This chapter aligns with SLO # 6: describe the observation, assessment, and teaching cycle and used to plan curriculum for all young children.
An effective early learning educator's goal is to provide young children with a safe, nurturing, culturally responsive learning environment that supports individual learning needs. To create and maintain this learning environment, a teacher must understand and have the skills to conduct observations, document those observations, and use assessments as part of their everyday teaching practices, as well as assessments as part of their everyday teaching practices. Chapter 6 will review the importance and skills necessary for using observation, documentation, and assessment in the teaching cycle for early childhood educators to successfully plan individualized and group curriculum.
Key Points from this chapter
Observations allow teachers and families to collaborate to meet children’s needs in curriculum, interactions, and environmental set up.
Young children should not be “tested”. Authentic assessment allows teachers to observe skills, knowledge, and behaviors in a natural manner.
There are many formats and methods to complete observation documentation and to assess and track development over time.
It is important to understand developmental milestones but to also take culture and other variables into account when assessing children.
Observations can assist teachers to create learning activities based on children’s interests and needs while also assisting them to gain proficiency in areas of challenge.
Terminology found throughout this chapter
Authentic Assessment is the evaluation of a child's knowledge, skills and behaviors in a natural, culturally responsive learning environment free from the pressure of testing (preferably conducted in the child's home language).
Formative Assessment ongoing assessment of children's educational development
Observation is the ability to watch someone or something from a non-biased, factual, and free from personal opinion perspective for a period of time to gain purposeful information about that someone or something.
Observation cycle is a process of observing, planning and evaluating child progress shown in a continuous cycle.
Summative assessment is the assessment of a child's achievements over a range of subjects over time by combining appraisal of formative assessments.
Executive Functions are cognitive abilities that assist children to manage impulses and self-regulate, filter out distractions, problem solve, follow sequences, remember and apply rules for different situations and more.
Document any written item that provides information or evidence.
Objective the ability to write factually and without bias.
Scaffolding is the assistance of a teacher in helping a child gain or become more proficient in a skill, knowledge or ability.
Portfolio a collection or body of work that shows a persons ability. A type of authentic assessment.
Subjective in the case of observation documentation is writing observations that have personal feelings, inferences or nonfactual information.
Time Sample also known as a frequency count. A documentation tool that should how frequently a behavior occurs over a period of time.
Event Sample a type of documentation that helps a teacher understand the relationship between a behavior and the event under which the behavior occurs.
Checklist is a document tool that records a child’s skills and abilities.
Rating Scale indicates the degree to which a concept is presented or the frequency that a skill is illustrated.
ABC Chart is an observational tool that allows teachers to record information about behaviors that occur in the classroom.
ZPD is the Zone of Proximal Development. This is a period in which a child is ready to learn with the assistance of scaffolding from a more knowledgeable person.
Active Agent refers to the child acting as their own agent of learning and constructing their own knowledge without influence of adults.
Passive Agent refers to the child’s learning being heavily influenced or supported by the caregiver or environment.