KIPS Blog: Parenting Assessment in Practice & Research

Tips for Supporting ESL Staff with Online Parenting Assessment Training

Posted by Marilee Comfort on Thu, Dec 01, 2016 @ 05:54 PM

Guest Blog by

Theresa Zighera, Evaluation Officer

First 5 San Francisco

FSP assessment training.jpgWe have learned a few important things over the years with regard to training and support for staff taking the KIPS parenting assessment course when their first language is one other than English or Spanish. We had the advantage of being able to set up small group trainings and have peer translators (over time we were also able to have translators who had also already become KIPS certified), which made a big difference and is recommended whenever possible.

Aside from translation support, read on to learn some of the other strategies we utilized.

Orientation Session

First, we always did an orientation training with the individuals prior to having them begin the on-line course. This orientation included an overview of the 12 parenting behaviors, the KIPS tool, what they could expect in the on-line course and how to navigate the elearning website itself. This allowed for some additional time to ensure that they had a good foundation for even beginning the course and to check that the 12 behaviors were translating effectively to their own linguistic and cultural experience.

What is a Rating Scale?

Second, we also dedicated a considerable amount of time in this orientation to reviewing the general nature and purpose of assessment tools and rating scales. Many of us here who initially became certified had grown up with standardized tests, surveys, and rating scales and so were immediately familiar with that aspect of the process. However, as we started training a more diverse group of providers, we learned that standardized tools and rating scales - as opposed to a “yes” or “no” question, for example - are not all that easy or intuitive for others that have not had a great deal of past exposure or experience with them.  Therefore it became important to explain in more detail the basics of a rating scale: what was high, what was low, what do the levels in between mean, what is the purpose of having different levels of meaning, and how they could use the KIPS anchors as guides.  The difference between a lower rating (i.e. a “1”) and the “did not observe” (NOB) response was also a difficult one for some providers to grasp and required dedicated clarification since it is a little more subtle distinction and therefore more difficult to convey when English fluency is limited.

Check-Ins During Training

Finally, we found that frequent check-ins during the on-line course and practice videos with coaching also helped to better ensure success. Some of our providers were able to develop their own strategies for taking notes, preparing for the tests, and for scoring videos, while other providers benefitted from co-developing a study and scoring strategy with a peer or coach.


Editor’s Note:  We thank Theresa for sharing the strategies she and her colleagues developed to ensure that family service providers at First 5 San Francisco are successful in their parenting assessment training.  Engaging families by hiring diverse staff who reflect the families’ backgrounds is a highly valued tenet in family services.  We need to devote just as much effort to building support strategies to ensure successful professional development of these diverse staff.

In case you missed it, take a look at a related KIPS blog onWhy Parenting Assessment Training & Certification Matters to Children .

We’d love to hear from you about how your program supports staff who come from diverse cultural or language backgrounds to learn and practice assessment skills with families.  Please share your comments below this blog.

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Tags: parenting assessment training, family support-partnership-services, online training, diverse staff