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Observing Children: A Tool for Assessment

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1 Observing Children: A Tool for Assessment
Chapter 3

2 Vocabulary Terms Assessment Developmental milestones Anecdotal record
Checklist Participation chart Rating scale Visual documentation Portfolio

3 Quote “Observation more than books, experience more than persons, are the prime educators.” – Amos Bronson Alcott What meaning does this quote have for you as you begin your study of the importance of observation in early childhood education?

4 Assessment The process of observing, recording, and documenting children’s growth and behavior. Comes from the Latin word meaning to sit beside and get to know. To be an authentic assessment, observations must be done over time in play-based situations. Most accurate Assessment is not evaluating. Evaluation is the process of reviewing the information and finding value in it.

5 Why Assess? Inform teachers about children’s developmental needs
Used in planning developmentally appropriate curriculum Provides information on each child’s unique needs, strengths and interests Chart progress over time Identify classroom and individual problems

6 When to Assess Initial assessment – when the school year starts
Ongoing assessments – individual children and group

7 Formal vs. Informal Observation
Formal include standardized tests and research instruments Developmental milestones – characteristics and behaviors considered normal for children in specific age groups Also called emerging competencies Informal observations most often used by preschool teachers. Samples of work, interviewing parents, talking with childrne

8 Choosing a Method What type of behavior do you want to assess?
Are you needing to assess an individual or group? How much focused attention will the observer need?

9 Assessment Tools Anecdotal records Checklists Participation chart
Rating scales Sample work

10 Anecdotal Records A brief narrative account of a specific incident
Simplest form of direct observation Often used to develop an understanding of a child’s behavior Must be objective! Describe only observable actions

11 Anecdotal Records Once you observe, then you can interpret (the whys)
Advantages Easiest method of observation Running record over time Disadvantages A complete picture may not be provided May miss important information

12 Checklists Designed to record the presence or absence of behaviors
Advantages No time constraints Quickly recorded Easy to use Disadvantages Lack of detailed information Only particular behaviors are noted

13 Participation Chart Can be developed to gain information on specific aspects of children’s behavior

14 Rating Scales Planned to record something specific Make a judgment
Never, Sometimes, Usually, Always

15 Work Samples Artwork Stories Photographs Stored in a portfolio
Tracks progress over time

16 Visual Documentation Collecting or photographing samples of a child’s work that portrays learning and development Provides a record that can be studied

17 Portfolios A collection of materials that show a person’s abilities, accomplishments and progress over time Include more than observations Art projects, audiotapes of conversations, child- dictated stories

18 Confidentiality Do not discuss a child in a setting outside the classroom Avoid using the child’s name (give a letter or #) Leave personal items out of observation area (kids are curious!) Engage in as little interaction as possible with staff, other observers and especially the children

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