The purpose of this article is to describe guidelines for reporting and reviewing findings from studies and to provide guidance to authors seeking to report results of research on measurement and the development or evaluation of assessment procedures or instruments in early intervention (EI) and early childhood special education (ECSE). Following on a recent series of similar articles in the Journal of Early Intervention and Exceptional Children, this article will (a) provide rationale for the specific focus of assessment and measurement research in EI/ECSE, (b) describe existing standards for this research and practice, and (c) provide guidelines for preparation, review, and publication of research in EI/ECSE.
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Like assessment, measurement research has a long history generally, with a focus on young children with special needs particularly. For the purposes of this article, we distinguish assessment as the set of practices, procedures, and tools that are used in practice to collect information and support decision making; measurement represents the core features and characteristics of assessment and thus is more typically the focus of research to improve and expand assessment resources. At the turn of the 20th century, researchers like Alfred Binét, David Wechsler, and others were interested in assessing intelligence as a first step in providing therapeutic services to children with mental retardation. Fueled by the child study movement and developments in statistical analysis, measures of young children’s development and skills expanded during the first half of that century (). In the latter half, researchers both deepened and intensified work on standardized measurement for young children (), but the field also witnessed a burgeoning interest in behavioral assessment and the measurement components related to this practice (). With recent funding from the Office of Special Education and Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the U.S. Department of Education (e.g., Early Childhood Research Institute on Measuring Growth and Development, 1996-2001; Early Childhood Outcome Center, 2004-2009), the profession’s embrace of “Recommended Practices” (; ) and formal attention from researchers and “mainstream” EI/ECSE publishers such as Brookes Publishing and the Ages and Stages Questionnaire and the Assessment, Evaluation, and Programming System (; ), formal attention to measurement—as well as critical appraisal of measurement research and its contribution to assessment practices—is now possible.
Charles R. Greenwood, Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, University of Kansas; Scott R. McConnell, Department of Educational Psychology and Center for Early Education and Development, University of Minnesota. When R. A. McWilliam was editor of the Journal of Early Intervention, he solicited short papers to describe important issues in the reporting of manuscripts using various research methods. We are in the process of updating those papers. In the original set of papers, McWilliam did not include a paper on the reporting of manuscripts focused on the development and evaluation of measures, instruments, tests, and so forth; however, we receive a number of such manuscripts. Greenwood and McConnell graciously agreed to write such an article, and it appears in this issue. Authors will find their comments useful in preparing manuscripts focused on the development and evaluation of measures, and reviewers will find their comments helpful in judging the suitability of those manuscripts for publication. Subsequent issues will contain other articles on reporting using other research methods. This work was supported in part by Grant R324C080011, the Center for Response to Intervention in Early Childhood, from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education, to the University of Kansas; Charles Greenwood and Judith Carta, Principal Investigators. However, the opinions and recommendations presented in this article are those of the authors alone, and no official endorsement from the IES should be inferred. The authors are indebted to a wide range of colleagues who have taught us the conceptual, methodological, and statistical issues relevant to measurement and assessment over the years and to the children and teachers who have joined in that instructional effort through their participation in our research and the use of its results.