Communicating with Families about Assessment Data

Sharing assessment data gives families and teachers the opportunity to identify and address a child′s specific needs. Together, you can brainstorm activity ideas and materials that could be used to promote development.

This interaction should be viewed as a conversation, an opportunity to share information, discuss goals and expectations, and bridge cultural gaps. The goal is for families and teachers to walk away with a better understanding of the child′s specific needs and a plan for how those needs can be met.

Teachers should consider communicating data with families through:

  • Emails and/or phone calls.
  • Daily or weekly reports.
  • Quick drop-off or pick-up conversations.
  • Family-teacher conferences planned 2-3 times a year and scheduled as needed.

Zero to Three recommends these guidelines for family-friendly communication:

  • Build trusting relationships with families can build on family strengths.
  • Choose authentic assessment measures to describe the child′s capabilities and needs.
  • Use the program′s core curriculum to link assessment and goal planning.
  • Orchestrate the team assessment with families as integral partners.
  • Identify strategies to communicate regularly, collaborate, and reach a consensus.
  • Identify developmentally appropriate curriculum goals that promote family priorities.
  • Be honest and maintain confidentiality.
  • Collect progress data throughout the year.
  • Maintain ongoing communication and family involvement.

For conversations about assessment results to be productive, it is important for teachers to:

  1. Be prepared with copies of the results for everyone.
  2. Outline the context of the assessment.
  3. Review the results, and outline the context of the results in terms of child development.
  4. Make sure to use terminology that is easily understood.
  5. Discuss patterns of skills and behaviors observed at school and home.
  6. Share ideas to strengthen skills in all environments.
  7. Acknowledge ideas generated by the family. Include these ideas when appropriate. If the ideas do not represent best practices, see if a compromise or modifications can be made.

Sign up for PROF110: Family-Teacher Conferences to learn more about communicating assessment results with families.