov/nemtss/early-childhood-special-education-services to learn more.

 

National Data Analysis of Child Outcomes (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center) 

Each year, the ECTA Center analyzes and reports a national summary of child outcomes data for Part C and Part B, Section 619. As part of the State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR), states are required to report on the percent of infants and toddlers with Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) or preschool-age children with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) who demonstrate improved child outcomes.

The purpose of measuring family outcomes is to gain feedback and family perceptions about how the child’s early childhood program is meeting child and family needs.

 

IDEA Part C – Ages Birth to 3

The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires all states to report outcomes of families of infants and toddlers (birth to age 3) with IFSPs. An annual statewide family survey is used to learn if participating in Part C early intervention services for infants and toddlers have helped the family:

  • Know their rights;
  • Effectively communicate their children’s needs; and,
  • Help their children develop and learn.

Based on the data and analysis of responses received, the Part C co-lead agencies – the NDE and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) – collaborate with services coordination contractors, Planning Region Teams and districts to use the data to inform the local early intervention process and improve family satisfaction with early intervention service delivery.

 

IDEA Part B – Ages 3 to 5

Parents of children ages 3-5 with IEPs complete a parent survey for parents of children and youth ages 3-21. This special education survey is designed to determine the extent to which schools are facilitating parent engagement, and to design strategies to improve parent engagement. Special education parent surveys are part of a 5-year sampling cycle conducted by school districts. Special education parent surveys are part of data collection requirements conducted by school districts.

 

Early Head Start and Head Start

Early Head Start and Head Start programs are required by federal law to measure additional Family Outcomes.

Find more information regarding the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework.

In early care and education, an MTSS framework is a way to provide high-quality teaching and responsive caregiving through the delivery of differentiated support for all young children. In an early childhood MTSS framework, the needs of every child, regardless of ability, eligibility status, cultural and linguistic background, or socioeconomic status, are addressed by integrating assessment and intervention within a multilevel framework to maximize outcomes. MTSS may be likened to a tapestry with common threads of prevention science, tiered decision-making, integrated learning supports, implementation science, effective teaming practices, and databased problem-solving. (Multitiered System of Support Framework in Early Childhood: Description and Implications Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Revised Position Statement 2021)

News & Updates

Keep an eye on this space for the latest news and resources!

The Preschool Post Newsletter for Teachers

The Preschool Post is a bi-monthly newsletter tailored to Nebraska’s early childhood educators. Get valuable insights and inspiration by subscribing to this publication, which offers updates on state-level issues, events, and initiatives pertaining to the field of early childhood education.

Updated August 21, 2023 4:33pm