The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS/SDE) developed Guidelines for Appropriate Curriculum Content and Assessment in Programs Serving Children Ages 3 Through 8. These guidelines list the principles of young children's growth and development and the implications for appropriate curriculum, instruction, and assessment. In particular, the guidelines for assessment are categorized by planning instruction and communicating with parents, identifying children who have special needs, and evaluating programs.
The NAEYC position statement on Standardized Testing of Young Children 3 Through 8 Years of Age (Adobe Acrobat pdf) reiterates the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Psychological Association, 1985) and relates them specifically to the assessment of young children. The NAEYC position includes the following principles:
Unacceptable Trends in Kindergarten Entry and Placement (NAECS/SDE, 1987) addresses some of the high-stakes decisions made in the1980s. This position statement calls for an end to assigning young children to policies and programs that unilaterally require one or more extra years of schooling--such as delay of kindergarten entry, and "transition" or "prefirst" years (a year inserted between kindergarten and first grade). Such assignment practices often are determined by children's scores on standardized tests that cannot justify such decisions, or teacher or parent decisions based upon their anxieties about accelerated expectations and demands of the next grade level.
The NAEYC position statement on Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth Through Age 8 has been widely influential in defining best practice in early childhood education. The statement served as a catalyst for the development of the previously mentioned position statements as well as Accreditation Criteria and Proceedings of the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs (NAEYC, 1991) and the NAEYC Position Statement on School Readiness.