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Authentic Assessment for Early Childhood Education EECERA Annual Conference Prague 31 st August 2007 Avril Sweeney, Ireland.

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Presentation on theme: "Authentic Assessment for Early Childhood Education EECERA Annual Conference Prague 31 st August 2007 Avril Sweeney, Ireland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Authentic Assessment for Early Childhood Education EECERA Annual Conference Prague 31 st August 2007 Avril Sweeney, Ireland

2 Presentation overview 1. Key points – Authentic Assessment for Early Childhood Education 2. Authentic Assessment in Action – applying Vygotsky’s messages to assessment practice 3. Images from Kara’s Learning Journey

3 Part 1. Key points – Authentic Assessment for Early Childhood Education  Introduction  Tensions in assessing young children  The influence of Developmental Theory  The emergence of a socio-cultural perspective  The problematic nature of putting theory into practice  Offering an alternative path  Documenting learning and development

4 Part 2. Authentic Assessment in Action Kara’s Learning Journey

5 1. Engage children in conversation  Vygotsky believed that language presents the shared experience necessary for building cognitive development. He viewed having conversations with adults about everyday experiences, family and interests as central to building children’s language, solving problems and interpreting their own experiences.

6 Engage children in conversation  Friends talking and listening interpreting experiences

7 Engage children in conversation  Painting interacting communicating building language

8 2. Utilise the child’s ZPD  Vygotsky placed huge emphasis on the importance of observation and believed that this was the only reliable way a practitioner could assess what was within a child’s ZPD. He believed the adult should act as a scaffold by providing challenging learning opportunities that extend existing knowledge, skills or dispositions.

9 Utilise the child’s ZPD  A problem with names scaffolding joint problem solving

10 Utilise the child’s ZPD  Decisions, decisions expressing ideas making choices following special interests directing own learning

11 3. Plan a meaningful and challenging curriculum  Vygotsky’s theory on the ZPD encourages practitioners to plan a curriculum which is meaningful to the child and follows individual interests and ideas. An environment that facilitates learning in a context that is meaningful to children’s life experiences, optimises learning and development.

12 Plan a meaningful and challenging curriculum  Boats float testing ideas using prior knowledge offering explanations

13 Plan a meaningful and challenging curriculum  Kara had a little lamb developing special interests supporting learning through meaningful experiences

14 4. Encourage children to work together  Vygotsky believed that social and cognitive development worked hand in hand and emphasised the importance of families, communities and other children. Through interaction and conversation they learn about communication, develop ideas, solve problems and negotiate.

15 Encourage children to work together  Does it sink or does it float? taking responsibility communicating scaffolding

16 Conclusion  One of the most useful aspects of Vygotsky’s work to the area of assessment is the concept of the ZPD. Through the observation of children, the practitioner can utilise the ZPD to scaffold children’s progress towards a higher level of learning and development. Vygotsky’s concept on the differing zones of proximal development has the potential to lead authentic assessment techniques and provide a realistic focus for the next steps in teaching and learning. This form of authentic assessment has much to offer early childhood practice whilst maintaining the integrity of a constructivist approach to teaching and learning in early childhood.

17 Part 3. The last word … Images from Kara’s Learning Journey

18 Contacts   Míle Buíochas! (A thousand thanks!)


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