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 or service. PEAs will provide exit scores when the child leaves the program or service 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, End of Year Definitions, and Data submission time frames:
- Entry: preschool aged children who have been evaluated and found eligible for special education, have an IEP and enroll in the district preschool program or receive special education services are considered to have entered the program. The level of performance upon entry reflects the child's current functioning prior to receiving preschool special education supports and services. The child's rating on the 7-point scale upon entry is used as a baseline score for the child's overall performance in each outcome area and will be compared to their performance at the end of the year and at the end of the preschool program. An entry score must be submitted without delay, and no later than two weeks after enrollment in the program on all three outcome areas (Social Emotional, Knowledge and Skills, Behaviors to Meet Needs). Integrity will fail until the information is provided.
- Exit: preschool aged children who attended a preschool special education program or received a special education service will recieve a rating on the 7-point scale at the end of the program. This rating is expected to be submitted within 15 days after the child exits the preschool special education program on all three outcome areas. Other exit scenarios include children who exit from special education or the program ends when the child is eligible for Kindergarten, or children who end the program as the result of a 10-day mandatory withdrawal. In each case the district will submit an outcome rating for all three outcome areas. If preschool program exit dates are prepopulated by a student information system, scores shall not be submitted prior to the exit date.
- End of Year: preschool children with disabilities who attended the district preschool special education program or received special education services will submit a rating on the 7-point scale to represent the status of the child at the end of the school year. The child is not exiting from the program or from services, but rather is expected to be continuing on the following year as a preschool-aged student. This rating is expected to be submitted within 15 days after the child exits the preschool special education program on all three outcome areas. If preschool program exit dates are prepopulated by a student information system, scores shall not be submitted prior to the exit date.