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Child Outcomes Summary (COS) Quick Reference Sheet

Friday, May 30, 2014


The Child Outcomes Summary (COS) process is a way for states to measure the progress of preschool and pre-K students receiving IEP services. The process takes a before and after score of the child’s development compared to typically developing peers. Scores are based on evidence of the child’s functional skills across three areas:

  1. Positive social-emotional skills
  2. Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills
  3. Use of appropriate behaviors to meet needs


Within the LEA, teams of educators, evaluators, service providers, case managers and parents that know the child and that know child development complete COS scores for each child, aged 3-5 in a preschool special education program (have an IEP).


Within 90 days from entry into preschool special education program, an entry score is completed.

Within 60 days prior to the child’s exit out of preschool special education program, an exit score is completed.

Where can I get more information?

Child Outcomes Summary (COS) Data Collection


To measure each child’s level of functional skills in three areas over time for federal and local reporting purposes.


Compose a team:

The team must be composed of individuals who know

the child. The team should have:

  1. At least one person knowledgeable of child development
  2. Knowledge of the child across multiple settings (classroom, playground, home, community, etc.)

Gather the evidence:

Use results from formal and informal assessments, parent and classroom observations, school work and parent report to identify the skills that the child demonstrates. Think about what the child demonstrates in one or across multiple settings and in a functional context.

Sort the evidence:

Are the skills the child demonstrates age appropriate, immediate foundational or foundational for a child his or her age? Sort through the evidence to get a picture of where the child is developmentally, compared to his or her typically developing peers.

Find a score:

Once the evidence is sorted, use either the “bucket sheet” or the flow chart to help the team determine the child’s COS score based on the COS 7-point rating scale (see reverse)

Enter into DC CATS:

Once the scores are generated, enter the data into the DC CATS system.

Child Outcomes Summary (COS) Ratings and COS Descriptors w/Buckets

Download the attachment below for a detailed table on COS ratings and descriptors. 

ƒ•‡Ž‹‡—ƒŽ‹–›–—†›ƒ†Child Outcomes Summary (COS) Quick Reference Guide