What is the Difference Between Screening, Assessment, and Evaluation Screening The screening process is the preliminary step to determine if sensory, behavioral, and development skills are progressing as expected. The screening itself does not determine a diagnosis or need for early intervention. Assessment Assessment is an on-going process to determine a child’s and family’s strengths and needs. The assessment process should be continued throughout a child’s eligibility and be used to determine strategies to
support the development of the child in the classroom and at home. This can be both a formal or informal process. Evaluation A formal evaluation is performed by a qualified professional to identify or diagnose a developmental, sensory, or behavioral condition or disability requiring intervention. Only children who were identified through screening and ongoing assessment as possibly having a condition or disability might require intervention. The Early Intervention Part C agency or Local Education Agency in your community must be notified for a formal evaluation to determine his or her eligibility for early intervention, special education or other related services.
A couple of important things to remember about screening:
Children develop rapidly during the first three years of life, so keeping a watchful eye on health and development for infants and toddlers is critical.
Most early childhood programs serve diverse families. Therefore, the best screening tools gather information in ways that respond to culture and language.26
Developmental screening using research-based standardized developmental screening instruments that are valid and reliable for the population and purpose for which they will be used; age, developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate, and appropriate for children with disabilities, as needed; and conducted by qualified and trained personnel. Currently, standardized screening instruments for children birth to age 5 are widely available in English and Spanish, but are virtually unavailable for children whose families speak other languages.