About ECO: Overview
The ECO Center assists states with the implementation of high-quality outcomes measurement systems for early intervention and preschool special education programs. As outlined in our flyer, the ECO Center conducts activities in three major areas:
Knowledge Development: The ECO Center is working with six partner states to develop an empirically validated outcomes measurement framework. The framework will serve as a blueprint for all states to examine and refine outcomes measurement systems. It will address key components of an early childhood outcomes measurement system, such as data collection, quality assurance procedures, data analysis, interpretation and use, and professional development. The framework and materials will be disseminated in 2011 through 2013. Materials developed to date are available on the Framework and Self-Assesment page.
Technical Assistance and Dissemination: Technical assistance (TA) activities include forming and supporting a variety of learning communities, including state consortia, Communities of Practice, and a cadre of technical assistance experts providing states with individualized assistance. Other TA activities include facilitating national teleconferences, and providing online, print, and video training materials. Dissemination activities include maintaining listservs to promote networking and sharing, and an annual national early childhood outcomes meeting.
Leadership and Coordination: The ECO Center works with an advisory committee and several work groups to solicit stakeholder input on state needs and Center activities. The Center also analyzes the child outcome and family indicators that states submit to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in their Annual Performance Report/State Performance Plan. ECO works collaboratively with OSEP-funded projects, especially National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Centers, Regional Resource Centers, the Data Accountability Center, as well as with national and state initiatives addressing early childhood accountability.
Since its inception in 2003, the ECO Center has provided technical assistance and conducted research to support states in the development of outcome measurement systems that provide valid and reliable data for federal reporting and program improvement. In 2004, ECO solicited input from many different stakeholder groups on issues related to designing and building state and national outcome measurement systems. After reviewing recommendations (April 2005 and May 2005) from the ECO stakeholder process, OSEP adopted three child outcome indicators, three family indicators for early intervention (Part C) programs, and one family indicator for preschool special education (Part B/619) programs. Each state's Annual Performance Reports (APRs) follow OSEP's reporting requirements for these indicators.
The ECO Center has produced papers outlining the need for child and family outcomes and technical assistance documents. ECO Center staff members continue to give presentations on child and family outcomes measurement at local and national meetings and conferences throughout the United States. The ECO Center has also developed a number of tools to support states in their efforts to develop outcome measurement systems. These include the Child Outcomes Summary Form (COSF), COSF training materials, Instrument Crosswalks, and the ECO Family Outcomes Survey. The ECO web site serves as a source for information on child and family outcomes measurement topics including state-developed guidance resources and state-developed training materials.
The ECO Center was originally funded by OSEP in October 2003, and is currently funded through September 2013. It is a collaborative effort of SRI International, FPG Child Development Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Research Triangle Institute, and the University of Connecticut.
The staff of the ECO Center look forward to continuing to work with our state partners across the country. Thank you for your support of the ECO Center and for the work you do on behalf of young children and their families. For more information about the ECO Center, contact staff@the-ECO-center.org. More information about working with the ECO Center is also available.
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is dedicated to improving results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21 by providing leadership and financial support to assist states and local districts. The information on www.the-eco-center.org does not necessarily reflect the views of OSEP.