Birth - Five Evaluation and Assessment Module  

  • You are not logged in. Please Login

Welcome to the Birth - Five Evaluation and Assessment Module!



This module addresses evaluation and assessment with regard to their definitions, purposes, legal requirements, best practices, and family partnerships through the lens of Maryland’s birth through age five seamless, comprehensive continuum of services for children with disabilities and their families.


Maryland’s birth through five evaluation and assessment system provides a reliable, valid, and coordinated approach to supporting families and building capacity for early care and education programs. This approach promotes positive developmental and educational outcomes through full access, participation, and supports in home and community life for young children with disabilities and their families. Evaluation and assessment are processes used by qualified personnel in partnership with families in order to identify a child’s developmental/educational levels and functional abilities, and a family’s concerns, priorities, and resources in supporting their child’s development.


The Purposes of Evaluation and Assessment in Early Intervention and Education

  • Eligibility determination
  • Individualized results-oriented, data-informed decision making for individual children and families
    • Addressing family concerns, priorities and resources
    • Developing an IFSP/IEP
    • Planning intervention and instruction based on assessment
    • Providing child/family supports and services
    • Measuring child developmental and school readiness progress
  • Accountability for federal, state and local requirements


Evaluation and assessment for birth through five year olds in the early intervention and preschool special education systems are defined and driven by the parts of the special education law which govern each system. The federal law governing the early intervention system is Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and for preschool special education it is Part B of IDEA.  The terms evaluation and assessment are often used interchangeably but are actually separate processes. Furthermore, although each process is similar in both systems, there are marked differences between them which are specified in the Code of Federal Regulations [34 CFR §303.320-321 and 34 CFR §300.301-311] and the Code of Maryland Regulations [COMAR 13A.13.01.05 and COMAR 13A.05.01.04-.06]. Later in this module links will be provided to the Code of Federal Regulations and the Code of Maryland Regulation.

Throughout this module, the term “service provider” or “practitioner” is used to describe and refer to the array of professionals who work with the child and family in the context of the evaluation and assessment process. This may include teachers, service coordinators, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, vision or hearing specialists, family support coordinators, and any other practitioner listed on a child’s IFSP or IEP. These terms were chosen in order to speak generally of all the professionals who are important to the children and families served without listing all the possible professionals involved repeatedly.