Observing Children: A Tool for Assessment

Observing Children: A Tool for Assessment

Observing Children: A Tool for Assessment Chapter 3 Vocabulary Terms Assessment Developmental milestones Anecdotal record Checklist Participation chart

Rating scale Visual documentation Portfolio 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? Assessment The process of observing, recording, and documenting childrens growth and behavior.

To be an authentic assessment, observations must be done over time in play-based situations. Most accurate Comes from the Latin word meaning to sit beside and get to know.

Assessment is not evaluating. Evaluation is the process of reviewing the information and finding value in it. Why Assess? Inform teachers about childrens developmental needs Used in planning developmentally

appropriate curriculum Provides information on each childs unique needs, strengths and interests Chart progress over time Identify classroom and individual problems When to Assess Initial assessment when the school year starts

Ongoing assessments individual children and group 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 Choosing a Method 1. What type of behavior do you want to

assess? 2. Are you needing to assess an individual or group? 3. How much focused attention will the observer need? Assessment Tools Anecdotal records Checklists Participation chart

Rating scales Sample work Anecdotal Records A brief narrative account of a specific incident Simplest form of direct observation Often used to develop an understanding of a childs behavior Must be objective!

Describe only observable actions 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 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 Participation Chart Can be developed to gain information on specific aspects of childrens behavior Rating Scales

Planned to record something specific Make a judgment Never, Sometimes, Usually, Always Work Samples Artwork Stories Photographs Stored in a portfolio Tracks progress over time

Visual Documentation Collecting or photographing samples of a childs work that portrays learning and development Provides a record that can be studied Portfolios A collection of materials that show a persons abilities, accomplishments and

progress over time Include more than observations Art projects, audiotapes of conversations, child-dictated stories Confidentiality Do not discuss a child in a setting outside the classroom Avoid using the childs 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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