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Early Childhood Assessment: Information for Educators

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Presentation on theme: "Early Childhood Assessment: Information for Educators"— Presentation transcript:

1 Early Childhood Assessment: Information for Educators
Welcome and thank you for participating in this presentation on early childhood assessment designed specifically for educators. Throughout the presentation you will be taken through a series of narrated, informational slides. This presentation is approximately 30 minutes and can be paused at any time. If you need to take a break, you can return to this presentation at a later time by simply returning to the slide that you were on to resume with the presentation.

2 Overview What and why it is important
Early Childhood vs. K-12 assessment Types of child assessment systems Training opportunities Equipment, materials, resources Parent Involvement Role of Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care We know that high-quality early education can have many lasting benefits. Many people are asking important questions about how young children are progressing and learning. The goal of this presentation is to help you better understand how early childhood assessment contributes to high-quality early childhood education. This presentation will inform you about early childhood assessment by explaining what it is and why it is important. We will also explain the differences between early childhood assessment and K-12 assessment, the types of child assessment systems, and training opportunities on early childhood assessment. This presentation will also highlight how to involve parents in the assessments that you do, the materials and resources needed, and the role of the MA Dept. of Early Education and Care.

3 What is Early Childhood Assessment?
Process of observing, recording, and documenting work of children Allows educators to make the best decisions for the child Methods can include standardized tests observations, child portfolios, teacher or parent checklists and child-parent interviews Child screening vs. assessment What is early childhood assessment? The National Association for the Education of Young Children defines early childhood assessment as the process of observing, recording and otherwise documenting the work that children do and how they do it. The data produced from child assessments helps you to better understand the development of a child and therefore make more informed decisions about how to work with that child. Early childhood assessment includes a variety of methods for assessing a child’s growth and development. Including standardized tests where all children are assessed exactly the same, under controlled conditions. Or child observations, individual child portfolios, teacher or parent checklists, and child- parent interviews, all of which engage children in tasks that are personally meaningful in real life situations. Note that “child assessment” is different than “child screening”. The purpose of screening is to check that children are generally on developmental track. The information resulting from the screening process is used to determine if a child needs to be referred for further assessment and support. In contrast, early childhood assessment looks at children’s development in a more nuanced way, and the information is used to shape the curriculum to enhance a child’s learning and to move a child forward in their development

4 Why is Early Childhood Assessment Important?
Increasing attention to how children are progressing Measuring young children’s progress is different from other ages Improves interactions and teaching Identifies children with special needs Why is early childhood assessment important? It is important because there is increasing attention to how children are progressing and measuring young children's progress is different from assessment at other ages. High-quality assessment can also improve the way interactions and teaching happens in early childhood programs. For example, a program might learn through assessment that children can't hold a pencil correctly and then start to focus more on activities where children can practice writing and drawing. In addition, assessment can also help identify children with special needs and provide starting information from which to refer them to specialists to get additional services. 4 4

5 What about a child is assessed?
Emotional/Social: expressing feelings, forming friendships, resolving conflicts with others Language: listening and talking Physical: using pencils (fine motor skills), climbing and running (gross motor skills) Cognitive: numbers, colors, and patterns Approaches to Learning: curiosity and excitement about learning and ways of learning new information What about a child is assessed? Early childhood assessment should look at every aspect of a child’s development including emotional / social, physical, language, cognitive, and their approach to learning. Emotional and social development includes a child’s ability to recognize and express their feelings, form friendships, and resolve conflicts with others. Language development includes how a child listens and the way in which a child is talking. Physical development includes fine motor skills like holding and using scissors and gross motor skills like climbing and riding a tricycle. Cognitive development includes knowledge about numbers, colors and patterns. Approaches to learning is just that – how a child approaches learning and how they learn new information.

6 How does early childhood assessment differ from K-12th grade assessment?
K – 12th grade assessment places emphasis on academic knowledge Early childhood assessment places emphasis on all aspects of a child’s development How does early childhood assessment differ from K-12th grade assessment? Early childhood assessment differs from K-12th grade assessment in a variety of ways. K-12 education assessment emphasizes academic knowledge such as reading and math skills. Early childhood assessment has some focus on age appropriate academic knowledge like numbers and letters, but also looks at the child’s entire development, such as social/emotional and physical development.

7 How does early childhood assessment differ from K-12th grade assessment continued…
K-12th grade assessment uses mainly tests, quizzes and standardized tests. Early childhood assessment uses child observations, developmental checklists and child portfolios Both are used to guide decisions about… Child interventions Resources K-12 education uses information such as tests, quizzes and essays to look at children's progress. Usually this assessment is done at one point in time, like the end of a unit of study. Early childhood uses different types of tools to look at children's growth, like child observations, developmental checklists, child portfolios with examples of children’s work and is done on an ongoing basis (daily/weekly or periodically throughout year). Both early childhood and K-12 assessments guide decisions about child interventions and resources. However K-12 assessment tends to guide decisions about staff training and new programming whereas early childhood assessment focuses more on children's need for additional services and how curriculum might be changed/improved. 7 7

8 Types of Child Assessment Systems
Program-developed child assessment tools Pros Cons Often early childhood educators wonder what the difference is between a program-developed child assessment system and a published (or packaged) child assessment system. And is one is better than another? The next two slides talk about what each one is and their pros and cons. Program-developed assessment systems may use a number of different methods to develop an assessment system, including checklists, child portfolios or observation records. The system is explicitly designed to follow the program’s philosophy and curriculum. The pros of using a program-developed assessment system is that it is aligned with the program’s overall philosophy and curriculum. A program-developed system usually involves all staff in the development and implementation, therefore creating a strong sense of buy-in to use the system. Training on how to use the system is done in-house and requires little money. Programs also don’t have to pay user fees or subscriptions. The cons of using a program-developed assessment tool is that these types of systems are not scientifically-based, meaning that they have not been through a rigorous testing process to validate that what is thought of as being measured on the tool is actually being measured. Because of this, program-developed assessment systems tend to be less credible within the field of education. Program-developed child assessment systems also take many iterations before they are perfected program-wide and are time-consuming to develop.

9 Types of Child Assessment Systems cont…
Published (or packaged) child assessment tools Pros Cons Published child assessment systems are packaged with pre-designed tools covering the development and growth of young children. The pros of using a published child assessment system is that some have gone through the process of being accepted as research or scientifically-based with all domains of early childhood development considered. The tools are pre-designed and ready to use. Electronic or on-line services often accompany published tools to help the user organize and analyze their child assessment data. Some of the online services also are designed to help teachers plan their day, by offering activities based on where the children in the classroom are developmentally. The cons of using a published child assessment system is the expense of purchasing the system and maintaining the system (e.g. for some on-line systems a per child fee exists). Some published systems are online and require Internet access and knowledge of technology to use. Extensive training is typically necessary in order to use the published system effectively. A published system may or may not align precisely with a program’s philosophy or curriculum.

10 Training Opportunities on Early Childhood Assessment
Opportunities for staff to better understand early childhood assessment College courses Training by publishers Offerings through local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency EEC Professional Development calendar: Whether you are new to child assessment or have been doing it for many years, everyone can benefit from further training in child development principles and assessment practices. Here are a few suggestions of places to look for relevant training opportunities. College courses - College courses can provide a foundation in the importance and theory behind early childhood assessment and how it ties in with curriculum. Certain college courses may also spend time on how to align curriculum and assessment. Trainings offered by the tools’ publishers - Training is also offered by the publishers of the various child assessment systems and can include on-site or multi-site training. This type of training is often done over a 2-3 day period and typically includes technical assistance following the training and sometimes a follow-up training once the program has used the assessment system for a period of time. Your local child care resource and referral agency may also offer courses and workshops about child development principles, basics of assessment, and opportunities for practitioners to share best practices. You can also now check the EEC Professional Development calendar at the website listed on the screen for professional development opportunities across the state.

11 Suggested Equipment, Materials, and Resources
Equipment: computer, printer, digital camera, high-speed internet Materials: notebooks for portfolios, photo paper, paper, clip boards, post-it notes Resources: assessment tool-kits, books/articles on early childhood assessment Here are some suggestions of equipment, materials, and resources, that other programs have found useful when implementing a child assessment system. Having appropriate technology is important, especially if the electronic version of the assessment tool is going to be used. Having access to computers with Internet access, printers, and digital cameras, can help staff and providers document the day-to-day progress of children. Certain consumable materials should be available and purchased regularly. Examples include, computer paper, ink, photo paper, notebooks or other containers that hold children’s work and clip boards and post-its to take observations. It is also helpful to have resources like the assessment’s tool-kit and accompanying materials. Books or articles about child assessment that parents and staff can refer to are helpful in gaining insight and understanding into early childhood assessment.

12 How can Parents be Involved in the Early Childhood Assessment Process?
Enrollment On-site developmental screenings Parent Checklists Parent/Teacher conferences Engaging parents in the early childhood assessment process is vital to the success of assessing the growth and development of the whole child. Here are some suggestions to further involve parents in the assessment process. Remember, that screening is different than assessment, but the results of any screenings should be taken into account when you do assessment. First, at the time of enrollment, parents should be asked about their child’s development and any screenings done to date by the child’s physician or an outside agency. Second, your program might offer to have free on-site developmental screenings for children and educate the parents on the importance of early screening and detection of special needs. Third, you can periodically send home parent checklists that enable parents to provide feedback on their child’s development. And Fourth, you can arrange for an annual parent/teacher conference where assessment data is shared with parents. Related to this, your program can offer transitional conferences when a child is making a transition to another classroom, program, or public school. During these conferences you could share the knowledge that you have gained through daily experience and assessment about that child’s development.

13 Universal Pre-Kindergarten Pilot Project Assessment Planning Grants
What is Massachusetts currently doing around early childhood assessment? Universal Pre-Kindergarten Pilot Project Assessment Planning Grants More information: What is Massachusetts currently doing around early childhood assessment? EEC encourages early childhood programs to consider using a child assessment tool to understand and respond to children's learning and progress. Currently one of the requirements for EEC's Universal Pre-Kindergarten program is use of an EEC-selected child assessment tool. EEC also awards assessment planning grants to help programs start using an assessment system. If you are interested in finding out more about the UPK grant program please visit EEC’s website at

14 UPK Eligible Child Assessment Tools
Creative Curriculum’s Developmental Continuum or Work Sampling System High Scope Child Observation Record Ages and Stages Questionnaire More specifically, the four assessment tools approved for the UPK grant are: Creative Curriculum’s Developmental Continuum or Work Sampling High Scope Child Observation Record, and the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. For more information on these individual tools, please click on the attachment tab to the left of this presentation.

15 Dept. of Early Education and Care
In closing… Suggested articles specific to early childhood assessment Contact at the Dept. of Early Education and Care: Jennifer Louis Dept. of Early Education and Care 51 Sleeper St., 4th Floor Boston, MA 02210 (617) In closing, if you click on the attachment tab of this presentation you will also find suggested articles that are specific to early childhood assessment. For more information about what is going on in Massachusetts related to early childhood assessment, please contact Jennifer Louis at the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. We hope that this information about early childhood assessment was useful.

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