Ongoing Assessment of Young Children Informs Lesson Planning Sally Reed Crawford Early Childhood Specialist Department of Education
Workshop Objectives: • Enhance understanding of the basic principles of assessment and young children; • Increase understanding of how assessment demonstrates accountability; • Review data collection and analysis methods; • Review strategies to build teacher and classroom practice effectiveness; • Increase Critical Thinking.
Agenda • Basic principles of assessment and young children • Assessment and accountability • Observation and Documentation System • Teacher skills and classroom practices enhance ongoing assessment practice
The word assessment is a Latin derivative, meaning to sit beside and get to know.
Activity Carousel Brainstorming: Assessment Evidence Authentic Assessment Progress Monitoring
What we know about best practice of assessment of infants, toddlers and preschool childrenFrom ZERO TO THREE New Visions for Developmental Assessment of Infants and Young Children • Assessment means working together to learn about the child; • An assessment should take into account all aspects of the baby or young child’s development; • An assessment should give a picture of the child in different settings, and gather information from multiple sources; • Watching a baby or young child do something she enjoys with someone she trusts should be the most important part of the developmental assessment;
Any professional who assesses the development of an infant or toddler should understand the sequences, timetables, and variations of development that typical of children of this group; • The results of the assessment should identify the child’s strengths and abilities, as well as competencies that will help the child develop further; • An assessment process should feel like help to the parent; • Reassessment of a child should occur in familiar situations and should involve typical daily activities.
Best Practice when assessing young children is Authentic Assessment = the systematic observation and recording of development overtimeof the naturally occurring and useful behaviors of young children during typical daily routines by familiar and knowledgeable caregivers. Bagnato & Yeh Ho, 2006
Evidence Gathering information from several forms of evidence, over time; then organizing and interpreting that information to adjust curriculum or intervention. Evidence = a sign or indication of proof of something National Association if the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), 2004
Using an assessment instrument over time to gather evidence is… Progress Monitoring = scientifically-based practice of observing students performance OVER TIME and to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Over time = regularly (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly – depends on what you are monitoring).
Progress Monitoring or Ongoing Assessmentis a way of helping a student learn and the teacher teach. K. Lane, “Student Progress Monitoring: What This Means for Your Child”, National Center on Student Progress Monitoring; www.studentprogressmonitoring.org
Why do we assess young children? • To monitor child’s developmental progress and learning; • To guide planning and decision-making - create the learning environment; • To identify children who might benefit for intervention services – find direction when what we are doing isn’t enough; • To report to and communicate with others – accountability. Data measuring child developmental skills demonstrates teacher and program accountability.
The Primary Purpose of Assessment: To make ongoing educational decisions which Inform and support learning Show child progress Identify children who may need additional services/supports Your primary goal in serving children: Improve child outcomes.
Challenges with Assessment and Young Children • Young children have little or no test-taking experience • Young children have short attention spans • Young children’s development is rapid and variable
Historical barriers to accurate assessment of young children • The majority of assessment tools used for all children have been conventional or norm-referenced tests/standardized - (development, intelligence, psycho-educational) • These norm-referenced tests have not been developed for or field-validated on young children with developmental disabilities • Traditionally, norm-referenced tests do not capture the functional capabilities of young children of varied ability levels Bagnato and Neisworth, The MisMeasure of Young Children, 2004
Best Practice and Assessment ToolsBagnato &Neisworth 2004 • Content reflects the philosophy and goals of the intervention program; • Is usable by a range of team members; • Offers a logical developmental sequence of items that can be directly linked to intervention; • Specifies a range of performance criteria that indicate if a child has a skill and if the skill is a functional part of their everyday repertoire;
Permits adaptations and modifications for a range of abilities; • Provides procedures for genuine family participation; • Has reliability and validity data to support use; • Invites teaching because the items are sequential to or a part of age appropriate curriculum.
Criterion Referenced ToolsPretti-Frontczak 2005 • Focus is on important functional skills • Easily instructs intervention outcomes • Identifies current skills/behavior and guide to next appropriate developmental targets • Useable by various professionals • Allows for easy linking of information between professionals • Effective in providing ongoing assessment within curriculum/intervention content
Ongoing Assessment is the most effective way to provide in-depth evidence of child growth and learning. And it allows us to accurately complete assessment instruments.
An assessment tool gives us structure when we observe children. What are assessment examples used in your program/service?
Ongoing Assessment needs to be intentional observation • Discovering children’s interests • Assessing their developmental levels • Seeing what strategies children use to attain their goals • Helping to know what skills children need to practice • Learning about children’s personalities
Reflection:Think of a child with whom you work. On a piece of paper describe how this child plays with toys/objects and communicates How Child Plays How Child Communicates
A Child demonstrates what she/he can and cannot do, and what they are working on through their… Play Participation in daily routines Participation in adult guided activities
Accountability • How do you know that your program/service implementation is achieving stated/written outcomes? • How do you know if your program is preparing children to be successful in kindergarten? • How do you know that children are making progress/improving developmental outcomes? • Are data summary reports effective in building collaborative relationships with parents?
To demonstrate accountability, first identify • The purpose/mission of your program/service • The outcomes of the program/service implementation • How teachers/service providers are accountable to the work provided • Documentation methods to demonstrate evidence of progress toward and achievement of outcomes
To whom are you accountable? • How do you measure accountability? • Why are you accountable?
We observe everyday, but do we see clearly? Each of us has handled pennies thousands of times. We know what pennies look like. On a piece of paper, jot down your description of a penny.
Focused observations Allows for - • Accuracy • Objectivity Are related to – • Individual child outcomes • Group outcomes
An Observation and Documentation System Is driven by what you want to know and learn Identifies a method of recording observations/evidence Requires a designated time to observe/record Requires a way to organize the documentation – where to keep it, how use it? Requires a time to reflect/review the evidence Finally, requires a designated time to adjust curriculum and implement intervention strategies
Describe your observation and documentation system? What are your challenges to documentation and review?
Documentation Tools MUST BE Easily accessible Efficient Aligned to the assessment tool being used
Documentation Tool Options • Anecdotal Notes • Checklists • Rating Scales • Participation Charts • Running Records • Digital photos, video- and audiotapes of children’s work/skills • Family member completion of assessment questions
Reviewing documentation is thinkingabout what you know about a child (interests, strengths, needs), THEN using that knowledge to complete assessment tools, adjust planning, and activities.
Analyze/Evaluate Data • Review • Determine effectiveness of activity/intervention/lesson plan • Determine child progress – rate assessment tool • Use interpretation to adjust targets, activities, lesson planning • Implement new plan, activities
Implementing an Observation and Documentation System • Observe and document, take notes, videotape • Identify what skills child can do, what is emerging, not do, and what skills are next • Make notes of what skills you need to consult parent and/or colleagues and what other observations you need • Talk with colleagues, parents, others • Review notes, videotape • Formally document on an assessment tool
Analyzing documentation requires a step of what to do next – • Ask yourself - What would you do to build on a child’s strengths and interests and support new learning? (activities, peer support, teacher support, resources) • Then implement the new activities • Observe, document, evaluate
High-quality classroom practices demonstrate
High Quality-Early Childhood Classroom Practices set the path to increasing child outcomes.
“Teaching” in early childhood = Engaging children, observing, and monitoring their progress