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First Step Screening Developmental Test


Developmental screening is an important undertaking because it provides important information about the needs of the child. First step screening is used in evaluating preschoolers between the ages of 2 months and 2 years to identify any developmental problems (Miller, 1998). According to Brassard (2007), the major challenges faced by most schools in the U.S. when conducting developmental screening are due to time and resource limitations. The challenges even become more pronounced during first-time screening. The screening time is usually very short because prolonged screenings are usually very expensive for educators. Therefore, Brassard emphasizes the need to concentrate on the practical aspects of the screening that will give predictions with high levels of accuracy (2007). In addition, input from both the teachers and parents is important to ensure that all the required information about the child is obtained. Screening should also be accompanied by high levels of validity ensuring that the method employed ensures minimal errors. The paper conducts an analysis on the effectiveness of the First Step screening for preschoolers.

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The test aimed at test screening 20 preschoolers between the ages of 1year and two years. The screening of the 20 children took 10 hours with each child being screened for an average time of 30 minutes. The study used 20 children because the larger the sample, the more reliable the results. Two trained researchers were used to screen the children and they were required to follow the guidelines outlined in the Miller manual. The first step screening test targets three aspects of development in preschoolers. The aspects are “cognitive, motor, communication, social and emotional and adaptive functioning (Miller, 1998).”

The following test will however look at the cognitive and motor aspects of development. The approach implemented was informal to ensure that the children were not tensed during the screening. The cognitive aspects that were tested were hearing and responding to movements and touch. The screened motor aspects were the ability of the child to hold, move the limbs freely and the coordination of the movements.

The scoring method that was used was adapted from the Miller Assessment for Preschoolers. Since all the teachers and students were English speaking, the screening was conducted in English. The validity and reliability of the test were assured by ensuring that the researchers were comfortable with the testing venue and that she was conversant with all the details and procedures of the test. The testing items were also limited to 50 (25 each for cognitive and motor) to ensure that the researcher was not strained. The Miller manual played an important role in assuring validity and reliability because the test items for each aspect were evaluated using the standards outlined in the manual. For instance, in the recording of the level of listening of the children the values and response behaviors outlined in the Miller scale were used instead of designing new scales.


The results were recorded in excel sheets and statistical measurements of mean, median, mode, and standard error were determined using excel tools. According to the results, the standard of error was very small implying that there was minimal variance, hence the results were valid and reliable. The results implied that most of the scores by the children centered around the mean implying that most children were average in the scores. Excel was also used to construct a histogram. The fact that the histogram was bell-shaped validated the use of the mean score as a measure of central tendency. The data also had two modes distributed on the higher and lower sides implying that the mode was not a good measure of central tendency. Most of the children were found to have average motor and cognitive capabilities, implying that they were developing normally. Of the 20 children, only four children were found to have records that were above and below the average scores. Only one child was found to have slightly above average scores while two children required special education because they demonstrated developmental problems.


The general realization is that the First step method of evaluation for preschoolers requires long periods. However, the cost and the time limits provide challenges to conducting the screening thoroughly. The test conducted only looked at two aspects of development to ensure that the two aspects were screened effectively within the given time frame. The ten-hour screening period was also strenuous for the evaluators. However, the results were still able to replicate the findings of previous studies which implies that the test was done fairly. Further studies should however be conducted that concentrate only on the technical aspect of development within the shortest period possible and with maximum accuracy. The major challenge that has been observed in similar studies is that the evaluation time is usually very short for the outcomes to capture all the aspects of the child effectively. In addition, the cost of conducting such exercise is very high. Consequently, most schools opt to conduct such tests once in a while.


Brassard, M. R. (2007). Preschool Assessment: Principles and Practices. New York: Guilford Press.

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Miller, L. (1998). FirstSTEP Screening Test for Evaluating Preschoolers. New York: The Psychological Corporation.

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StudyCorgi. "First Step Screening Developmental Test." January 4, 2022.


StudyCorgi. 2022. "First Step Screening Developmental Test." January 4, 2022.


StudyCorgi. (2022) 'First Step Screening Developmental Test'. 4 January.

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