Policy Resource

Ohio Takes on the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge

Feb 9, 2016

In December 2011, Ohio was awarded a four-year Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant and proposed the following targets to improve its early learning and development (ELD) systems.

The state wanted to:

  • Collaborate with Maryland on a comprehensive assessment system that would include development of a new formative assessment for children birth to three. The two states would also develop training modules and professional development for the administration of this and other screening instruments.
  • Review the Infant Toddler Guidelines to strengthen the foundational skills relative to approaches to learning and aligned to the Pre-Kindergarten standards. In 2011, the Pre-Kindergarten Content Standards were undergoing revision to incorporate all domains of school readiness.
  • Implement a pilot eliminating family co-payments for families receiving child care subsidies who choose highly rated ELD programs.

As of 2013, Ohio made the following progress towards its proposed ELD systems:

  • Local Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) boards hired ECMH consultants to work with providers serving children with high needs and to support early childhood professionals use of standards and assessments related to social and emotional development and approaches toward learning.
  • The State Board of Education adopted comprehensive ELDs for children birth to kindergarten entry in October 2012. The new standards replace the Infant and Toddler Guidelines and Pre-Kindergarten Content Standards that the state previously used. The ELDs address all essential domains of school readiness and serve as the foundation for the revised quality rating and improvement system (QRIS), comprehensive assessment system, and professional development system.
  • Ohio began revising the state’s Core Knowledge and Competencies (CKCs) to meet the newly revamped TQRIS model and new ELDs. The state is developing training that will be used when the CKCs are rolled out. Plans are also underway to develop formative instruction modules, which will support implementation of appropriate activities based on ongoing assessment related to each domain of the standards.
  • Ohio enacted legislation requiring the use of a common unique identification number for all children birth to five in publicly funded programs. The unique identification number stays with children through post-secondary school in district settings.

As of 2014, Ohio made the following progress toward its proposed ELD systems:

  • A series of new professional development modules were developed in support of current early learning initiatives occurring in Ohio. By March 2015, trainers will all be able to provide face-to-face professional development in Screening and Assessment, Technology in the Classroom, and English Language Learners
  • Ohio, in partnership with Maryland, designed a new Early Childhood Comprehensive Assessment System that includes a formative assessment for children ages 36-72 months, a kindergarten readiness assessment, a technology system, and professional development modules.
  • Ohio has designed a professional development series to support the use of assessment in programs serving children from birth through kindergarten entry. Training modules were completed that address the purpose of assessments and how assessments support positive learning experiences for children birth through kindergarten entry.
  • Beginning in fall 2015, all programs participating in Step Up To Quality that are rated at three stars or higher will be required to enter child assessment data into the new Ohio Early Childhood Comprehensive Assessment System (EC-CAS), using each child’s SSID. The use of the EC-CAS and the SSID will allow for the examination of child progress and evaluation of kindergarten readiness for children who are enrolled in programs that are highly rated Learn more about Ohio and how other states are using RTT-ELC funds to strengthen their early childhood systems in ZERO TO THREEs papers:

How Are Early Learning Challenge Grant Targeting Infants and Toddlers: http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy/elc-it-article-for-baby-monitor.pdf

The Early Learning Challenge Grant Is Helping States Better Serve Infants and Toddlers: http://www.zerotothree.org/policy/docs/elc-grant-update.pdf

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