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Documenting: Collecting Information. Finding out what children know and can do and discovering their interests, unique characteristics, attitudes, and dispositions is called Data collection, gathering information, appraisal, or obtaining evidence.

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Documenting: Collecting Information

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Documenting collecting information

Documenting: Collecting Information

  • Finding out what children know and can do and discovering their interests, unique characteristics, attitudes, and dispositions is called Data collection, gathering information, appraisal, or obtaining evidence.

  • Multiple windows: Different ways of “finding out” yield distinct “pictures” or pieces of information. No one source of information tells everything

    (McFee & Leong, 1997)

To provide multiple perspectives

To provide multiple perspectives

  • Sources of information – the child, other children,parent,specialists, other adults, or written records about children

  • The method of obtaining information –systematic observation, eliciting responses from children, collecting products from the classroom activities

  • The setting – outdoors, indoors, testing room manipulative materials, alone or in groups etc.

Sources of information

Sources of Information

  • The child: Best source of authentic data (through observation), Keep the setting natural.

  • Advantages: Child is the most direct/authentic source, builds rapport & communication, self reports may be the only way to obtain difficult information.

  • Disadvantages: Trouble articulating some internal mental processes, some behaviors cannot be observed at school (relationships neighborhood children.

  • Make the child comfortable, provide the opportunities.

Parents other adults

Parents,&Other adults

  • Indirect sources

  • Parents provide a special perspective and home culture

  • Other professionals provide different perspectives.

  • Advantages: information outside the classroom like cultural differences, enrich our knowledge of the child. Disadvantages: Biases,parents can pressure the child, shadow studies take too much time. Recommendation: Avoid prying, no gossip,professional sharing only (set time)

Written records

Written records

  • Include, attendance register, intake records, health and school history records, progress reports, report cards, results of standardized tests, portfolios.

    Question: Should you look at records before you know the child?

Advantages of records

Advantages of records:

  • Give teachers additional advantage to know children

  • Helps teachers to know children quickly

  • Portfolios ensure that accomplishments are nit forgotten

  • No repetitions of procedures

  • Disadvantages: old and in accurate info, variations in quality, unfamiliar terms.



  • Find out program guidelines for looking at written records.

  • Check date and source of information

  • Weigh written information with your knowledge, experience and current assessments

  • Evaluate test results in light of current knowledge about tests and testing results, (reliability/validity)

  • Use test information appropriately. , do not label, group, categorize children based on test results.

Methods of collecting data

Methods of collecting data

  • Systematic observation, eliciting response from children, collecting products from classroom activities, eliciting information from parents

  • Systematic observation of children, by watching and listening. Attention must be directed to a child, a particular pattern, of behavior, a situation, or a problem, or progress toward an identified goal. (watch for verbal behavior, including the actual words, voice intonation, enunciation, and pronunciation. Also, non verbal behavior, such as body movements, motor or nonverbal responses, gestures, and facial expressions.



  • Advantage: child does not have to read or write to be assessed, minimally aware that they are being watched, no change of routines, authentic,accepted as an appropriate method by most early childhood educators. Disadvantages: Feelings,attitudes values, mental processes cannot be observed through overt behavior.

Eliciting responses from children

Eliciting Responses from children

  • Dynamic assessment

    • Uses vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZDP)

Legal ethical issues in assessment

Legal & Ethical Issues in Assessment

  • Know and abide by basic rights, laws, and court rulings: Equal protection, due process, right to privacy

  • Be sensitive to individual differences

  • Cultural differences – Implications for assessment

  • Be fair and impartial: Objectivity, accuracy, & trustworthiness

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