Early Childhood Care and Education: Using Assessment Data to Target Letter Recognition Skills

Posted on Categories Employability Skills, Project-based Learning

At a Glance

Early Childhood Care and Education students are using assessment data to target children’s letter recognition skills through a project-based activity that involves parent participation.


Students enrolled in the Early Child Care and Education program use data collected from preschoolers to guide curriculum and teaching strategies. At the start of the school year, the high school students observe how well preschool children recognize lowercase letters and uppercase letters. Using a digital program, they record observations of individual children on separate graphs for uppercase and lowercase letters and then, working with their peers, they create an additional digital graph showing the letter recognition abilities of the whole preschool group. The high school students also keep track of the accuracy of their assessments with a rubric checklist. Based on an assessment of the graphs, the students create lesson plans designed to improve the preschoolers’ letter recognition skills.

Students also create a resource folder for each preschool family providing seven activities they may use at home to help support their child’s literacy development. The students invite all preschool parents to a “Literacy Play Date,” a meeting in which they share a PowerPoint presentation on the importance of early literacy skills. At this time, students present the letter-recognition data and ask parents to write down literacy goals they have for their children. Later, students develop a plan on how they will work towards each family’s reading goal for their preschooler. Committees are formed so that work can be shared and so that students are able to tap into their specific talents and areas of interest.

At the end of the year, the students conduct a second letter recognition assessment in order to create updated individual and class graphs. Using both sets of data, results are compared and analyzed, allowing students to reflect on the effectiveness of their lessons and determine which activities may have had the greatest impact on letter recognition growth among the preschoolers.

Throughout the project, students are actively engaged in higher-level academic and occupational tasks. Students use appropriate tools for data collection and graphing projects intended to measure and interpret student proficiency. The Early Child Care and Education instructor developed all materials; the project duration consists of nine, 90-minute lessons.

Origin / Implementation

This project was created as a result of attending the SREB Enhanced CTE seminars in the 2013-2014 school year. The intent was to develop and implement a project-based lesson that covered multiple related competencies, to stress the importance of early literacy skills, and to bridge the gap between school and home. The instructor also wanted students to reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching. The lesson was implemented for the first time in September 2014 with 12 career and technical high school students in grades nine through 12.

Results / Impact

Of the students who participated in the project and who took the NOCTI exam, all scored Advanced. Two students raised their pre-NOCTI and post-NOCTI scores by over forty percent. Understanding literacy, curriculum, communication with families, developmentally appropriate practices, lesson planning, and self-reflection have proven to be beneficial to the NOCTI exam for all students. In addition, students better understood that lesson plans help teachers organize their teaching to effectively accommodate students’ needs and interests. They also learned that good relationships with families help early childhood professionals provide quality care and that parents should be involved in the education of their children. All students, including diverse learners, showed tremendous understanding and knowledge of the importance of early reading literacy skills and the impact that their teaching had on the preschoolers. Students used multiple literacy and numeracy strategies that enabled them to analyze new information in a way that allowed them to analyze data, form family relationships, draw conclusions, and further their investigations.  


Technical College High School Pickering Campus
Ellen Nutter, Early Childhood Care and Education Instructor

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