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Assessment Information to Guide Planning and Teaching
By Carolyn Tomlin

Teachers of babies, toddlers and young children must know what is developmentally appropriate for each age level they teach. That’s not to say that all children should walk by 12 months, or be potty trained by age two. However, think of an assessment as a guideline or benchmark that can help you plan a curriculum on what an average child of that age may accomplish. With this knowledge, teachers will be able to keep a record to share with parents. A checklist from an assessment chart, created by a reliable source, may offer suggestions when, or if, additional testing is needed by a professional counselor.

 

Dr. Judy Wood, author Teaching Students in Inclusive Settings: Adapting and Accommodating Instruction,  identifies formal assessment as an assessment used to obtain information that will be useful in determining if a child is a child with a disability. Test data on the student’s intellectual, perceptual, language, and academic functioning are gathered for educational planning. Wood uses the term informal assessment, as an assessment made by personnel other than a psychologist and consists of teacher-made tests, observations, curriculum-based test, student work samples, student interviews, or self-reports.

 

The following skills of gross motor, fine motor, cognitive and social skills are included in the assessment questionnaire below. Additional skills include: Receptive language, expressive language, and self-care skills.

 

Questionnaire Assessment of Typical Developmental Milestones

 

Ages 6 – 9 Months

As you assess the child, answer the following:

 

Gross

Motor Skills

 

 

 

  • Extend arms protectively? 
  • Sit independently? 
  • Stands holding on to object? 
  • Crawls backward? 
  • Moves into sitting position without help?

 

Fine Motor

Skills

  • Transfers objects between hands? 
  • Uses wrist movement in handling objects? 
  • Extends elbow to reach and grasp objects?

Cognitive

Skills

  • Looks for out-of-reach objects? 
  • To restart an activity, touches adult’s hand or toy? 
  • Follows fast-moving objects?

Social 

Skills

  • Displays stranger anxiety? 
  • Displays anxiety with primary caregiver leaves? 
  • Shows interest in mirror image?

 

Ages 9-12 months

 

Gross 

Motor Skills

  • Able to creep on hands and knees? 
  • Easily moves from sitting to prone position? 
  • Stands momentarily? 
  • Moves or walks holding on to objects?

Fine

Motor Skills

  • Picks objects from container? 
  • Ability to use both hands easily? 
  • Uses index finger to point?

Cognitive

Skills

  • Uses second object to retrieve first object? 
  • Uses gestures modeled by others? 
  • Shows an interest in books?

Social

Skills

  • Displays mischievous behavior at feeding and bedtime? 
  • Displays like and dislike for objects, people and situations? 
  • Shows object to others; does not release object?

 

 

Ages 12 – 18 Months

 

Gross

Motor Skills

  • Walk without support from another? 
  • Shows interest in creeping up stairs? 
  • May pull or carry toy while walking? 
  • Enjoys moving to music?

Fine

Motor Skills

  • Constructs two or three block tower? 
  • Able to scribble spontaneously? 
  • Uses index finger and thumb to insert pegs in pegboard?

Cognitive

Skills

  • Comprehends adults pointing? 
  • When given objects, returns object back to adult? 
  • Matches objects? 
  • Recognizes and identifies self in mirror?

Social

Skills

  • Show independent behavior? 
  • May exhibit tantrum behavior? 
  • Sense of humor developing? 
  • Difficult staying still for a short period of time?

 

 

Ages 18 – 24 Months

 

Gross 

Motor Skills

  • Uses toys to ride on? 
  • Uses both feet on upstairs steps; rail for holding? 
  • Runs without falling?

Fine

Motor Skills

  • Able to produce circular scribble? 
  • Experiments with horizontal strokes? 
  • Holds large crayons with fist?

Cognitive 

Skills

  • Looks for and locates objects not observed being hidden? 
  • Matches objects to pictures? 
  • Sorts small number of objects? 
  • Recognizes self in pictures?

Social

Skills

  • Shows affection to others? 
  • Shows a variety of emotions, including jealousy, fear, anger, sympathy, embarrassment, anxiety and joy? 
  • Participates in parallel play? 
  • Occasionally participates in solitary play?

 

Ages 24 – 36 Months

 

Gross 

Motor Skills

  • Runs forward easily? 
  • Uses two feet to jump in place? 
  • Walks on tiptoe? 
  • Confident in kicking ball forward?

Fine

Motor Skills

  • Turns pages in book singly? 
  • Able to hold crayon with thumb and fingers? 
  • Draws, using dots, lines, circular strokes? 
  • Show preference for either right or left hand?

Cognitive

Skills

  • Show limited attention span? 
  • Understand function of familiar objects? 
  • Places objects in order? 
  • Names and identifies pictured objects in books?

Social

Skills

  • Observes other children in play; may participate briefly? 
  • Begins to imitate adult roles in play; such as parent? 
  • Joins in simple group play, such as singing, clapping, dancing. 
  • Identifies gender?

 

 

Ages 36 – 48 Months

 

Gross

Motor Skills

  • Able to run around obstacles? 
  • Walks on a line? 
  • Hops on one foot? 
  • Throws ball over head? 
  • Catches ball bounced to him or her? 
  • Rides pedal wheeled toys?

Fine

Motor Skills

  • Constructs tower of nine blocks? 
  • Uses hand-eye coordination to drive nails and pegs? 
  • Copies circle in drawing? 
  • Uses clay materials for making rolls, balls and objects?

Cognitive

Skills

  • Identifies and recognizes six basic colors? 
  • Draws picture recognizable to child; talks about picture? 
  • Ask why and how questions? 
  • Repeats last name? 
  • States age? 
  • Shows awareness of past and present time?

Social

Skills

  • Interacts with other children through play? 
  • Takes turns with other children, shares toys and materials? 
  • Develops interest in acting out dramatic play? 
  • Shows sympathy for other children in stressful situations?

 

 

Ages 48 – 60 Months

 

Gross

Motor Skills

  • Able to walk backward using toe-heel? 
  • Able to jump forward 10 times without falling? 
  • Alternates feet when using stairs? 
  • Develops ability to perform somersault?

Fine

Motor  Skills

  • Uses scissors to cut on line continuously? 
  • Copies cross when given pattern? 
  • Able to reproduce square? 
  • Able to print a few capital letters?

Cognitive

Skills

  • Illustrates a person with 2 – 6 recognizable parts? 
  • States address (street and town)? 
  • Increased attention span? 
  • Observes and listens to adults; may be easily distracted? 
  • Developing sense of time; such as yesterday, last week, today, tomorrow

Social 

Skills

  • Participates in play with other children? 
  • Imitates play in dress-up? 
  • Interest in sex differences in boys and girls?

 

 

Ages 60 – 72 Months

 

Gross

Motor Skills

  • Uses toes to run lightly? 
  • Walks on balance beam with easy? 
  • Hops, covering 2 meters (6’ 6”)? 
  • Skips, using alternate feet? 
  • Jumps rope? 
  • Balances and uses skates?

Fine

Motor Skills

  • Uses scissors to cut simple, geometric shapes? 
  • Copies pattern of triangle? 
  • Traces pattern of diamond shape? 
  • Copies first name? 
  • Prints numerals 1 to 5? 
  • Stays within the line when coloring?

Cognitive

Skills

  • Identifies some numbers and letters? 
  • Counts to 10 by rote counting? 
  • Uses a single quality to see likes and differences in objects (such as color, size, and shape)? 
  • Concept of time is expanding (e.g. “My birthday will come after four days”)?

Social

Skills

  • Selects own friends? 
  • Engages in simple table games? 
  • Participates in competitive games? 
  • Participates in cooperative play with others, (e.g. group decisions, role assignments, fair play)?

 

 

References

 

Gargiulo, R.M., & Kilgo, J.L. (2000). Young children with special needs. Albany, NY: Delmar. 

“Adapting Early Childhood Curricula for  Children,” Appendix B, Chart of Typical “Developmental Milestones” pp. 302-311. 

   4/E by Cook/Tessier/Klein. 1996. Adapted by Prentice Hall, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Wood, Judy W. (2006).Teaching Students in Inclusive Settings: Adapting and Accommodating Instruction. Upper Saddle River, NJ.: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.

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Carolyn R. Tomlin, M. Ed., has taught preschool, kindergarten and served as assistant professor of education at Union University in Jackson, TN. She contributes to numerous educational publications.