Erikson President Samuel J. Meisels completed a three-year study of the reliability and validity of the Ounce Scale, an observational assessment for children from birth through 42 months of age and their families.

Meisels finished developing the scale in 2002 with support from the Ounce of Prevention Fund, Head Start, and other sources. It is one of the first performance-based assessments created for use in the first three years of life. The Ounce Scale is an authentic, observational assessment, meaning that it documents how children demonstrate and reveal their knowledge, skills, dispositions, and other facets of development through everyday activities in their normal environment. It pays particular attention to the social and emotional development of infants and toddlers, and incorporates both parental and caregiver perspectives.

The study used the Ounce Scale to assess more than 250 children enrolled in more than 18 Chicago-area Early Head Start programs. The results showed that the scale provides valid, reliable assessments of children up to 42 months.

The study was funded by the Head Start Bureau and Pearson Education, Inc.