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Assessment > Child Assessment > Early Literacy (ELSA)

Early Literacy (ELSA)

The Early Literacy Skills Assessment (ELSA) is an authentic assessment in the form of a children's storybook. It is a generic instrument designed to measure the emerging literacy skills of children attending early childhood programs — including but not limited to programs using the HighScope educational approach.

What Does the ELSA Assess?

The ELSA measures the four key principles of early literacy —

  • Comprehension
  • Phonological Awareness
  • Alphabetic Principle
  • Concepts About Print

— the early literacy abilities emphasized in the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 and in the 2000 report of the National Reading Panel.

How Does ELSA Work?

To conduct the assessment, a teacher reads the story with an individual child, stopping where indicated in the book to ask questions or elicit ideas. To evaluate the child's progress, the assessment is repeated at the end of the year with the same storybook. (If children remain in a program for more than one year, a different ELSA book will be needed for the second year.)

What Do I Need To Get Started?

There are two versions of the ELSA kit to choose from, each with a different storybook featured — Violet's Adventure or Dante Grows Up. Both versions of the ELSA kit are available in full Spanish translation.

How Do I Learn More?

To see an ELSA presentation with research data and sample pages, to review research on the ELSA's psychometric properties, or to find the answers to frequently asked questions, see "More Information" in the box above. If you have additional questions, please contact us at info@highscope.org.

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