DRDP: The Desired Results Developmental Profile

Learn more about the DRDP assessment to support the progress of children in your program and guide continuous improvement

DRDP: The Desired Results Developmental Profile

DRDP: The Desired Results Developmental Profile

Caregivers and early childhood educators can use the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP) to observe and assess infants and young children as they learn new skills and behaviors. The DRDP gives educators a roadmap of the milestones children should meet from infancy through preschool to be physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally prepared for kindergarten.

A young child tracing letters in an activity book, demonstrating the emergent writing measure.Source

What is DRDP?

The Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP) is an assessment that measures children’s school readiness. The DRDP assessment measures progress on six desired results for children and families: 

  • Children are personally and socially competent.
  • Children are effective learners.
  • Children show physical and motor competence.
  • Children are safe and healthy.
  • Families support their child’s learning and development.
  • Families achieve their goals.

You can use the DRDP to observe children's behaviors in a natural environment and track each child's progress toward the desired results.

What is the purpose of assessment in early childhood education?

The DRDP assessment is designed to help early childhood educators assess the development of children in their program and improve the overall quality of programs and services provided to all children from birth to 12 years of age and families. The Desired Results system was developed by the state of California and funded by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).  The assessment helps educators observe, document, and measure each child's progress towards desired outcomes. You can use the results of the DRDP assessment to develop a curriculum that addresses the developmental needs of every child in your program.

DRDP domains and measures

The DRDP assessment consists of eight domains that align with the California Department of Education’s Early Learning and Development Foundations. The DRDP assessment helps educators evaluate each child's progress as they acquire knowledge, skills, and behaviors that reflect each domain’s developmental construct.

Each DRDP domain contains several measures. Measures are developmental criteria along which a child’s observed behavior is assessed. The DRDP includes the below measures:

  • Earlier development measures—applicable for children from early infancy through early preschool.
  • Later development measures—applicable for children from early preschool to kindergarten entry.
  • Full continuum measures—applicable for children from early infancy all the way to kindergarten. Educators should use these measures with all infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
  • Conditional measures—applicable only in certain circumstances. For example, English-Language Development measures only apply if a child does not hear English at home.

Below, we’ll discuss the eight domains that comprise the Desired Results Developmental Profile. 

Approaches to Learning—Self-Regulation (ATL-REG)

The ATL-REG domain of the DRDP assesses young children's approaches to learning and self-regulation skills.

The measures that your child should master in the ATL-REG domain are:

  • Attention maintenance—Your child pays attention to people, things, or the environment when interacting with others or exploring play materials. 
  • Self-comforting—Your child comforts or soothes themself in response to distress from internal or external stimulation.
  • Imitation—Your child mirrors, repeats, and practices the actions or words of others in increasingly complex ways.
  • Curiosity and initiative—Your child explores the environment in increasingly focused ways to learn about people, things, materials, and events.
  • Self-control of feelings and behavior—Your child develops strategies for regulating their emotions and behavior, becoming less reliant on adult guidance over time.
  • Engagement and persistence—Your child continues trying to understand or master activities, even if they are challenging or difficult. 
  • Shared use of space and materials—Your child shares the use of space and materials with others.

Social and Emotional Development (SED)

The SED domain of the DRDP assesses young children's social and emotional skills.

The measures that your child should master in the SED domain are:

  • Identity of self in relation to others—Your child is aware of themself as distinct from, and related to, others.
  • Social and emotional understanding —Your child understands people’s behaviors, feelings, thoughts, and individual characteristics.
  • Relationships and social interactions with familiar adults—Your child develops close relationships with one or more familiar adults (including family members) and interacts in an increasingly competent and cooperative manner with them.
  • Relationships and social interactions with peers—Your child cooperates in interactions with peers and develops several friendships.
  • Symbolic and sociodramatic play—Your child uses objects to represent other objects (or ideas) and to engage in symbolic play with others.

Language and Literacy Development (LLD)

The LLD domain of the DRDP assesses young children's language and literacy development skills in their first language.

The measures that your child should master in the LLD domain are:

  • Understanding of language (receptive)—Your child understands increasingly complex communication and language.
  • Responsiveness to language —Your child communicates or acts in response to language and responds to increasingly complex language.
  • Communication and use of language (expressive)—Your child's communication develops from nonverbal communication to using language with increasingly complex words and sentences.
  • Reciprocal communication and conversation—Your child engages in back-and-forth communication that develops into increasingly extended conversations.
  • Interest in literacy—Your child shows interest in books, songs, rhymes, stories, and other literacy activities in increasingly complex ways.
  • Comprehension of age-appropriate text—Your child develops the capacity to understand details and ideas from age-appropriate texts presented by adults.
  • Concepts about print—Your child shows an increasing understanding of the conventions and physical organization of print material and that print carries meaning.
  • Phonological awareness—Your child shows increasing awareness of the sounds that make up language, including the ability to manipulate them in language.
  • Letter and word knowledge—Your child shows increasing awareness of letters in the environment and their relationship to sound, including understanding that letters make up words.
  • Emergent writing—Your child shows an increasing ability to write using scribbles, marks, drawings, letters, characters, or words to represent meaning.

English-Language Development (ELD)

The ELD domain of the DRDP assesses English-language development skills of children who speak more than one language. The same measures assessed in the Language and Literacy Development domain are assessed in the English-Language Development domain.

Cognition, Including Math and Science (COG)

The COG domain of the DRDP assesses young children's cognition skills, including their math and science skills.

The measures that your child should master in the COG domain are:

  • Spatial relationships—Your child increasingly shows an understanding of how objects move in space or fit in different spaces.
  • Classification—Your child shows an increasing ability to compare, match, and sort objects into groups according to their attributes.
  • Number sense of quantity—Your child shows a developing understanding of numbers and quantities.
  • Number sense of math operations—Your child shows an increasing ability to add and subtract small quantities of objects.
  • Measurement—Your child shows an increasing understanding of measurable properties such as size, length, weight, and volume and how to quantify those properties.
  • Patterning—Your child shows an increasing ability to recognize, reproduce, and create patterns of varying complexity.
  • Shapes—Your child shows an increasing knowledge of shapes and their characteristics.
  • Cause and effect—Your child demonstrates an increasing ability to observe, anticipate, and reason about the relationship between cause and effect.
  • Inquiry through observation and investigation—Your child observes, explores, and investigates objects and events in the environment and becomes increasingly sophisticated in pursuing knowledge about them.
  • Documentation and communication of inquiry—Your child describes and records observations and investigations about objects and events while sharing ideas and explanations with others.
  • Knowledge of the natural world—Your child understands objects and events in the natural world, including how they change and their characteristics.

Physical Development—Health (PD-HLTH)

The PD-HLTH domain of the DRDP assesses young children's motor development and the development of personal care, safety, and nutrition routines.

The measures that your child should master in the PD-HLTH domain are:

  • Perceptual-motor skills and movement concepts—Your child moves their body and interacts with the environment, demonstrating increasing awareness of their physical effort, body awareness, spatial awareness, and directional awareness.
  • Gross locomotor movement skills—Your child shows increasing proficiency in fundamental locomotor skills such as maintaining their posture, walking with coordination, running, and jumping.
  • Gross motor manipulative skills—Your child shows increasing proficiency in gross motor manipulative skills such as kicking, grasping objects, and throwing and catching a ball
  • Fine motor manipulative skills—Your child demonstrates increasing precision, strength, coordination, and efficiency when using their hand muscles for play and functional tasks.
  • Safety—Your child shows awareness of safety and increasingly demonstrates knowledge of safety skills when participating in daily activities.
  • Personal care routines: hygiene—Your child increasingly responds to and initiates personal care routines that support hygiene.
  • Personal care routines: feeding—Your child responds to feeding and feeds themself with increasing proficiency.
  • Personal care routines: dressing—Your child develops and refines the ability to participate in, and take responsibility for, dressing themself.
  • Active physical play—Your child engages in physical activities with increasing endurance and intensity.
  • Nutrition—Your child demonstrates increasing knowledge about nutrition and healthy food choices.

History-Social Science (HSS)

The HSS domain of the DRDP assesses young children's sense of time and place, ecology, conflict negotiation, and responsible conduct.

The measures that your child should master in the HSS domain are:

  • Sense of time—Your child increasingly communicates or demonstrates awareness about past and future events and relates them to present activity.
  • Sense of place—Your child demonstrates an increasing awareness of the characteristics of physical environments and connections among their attributes, including the people and activities in them.
  • Ecology—Your child develops an awareness of, and concern for, the natural world and human influences on it.
  • Conflict negotiation—Your child shows an increasing understanding of the needs of other children and is increasingly able to consider alternatives and negotiate constructively in conflict situations.
  • Responsible conduct as a group member—Your child develops skills as a responsible group member in an early education setting, acting in a fair and socially acceptable manner and regulating behavior according to group expectations.

Visual and Performing Arts (VPA)

The VPA domain of the DRDP assesses young children's awareness and engagement in visual art, music, drama, and dance.

The measures that your child should master in the VPA domain are:

  • Visual art—Your child develops skills and expresses themself with increasing creativity, complexity, and depth through two-dimensional and three-dimensional visual art.
  • Music—Your child expresses themself by creating musical sounds with increasing intentionality and complexity.
  • Drama—Your child increases engagement, skill development, and creative expression in drama.
  • Dance—Your child develops a capacity to respond, express, and create through movement in dance.

Developmental levels of the DRDP

 Each measure of the DRDP has levels that children must master.

  • Responding (earlier, later)—Your child demonstrates behaviors that develop from basic responses to differentiated responses.
  • Exploring (earlier, middle, later)—Your child demonstrates behaviors that include active exploration, purposeful movement, purposeful exploration and manipulation of objects, purposeful communication, and the beginnings of cooperation with adults and peers.
  • Building (earlier, middle, later)— our child demonstrates a growing understanding of how people and objects relate to one another, how to investigate ideas, and how things work.
  • Integrating (earlier)—Your child demonstrates the ability to connect and combine strategies to express complex thoughts and feelings and solve multi-step problems that involve social-emotional, self-regulatory, cognitive, linguistic, and physical skills.

The number of levels in a measure varies depending on the competencies of the measure. For instance, the “ATL-REG 3: Imitation” measure has five levels ranging from early responding to early building, while the “ATL-REG 5: Self-Control of Feelings and Behavior” measure has eight levels ranging from early responding to early integrating.

DRDP observation examples

The DRDP provides early childhood educators with many ways to observe children's development. The WestEd DRDP Resources YouTube channel provides examples of notes that educators can take based on their DRDP observations. The WestEnd DRDP instructs educators to include the date, child's name, time, and context of the observation in their notes.

A DRDP observation that documents a child's progress in the social and emotional development, language and literacy development, and physical development — health domains.


This DRDP observation documents a child's progress in the social and emotional development, language and literacy development, and physical development—health domains. The observation provides the date, the time of day, the child's name, abbreviations of the observed measures, and a detailed record of the skills that the child displays.

Bottom line

Using the DRDP to observe and assess the children in your program can help you ensure they are making significant progress toward the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional milestones they need to meet to succeed as they get older. If your children are struggling to meet milestones, create a curriculum of lessons and activities that reinforce the necessary DRDP measures and domains so you can help them meet their developmental milestones and prepare for kindergarten.

To learn more about activities that promote growth across developmental domains, check out our free list! 

Activities Across Developmental Domains - brightwheel

Download our free list of activities across developmental domains!

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