Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: Validating the Child Outcomes Summary Form (COSF) for Use in Accountability Systems for Programs Serving Young Children with Disabilities
Center: NCSER Year: 2009
Principal Investigator: Hebbeler, Kathleen Awardee: SRI International
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/2009 to 6/30/2013 Award Amount: $1,698,256
Goal: Measurement Award Number: R324A090171
Description:

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to evaluate the reliability and validity of the Child Outcomes Summary Form (COSF), a summary tool used by many states in reporting annual child progress for IDEA Part B and C Preschool Programs. The COSF is used by local education teams to synthesize multiple sources of information on how a child receiving special education preschool services functions across settings and situations. As part of COSF, each child is assigned a rating which indicates the child's overall functioning in three educational outcome areas: social-emotional skills, acquisition and use of knowledge and skills, and use of appropriate behavior to meet their needs. The COSF ratings at the program entry and exit point provide an indication on whether the child is making progress in these educational outcome areas.

Project Activities: The research team will conduct a series of research studies to examine the reliability and validity of the Child Outcomes Summary Form. Based on the findings from these studies, the research team will then revise the COSF and supporting documents for implementing the revised COSF.

Products: The researchers will provide data on the reliability and validity of the COSF. The researchers will also provide a revised version of the COSF and supporting documents. Other expected products include reports on the validation and the revision of the COSF.

Setting: Eighteen states currently using the COSF system to meet the IDEA Part B and C Preschool Programs accountability requirements, and selected local early intervention and early childhood special education programs within these states will participate in the study.

Population: The population varies across the five studies in this project, but includes children between birth and 5 years of age and local education provider team members consisting of teachers, parents, early interventionists, and therapists who assess young children with disabilities in early intervention or early childhood special education programs.

Assessment: The COSF is used by local education teams (e.g., teachers, parents, early interventionists, therapists) to synthesize multiple sources of information on how a child receiving special education preschool services functions across settings and situations. As part of COSF, each child is assigned a 7-point rating which indicates the child's overall functioning in three educational outcome areas: social-emotional skills, acquisition and use of knowledge and skills, and use of appropriate behavior to meet their needs. Ratings of 6 or 7 indicate that the child is showing varied levels of age-appropriate functioning related to the outcome across settings and situations; ratings of 1 to 5 indicate varying degrees of delay in functioning. The COSF ratings at the program entry and exit point provide an indication on whether the child is making progress in these educational outcome areas. Because the scale was developed to be used by programs serving young children with disabilities, it was intentionally designed to be sensitive to change among children who are functioning below age expectations and to have minimal sensitivity among children whose functioning is considered age appropriate.

Research Design and Methods: The reliability and validity of the COSF will be established through five studies that together examine the reliability of the COSF rating process, the COSF's construct and concurrent validity, and other validity claims. The reliability of the COSF rating process will be studied by examining the consistency of local program team ratings, and by examining how well children's COSF ratings match their assessment and evaluation data. The construct validity of the COSF will be established by examining the relationship among three outcome areas as well as changes in children's COSF ratings in each outcome area between program entry and exit. The concurrent validity of the COSF will be established through examining the relationship between children's COSF ratings and their scores on existing standardized measures of child development and behaviors. Survey data will be collected to examine the team members' perceptions on COSF usage and perceived impact on practice.

Control Condition: Due to the nature of this study, there will be no control condition in this study.

Key Measures: Researcher-developed measures include video coding forms that will be used to record and evaluate the team's decision making process, record review forms that will be used to synthesize children's assessment and evaluation data, and local provider surveys that will be used to collect data on the team member's perceptions regarding COSF usage. Existing standardized child outcome measures include Second Edition of the Battelle Developmental Inventory (BDI-2) and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (Vineland-II); both will be used to assess the concurrent validity of the COSF.

Data Analytic Strategy: Multiple statistical and measurement techniques as well as qualitative analysis will be used to evaluate the reliability and validity of the COSF. Correlational analysis will be used to examine the relationship between children's COSF ratings and their BDI-2 and Vineland-II scores and to examine the relationship between children's COSF ratings and their educational outcomes. Qualitative analysis will be used to analyze of the team's decisions-making process and to evaluate the consistency between children's COSF ratings and their assessment and evaluation data.


Back