DRDP School Age: Everything You Need to KnowIf you’re the parent of a child in elementary school, you’re probably familiar with before- and after-school programs. From latch-key to science club, many districts offer these programs to provide students with social opportunities, a safe place to spend time, and programming to support academics and development. If you plan, run, or staff these programs, you take pride in providing quality opportunities for students. California’s Department of Education (CDE) created a tool for educational professionals involved in after-school programs. It helps instructors and staff assess and track student development. Known as the Desired Results system, the assessment tool covers infants, toddlers, preschool, and kindergarten. It also includes an assessment designed specifically for tracking progress through after-school programming, known as the DRDP school age, or DRDP-SA. DRDP School Age is for students from kindergarten through age 12 who are involved in programs before or after school. It helps educators track student progress and development. Teachers can also use the tool to assess the quality of programming offered to students. Whether you’re a parent or a staff member, you may find the DRDP-SA a little confusing or overwhelming. We’ll go through the assessment here, why it matters, and how to use it to benefit students and programs.
What is the DRDP School Age (DRDP-SA)?First, it’s important to understand what the DRDP is. It stands for Desired Results Developmental Profile. The CDE created the DRDP to assess young children’s learning and development, from infancy through age 12. Teachers and educators use DRDP assessments to evaluate each child’s development along several “desired results.” This helps instructors plan individual and group curriculum and, in the case of after-school activities, constantly monitor quality and improve programing. The DRDP includes several views, or targeted age and instructional groups for their assessments:
- DRDP Infant Toddler. This is for babies and toddlers in educational programs.
- DRDP Preschool. DRDP-PS evaluates preschool programs and the individual children in them.
- DRDP Kindergarten. DRDP-K is for kindergarten teachers and students.
- DRDP School Age. DRDP-SA evaluates before- and after-school programs and student development. It covers kindergarten through age 12.
- Children are personally and socially competent.
- Children are effective learners.
- Children show physical and motor competence.
- Children are safe and healthy.
- Families support their child’s learning and development.
- Families achieve their goals.
- Desired Results Developmental Profile. The DRDP itself evaluates an individual child as they progress through specific measurements of development and learning in an after-school program.
- Desired Results Parent Survey. This assessment tool helps programs and schools get information from families. It communicates a family’s level of satisfaction with an after- or before-school program and how it supports their child’s learning or development. Family surveys are kept anonymous.
- Environment Rating Scales. The environment rating measures the quality of the environment of the after-school programming. This includes elements like child–teacher interactions, health and safety, the actual space, and children’s activities.
- Ongoing Program Self Evaluation Tool. Instructors and program designers use this tool. It ensures that after-school programs strive for and maintain a high level of quality. It assesses standards, accountability, staffing, professional development, family involvement, opportunities, governance and administration, and other important factors.
The Purpose and Importance of the DRDP School AgeThe purpose of the entire DRDP system is to support young child and student learning and development with input from both educators and families. The infant, preschool, and kindergarten DRDPs focus on specific age milestones, but the DRDP School Age is a little different. Before- and after-school programs are not simply repositories for students with nowhere else to go. They provide valuable educational experiences and chances to support academic growth. Children can benefit from these programs when they are of high quality. According to research, a good after-school program can provide several benefits for students:
- Increase school attendance
- Reduce dropout rates
- Improve social and emotional learning
- Improve educational outcomes
- Support academic learning and improve in-school participation
- Close achievement gaps
- Reduce risky behaviors
- Increase physical activity and provide nutrition
What Does the DRDP School Age Measure?The DRDP School AsgeA measures individual students and several aspects of the programming they attend. There are two versions: DRDP-School Age 2010 Simplified Version and DRDP School Age 2011 Complete Version. The simplified version uses 13 separate measurements. The complete version includes a total of 31 measures. Schools with before- or after-school programming may choose to use either the simplified or complete version of the DRDP-SA. The complete version includes measures for academic domains used in K–12 classrooms. The measures are organized into eight domains. A domain is a fundamental area of development and learning for a child. Within each domain are measures of specific competencies and skills along with developmental levels for each.
DRDP School Age 2010 Simplified VersionUnless programming is targeted specifically to academic standards, many schools use the simplified version to track student progress and evaluate the quality of the program offering. There are just two non-academic domains in the simplified version, each with several measures related to social development and health:
DRDP School Age 2011 Complete VersionThe complete version of the DRDP-SA includes four additional domains, each with separate measures included under each one:
- Language and Literacy Development: comprehension of oral language; expression of oral language; interest in literacy; decoding and word recognition; comprehension of written materials; writing.Health
- Cognitive Development: cause and effect; problem solving; demonstrates inventiveness; memory and knowledge; pursuit of understanding; task persistence.
- Mathematical Development: number sense of mathematical operations; measurement; shapes; time.
- Physical Development: gross motor movement; fine motor skills.
The Structure of the DRDP School AgeThe DRDP School Age consists of several domains and components within those domains that help staff and instructors evaluate student development:
Using the DRDP School AgeParents and after-school staff may feel a little overwhelmed by the components, domains, and measurements included in the DRDP School Age. It looks like a lot initially, but once you read through it and see the examples, it becomes clearer. It’s important to note that the DRDP assessment tools are not traditional or standardized tests. The CDE designed these to be used as ongoing observations. Teachers constantly observe students in their after-school programs to complete the assessments. The CDE and Desired Results system provide detailed instructions for how to use the assessments. These include several forms, guidelines for who should complete them and when, and other information.
DRDP School Age Guidelines and FormsThe DRDP School Age includes several guidelines that clarify for schools how to complete the forms and assessments:
- Teachers may choose either the simplified or complete version.
- The teacher who interacts the most with a child should complete the assessments for that student.
- The teacher must complete a child information form for each student assessed. This should be done before noting observations.
- The teacher should complete the DRDP School Age within the first 60 days of a child enrolling in the program. They then complete it again at six-month intervals.
- The DRDP School Age is only necessary for students who spend at least 10 hours per week in a before- or after-school program.
- Teachers complete the assessment using their observations, anecdotes, and samples of student work.
- They are also to include input from other teachers, special education teachers when applicable, parents, and other adults in a student’s life.