ATLANTA – Nov. 23, 2009 – As the national focus on early childhood education continues to grow, Georgia’s Pre-K Program, administered by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, is celebrating a remarkable milestone: serving its one millionth child in lottery-funded Pre-K programs since the program began in 1992. To help gauge the effectiveness of its efforts, this nationally recognized preschool program utilizes the Work Sampling System, an observational student assessment provided by the education, services and technology company, Pearson.
Georgia’s Pre-K Program is one of the longest running in the United States. Bright from the Start piloted the Work Sampling System in 2006, fully implementing it in 2007. In 2008, Bright from the Start began piloting the Online Work Sampling System. Today 10 percent of the state’s Pre-K students are evaluated using the online version of the observational assessment, and Pearson is collaborating with Bright from the Start as it moves to a paperless system for data collection and analysis.
"Georgia is a national leader in recognizing the importance of early learning programs and in investing in the lives of its youngest students," said Carol Watson, President, Clinical Assessments at Pearson. "Pearson has a long-standing commitment to help schools, communities, and states provide children with high quality early education through research-based curricula and assessments for young learners. Working with Georgia’s Pre-K Program is an honor."
The Work Sampling System is a curriculum-embedded, teacher-guided, observational assessment in which multiple sources of documentation are gathered over time. The system involves the child, family, teacher, and program in the ongoing process of assessment and reporting. The Work Sampling System makes it easier for teachers to systematically document children’s skills, knowledge, behavior, and accomplishments using three elements: guidelines and checklists, portfolios, and summary reports.
“The 2009-2010 school year is a year of celebration for Georgia’s Pre-K Program,” said Bright from the Start Commissioner Holly Robinson. “This school year, the one millionth child will walk through the doors of one of our Pre-K classrooms.”
“The Work Sampling System has helped us in our continual efforts to carefully monitor student progress in Georgia’s Pre-K Program,” acknowledged Mary Mazarky, Assistant Commissioner for Pre-K. “The online version is particularly exciting as the technology helps us to efficiently and accurately gather and manage data that can be used to inform teachers, program directors, parents, and policymakers.”
About Bright from the Start/Georgia DECAL
Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia’s children and their families. It administers the nationally recognized Georgia’s Pre-K Program, licenses child care centers and home-based child care, administers federal nutrition programs, and manages voluntary quality enhancement programs.
The department also houses the Head Start State Collaboration Office, distributes federal funding to enhance the quality and availability of child care, and works collaboratively with Georgia child care resource and referral agencies and organizations throughout the state to enhance early care and education. For more information, go to http://www.decal.ga.gov.
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson’s other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information about the Assessment group of Pearson, visit http://www.pearsonassessments.com/.
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