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IES Grant

Title: Validation of Cognitive Problem-Solving and Movement Infant-Toddler IGDIs for Screening and General Outcome Progress Monitoring
Center: NCSER Year: 2015
Principal Investigator: Walker, Dale Awardee: University of Kansas
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/2015-6/30/2019 Award Amount: $1,599,995
Type: Measurement Award Number: R324A150166

Co-Principal Investigators: Charles Greenwood and Jay Buzhardt

Purpose: This study will examine the reliability and validity of two Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs) — the Early Cognitive Problem Solving Indicator (EPSI) and the Early Movement Indicator (EMI) — designed for screening and progress monitoring in intervention decision making with infants and toddlers with and without disabilities. High-quality services for young children with or at risk for disabilities increasingly rely on the use of data for decision making. The IGDIs were designed to meet this need. They are fully developed brief assessments with evidence of feasibility for practitioners to administer. This project will conduct parallel studies to determine whether the EPSI and EMI are reliable and valid, sensitive to growth over time, and have predictive utility for screening decisions.

Project Activities: Using both extant and prospective data from similarly aged samples of children, this study will investigate the psychometric properties of the EPSI and EMI. For each of the two measures, children will be assessed quarterly from age 6 to 36 months, with follow-up data collected at 48 months. In addition to examining reliability and validity, the data will be analyzed to determine a variety of other characteristics of the assessments, including normative benchmarks for each age, sensitivity to growth and change over time, and the predictive value of the measures for use in screening decisions.

Products:  The products of this project will include the information on psychometric properties of the EPSI and EMI and the predictive utility of using data from these measures for intervention decision making for infants and toddlers with and without disabilities. There will also be peer-reviewed publications and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) early intervention programs (centers and homes) for children with identified disabilities and Early Head Start programs serving children with and at risk for disabilities in Kansas and Missouri.

Sample: The first sample, for which data collection began in 2008, is anticipated to include up to 600 infants and toddlers with or at risk for disabilities. The prospective sample will include approximately 400 infants and toddlers with or at risk for disabilities, as well as the staff of their early education and home visitor programs. The children will begin participation at ages 6 to 36 months with the final measurements at age 48 months.

Assessment: The EPSI and EMI are two of four previously developed infant/toddler Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs). The IGDIs were designed for making data-based decisions in early intervention, including universal screenings for risk or need for services, intervention decisions, and progress monitoring over time. These are direct observation assessments of the child in an authentic play context, with a web-based system available to help early educators make data-based intervention decisions. The EPSI focuses on measuring early problem solving and cognition and the EMI focuses on early movement and motor development.

Research Design and Methods: The children in the prospective sample will be tested quarterly from age 6 to 36 months and at 48 months, similar to the ages at which children were assessed for the extant data. Assessments will be the same in both samples, though there will be additional criterion measures of cognition and motor ability for children in the prospective sample to examine psychometric properties. The researchers will examine (1) assessment benchmarks for determining whether children's skills are developing within a normative range of expectation for their chronological age, (2) whether the assessments are sensitive to growth and change over time, (3) whether the measures are sensitive to moderators, (4) whether key measured skills support a continuum of growth and change over time, (5) whether patterns of growth for each key skill are equivalent across samples, (6) concurrent and predictive validity, and (7) predictive utility of each assessment as it relates to screening decisions. The researchers will also compare the two samples, assessed at different points in time, for measurement invariance or equivalence, as well as differences in growth trajectories of the total sample and subgroups.

Control Condition:  Due to the nature of the research design, there is no control condition.

Key Measures: The measures used in this project are the EPSI and EMI, the standardized criterion measures for determining validity, and socio-demographic measures for children, family, and teachers/interventionists. The criterion outcome measures include the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-III, Peabody Scales of Motor Development, Brigance Early Childhood Screens, and Ages and Stages Questionaire-3.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will use the following data analytic methods : Multivariate growth curve modeling will be used for the first three research questions (normative benchmarks, sensitivity to growth and change, and sensitivity to moderators); exploratory visual analysis of the predicted multilevel growth curves for the fourth research question (skills supporting continuum of growth and change over time); a cross-level interaction of group with growth parameters for the fifth question (growth equivalency across samples); Pearson correlations for the sixth research question (concurrent and predictive validity); and Receiver Operating Characteristic curve analysis for the seventh research question (predictive utility related to screening decisions).


Book chapter

Carta, J. J., Greenwood, C. R., Goldstein, H., McConnell, . . . Atwater, J. (2016). Advances in multitiered systems of support for prekindergarten children: Lessons learned. In S. R. Jimerson, M. K. Burns, & A. M. VanDerHeyden (Eds.), Handbook of Response to Intervention (pp. 587–606): Springer US.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Greenwood, C., Carta, J., Walker, D., Watson-Thompson, J., Gilkerson, J., Larson, A., and Schnitz, A. (2017). Conceptualizing a Public Health Prevention Intervention for Bridging the 30 Million Word Gap. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 20(1): 3–24. Retrieved from–017–0223–8.