Child Report Guidance for Special Education

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The Child Report provides information about a child’s knowledge, skills, and behaviors across a range of developmental domains that are aligned with California’s early learning and development foundations1 Special educators may use the results to guide individual instruction and modify curriculum; they may also share them with families and other providers in order to better understand and plan support for each child’s learning and development. The Child Report provides information about a child’s areas of strength and areas for further support.

What information is displayed on the Child Report?

  • The assessment period is indicated at the top of the page.
  • A color-coded legend of the developmental levels of the DRDP (2015) is at the top of the page.
  • The infant and toddler report displays each of the five domains assessed in the DRDP (2015) Infant/Toddler View.
  • The preschool report displays each of the six domains assessed in the DRDP (2015) Preschool Fundamental View. It breaks out the Language and Literacy Development domain into Language and Literacy subdomains and displays ratings for each separately. The Cognition domain only displays the Math subdomain. The Physical Development – Health domain breaks down into the Physical Development and Health subdomains.

What are the features of the Child Report?

A domain scale portrays the developmental progression of knowledge, skills, or behaviors encompassed by the measures included in each DRDP (2015) domain. A group of measures forms each domain. When looking at a measure on the DRDP (2015) instrument, each level on the measure appears in a sequential order from less difficult to more difficult. As children grow and develop, knowledge, skills, or behaviors associated with one level may take more time to master than those associated with another level. These differences in development and learning are expected and they are represented by differing widths of the developmental levels in the domain scale. The width of each level is the same for all children. The location of the marker on each domain scale is unique to each child.

The child’s ratings for each measure in the domain are statistically transformed to create the overall domain rating. The vertical line on each domain scale indicates the child’s rating along the domain scale.

The standard error line is the horizontal line through the domain rating. The standard error line is an estimate of the range of possible scores within which the child’s domain rating lies.

The DRDP (2015) domain icon represents the developmental domain from the DRDP (2015) and generally represents the associated domain in the California Department of Education’s early learning and development foundations.

The DRDP domain/subdomain name represents the abbreviation and full name of the DRDP (2015) domains and subdomains.


1. Wherever the term domain is presented, it also refers to the subdomain.


Understanding the Domain Scale

All of the levels for each measure follow a progression from early infancy to kindergarten entry, like on the DRDP (2015) instrument. As shown below, for purposes of display, the developmental levels are represented as equal intervals.

Mastering each successive developmental level requires varying degrees of knowledge, skills, or behaviors.  Sometimes it takes longer or is more difficult for a child to move to the next level. This is displayed visually below where some levels are wide and others are narrow. A child may spend more or less time in one developmental level as he or she is mastering the knowledge and skills to move to the next level.

If a child does not demonstrate progress within a domain for what appears to be an extended period of time, growth within that domain may still have occurred but not enough to move to the next level on the domain scale. A teacher’s observation notes, participation in classroom learning activities, and ongoing curricular data (and other documents) can provide additional information about the knowledge, skills, or behaviors that the child has gained that will help the child continue to make progress and advance to the next developmental level. 

The variation between developmental levels within and across each domain scale means that a child who demonstrates mastery at the Exploring Later level in one domain, for example, will not necessarily demonstrate mastery at Exploring Later in every other domain. The knowledge and skills required for moving from one developmental level to another differ across domains. Even when a child’s ratings are both at the Exploring Later level across two domains, the vertical domain rating line may not be in the same place on each of the domain scales.

How can the information in the Child Report be used?

The Child Report assists in understanding a child’s development and learning and assists with curriculum planning. These reports will:

  • Provide an at-a-glance view of a child’s learning and development related to a child’s overall progress toward California’s early learning and development foundations.
  • Give teachers more information about how much difficulty is associated with each level.
  • Inform what to teach and how to support an individual child.

Child Report (One Point in Time)

Highlights broad areas of strength and areas that may require further support for an individual child.

To identify areas of strength:

  1. Identify domain ratings that are the furthest to the right on the domain scales.
  2. For those ratings, identify the developmental levels where the domain ratings fall.
  3. Consider that the domain ratings that fall the furthest to the right and in the later developmental levels are areas of strength.

To identify areas that may require further support:

  1. Identify domain ratings that are the furthest to the left on the domain scales.
  2. For those ratings, identify the developmental levels where the domain ratings fall.
  3. Consider that the domain ratings that fall the furthest to the left and in the earliest developmental levels may be areas for further support.
  4. Consider the width of the standard error lines and review the individual measure ratings for domains where the line is wide to determine if additional supports are needed for those measures.

Child Progress Report (Multiple Points in Time)

Provides an in-depth understanding of the child’s progress across assessment periods.

  • The progress report displays the domain ratings for a child for each assessment period selected for inclusion in the report. The assessment periods are displayed with the most recent assessment results on the top bar.
  • To interpret the progress report:
    • Review the report for progress within each domain. If the domain ratings are moving from left to right, this indicates progress.
    • Look at both the change in the location of the domain ratings between assessment periods AND the change across the developmental levels within each domain.
    • Consider factors that may account for this child’s progress or lack of progress within a domain. Examples of factors might include targeted instruction or a break in services.
    • After you review the domain ratings, review the individual measure ratings within the domains to plan next steps.

How should the information in the Child Reports not be used?

  • The reports should not be used to determine eligibility for preschool, transitional kindergarten, or kindergarten.
  • The information is not intended to be the only source of information that teachers or service providers use in understanding the child’s development.
  • It should not be used to determine a developmental age for a child.

For more information or if you have questions, contact Desired Results Access Project at (800) 673-9220 ext. 4 or reports@draccess.org

Elements of a Child Report

DRDP Domain/Subdomain Name – The abbreviation and full name of the developmental domain.

Standard Error Line – The thin (horizontal) line represents the range on which one is confident that a child’s level of development lies.

Domain Scale – Represents all of the developmental levels for each measure. The names of the levels appear in the color boxes. The levels run from early infancy on the left to kindergarten entry on the right.

DRDP (2015) Domain Icon – Generally represents the domains of the California Department of Education’s early learning and development foundations. The foundations describe what every child from birth to five years of age should learn in publicly-funded programs.

Child’s Domain Rating – The thick line (vertical) indicates the child’s rating along the domain scale.

Sample Child Report

Angeline is a four year old who attends a Head Start program and who also has an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Angeline receives physical therapy services in her classroom to address her motor needs related to cerebral palsy. Angeline’s Head Start teacher, special education teacher, and physical therapist met to discuss how to use the information portrayed in this report.

Looking across all domains, Angeline’s domain rating for Math is farthest to the right and is located in Building Middle. Her teachers identified this domain as a relative strength.

Angeline’s domain rating for Physical Development is farthest to the left and is in Exploring Earlier. Her teachers identified this as an area that may require additional support.

Angeline’s teachers identified Math as an area of strength and Physical Development as an area to look at in more depth for her. Her special education teacher will review Angeline’s measure ratings and observation notes for the PD-HLTH measures with the physical therapist and Head Start teacher to determine if changes are needed to Angeline’s supports.

Sample Child Progress Report

The following illustrates a Child Progress Report for Angeline for one school year (two points in time).

Angeline progressed from Exploring Earlier to Building Earlier in the ATL-REG domain between Fall 2016 and Spring 2017.

Angeline remained in the Exploring Later level for the SED domain, but the domain rating increased between fall and spring.

Angeline progressed from Exploring Later into Building Earlier in Language Development. 

Angeline remained in the Building Earlier level for Literacy Development, but the domain rating increased.

Angeline remained in the Building Middle level for the MATH domain, but the domain rating increased.

Angeline progressed from Exploring Earlier to Exploring Later in Physical Development.

Angeline progressed from Exploring Earlier to Exploring Later.

Angeline progressed from Building English to Integrating English.

Angeline made progress in all domains. Her teachers identified Physical Development as an area of success, as she made the most progress in this domain. (The teaching team provided additional support in this area since the prior assessment.) Angeline demonstrates continued progress in Math and Literacy, and both remain strengths. Angeline progressed more slowly in Social Emotional Development than in the other domains, so her teachers will look at the SED measure ratings and their observation notes to identify where they might focus their instruction.