The following tags are used to categorize the resources in our searchable database. Brief definitions of each are provided.


Federal reporting, measuring progress, and justification of public expenditures for early intervention and early childhood special education.

APR/SPP/Federal Reporting

Annual Performance Report (APR), in which states annually provide data on required indicators to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). State Performance Plan (SPP) is the required plan for implementation of Part C and Section 619 services and measurement. Both are required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Resources with this tag also include SPP/APR supporting documents developed by The ECO Center and OSEP.


The process of gathering information about a child from several sources (e.g. standard measures, families, teachers), then organizing and interpreting this information.

Child Development

The process of children acquiring and using skills, abilities, and capacities through early childhood. This broad term encompasses motor and physical growth and health, social and emotional capacity, cognitive development, communication, and functional abilities to interact and learn. Resources relate to both typical and atypical child development.

Child Outcomes Summary (COS) Process and Form

The ECO Center-developed process (COS) and tool (COS Form) some states use to synthesize child-level information and translate it into categorical data for the dual purposes of measuring children’s’ progress and federal reporting.

Communicating Results

Presenting, explaining, and interpreting state- or program-level outcomes data to various audiences- parents, practitioners, legislators, funders, administrators, and others.  


Tools designed to align individual items on published child assessment tools with the three child outcome areas in which states are required to report children’s progress to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

Data Analysis

Examining outcomes and other data for patterns and trends and drawing conclusions about these patterns/trends.

Data Collection

The processes that states use to gather data from children, families, and providers.

Data Quality

Improving the reliability, validity, and completeness of outcomes data, including data collected for purposes of child and family outcomes, testing, local and federal reporting, and program improvement.

Data Systems

Development, improvement, and expansion of state or local data systems, including data elements, capacity or integration of multiple systems.

Early Learning Guidelines/Early Learning Standards

State or national recommendations about benchmarks and expectations for children’s achievement and functioning at different ages or grades.

Family Outcomes

Benefits families receive related to the participation in programs for children and families, through which program effectiveness can be assessed. Family benefits may be related to skills such as understanding children’s strengths, abilities, and special needs; knowing their rights and advocating for their child; helping their child develop and learn; having support systems; and gaining access to desired services and activities in their community.

IFSP-IEP Integration

Relates to the practices of integrating Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) with child and family outcomes measurement processes.

Integrating across Early Childhood

System capacity to overlap resources, priorities, and approaches across early childhood special education, childcare, Head Start, and other state or national early childhood programs. 

Local Reporting

Presenting, explaining, and interpreting local outcomes data to various audiences including funders, parents, practitioners, legislators, administrators, and others invested in the outcomes of early intervention and early childhood special education services.

Quality Assurance

Ensuring the quality of data through data verification, documentation, monitoring, record reviews, and/or assessing provider implementation of quality data practices.

Quality Practices

Early childhood interventions and practices recommended by professionals and shown to be effective in positively affecting child or family skills and functioning (outcomes).

Self-Assessment Framework*

Frameworks developed by The ECO Center for states to use to assess their capacity and effective implementation of their child or family outcomes measurement systems. 

State Approaches to Measuring Outcomes

Examples of individualized interpretations of and adaptations to the federal requirements made by states to implement their outcomes measurement system or components.

Target Setting

Process and guidance on setting targets for performance on many of the required SPP/APR indicators, including the child and family outcomes indicators (C3, C4, B7).

Training/Professional Development

Approaches, guidance, and sample materials and activities for training professionals who work in early intervention and preschool special education. Includes pre-service, in-service, face-to-face, online, and other modalities.

Using Data for Program Improvement

Interpreting data patterns and trends to make informed decisions about program areas that need improvement.

* The difference between Assessment and Self-Assessment Framework is that Assessment refers to the testing and results of children in early intervention, whereas Self-Assessment Framework is specific to the ECO Framework for determining where a program stands on the 7-point scale and could use improvement.