What is the difference between a screening tool and an assessment tool?

There are three types of assessments available in the early childhood field—screening assessments, diagnostic assessments, and curriculum-based assessments. Each has a different purpose. A screening assessment is a brief assessment procedure designed to identify children who should receive more intensive evaluation. Screening tools answer the question “Does this child need further evaluation at this time?” A diagnostic assessment is an in-depth assessment of one or more developmental areas to determine the nature and extent of a physical or developmental problem and determine if the child is eligible for services (e.g., early intervention). A curriculum-based assessment (or programmatic, ongoing assessment) is an in-depth assessment that helps to determine a child’s current level of functioning. This type of assessment can provide a useful child profile, help with program planning, identify targeted goals and objectives, and be used to evaluate child progress over time. View this infographic for more information on the differences between screening and assessment tools.

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