Early Childhood Outcomes (Indicator 7)
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Special Education

Early Childhood Outcomes - Indicator 7

The federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) requires local school districts to report outcomes data for every child in preschool who receives special education services. Early childhood outcomes data are collected when a child begins to receive special education services (usually around age 3) and again when the child exits from preschool special education. Additional information about early childhood outcomes reporting can be found on this parent information publication.

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA Center) website
This is the national technical assistance center funded by the Office of Special Education Programs. The website offers a comprehensive set of resources for state and local administrators, teachers, and families related to implementation of a high-quality outcomes system for early childhood special education programs.

Child Outcomes Summary (COS) Online Learning Modules (provided through the ECTA Center)
This online learning module is designed to prepare early intervention and early childhood special education staff to use the Child Outcomes Summary (COS) process to describe how children are doing on three child outcomes:

Early Child Outcome Resources (direct link to ECTA Center)
The following paper provides instructions on how to use the Child Outcomes Summary Form including: basic directions for filling out the form, definitions of the outcomes ratings, and scoring methods and considerations.

  • Instructions on the use of the COSF (May 26, 2009) Word | PDF

The following document provides definitions for each of the 7 ratings on one page. COS teams may wish to use the one-pager as a reference during rating discussions. The definitions were updated in May 2009, with input from the COS Training Consortium. The definitions are also available in the Instructions on the Use of the COS, as described above.

  • Outcomes Ratings Definitions (May 21, 2009) Word | PDF
  • Child Outcomes Summary Form (COSF) (OSPI, Excel)
    Form used for annual submission of district-wide entry and exit data to OSPI
  • Frequently Asked Questions (OSPI, revised August 2015, PDF)
    This document provides information on early childhood outcomes reporting based on questions from Washington school districts.
  • Child Outcomes Rating Tool – How to calculate progress and get rid of those ‘impossible’ messages

The Decision Tree

The decision tree was created as a tool for training in the use of the COS Form. The tree is a series of questions about the extent to which a child exhibits age-appropriate skills and behaviors in each outcome area. Responses guide the user to a specific rating category on the 7-point scale. The decision tree was updated in May 2009 based on input from the COS Training Consortium.

In January 2011, the decision tree without numbers was developed for programs wishing to de-emphasize the numbers on the scale, to be used in particular when families are directly involved in the team discussion that describes their child’s level of functioning. This version replicates the original decision tree with the exception that the numbers of the rating scale, 1-7, were removed.

  • Decision Tree (June 1, 2009) Word | PDF
  • Decision Tree without Numbers Word | PDF

Contact Information

(360) 725-6075
(360) 586-0247 Fax

A Guide to Assessment in Early Learning: Infancy to Age Eight
A Guide to Assessment in Early Learning:
Infancy to Age Eight
(PDF, 204 pages)

Early Learning and Development Guidelines
Early Learning and Development Guidelines
(PDF, 152 pages)


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