1 Assessment in Preschool and Kindergarten: Strategies that Provide the Most Informative and Reliable Information to Plan Curriculum Appropriate for Each Child Gaye Gronlund, M.A. Early Childhood Education Consultant Tucson, AZ & Traverse City, MI
2 In this workshop, we will Learn about formative and performance-based assessment processes that use teacher observation, documentation, portfolio collection, and summary reporting related to learning goals Review many examples of documentation as well as models for portfolios and summary reports Consider time-efficient strategies for collection of data will be offered And link observation and documentation to curriculum to truly meet the needs of each child
3 Gaye Gronlund I am an early childhood education consultant who works with programs across the country and the author of eight books published by Redleaf Press as well as several articles that have been published in the NAEYC journal, Young Children. I served as the Project Manager for NAEYC for resources related to the third edition of Developmentally Appropriate Practice. I am the creator of Child-Focused Coaching, a new system to help teachers truly individualize and differentiate curriculum for young children. My work focuses on: implementing learning through play and exploration incorporating early learning standards assessing children s progress through observation and portfolios and coaching teachers to implement more individualized curriculum
4 Resources by Gaye Gronlund available from or Planning for Play, Observation, and Learning in Preschool and Kindergarten Developmentally Appropriate Play: Guiding Young Children to Higher Levels (with parent brochure, Why Children Play) Developmentally Appropriate Play Stories Volume 1 (an interactive video program) Make Early Learning Standards Come Alive 2 nd edition: Connecting Your Practice and Curriculum to State Guidelines Focused Observations 2 nd edition: How to Observe Young Children for Assessment and Curriculum Planning (coauthor, Marlyn James) Focused Portfolios: A Complete Assessment for the Young Child (coauthor, Bev Engel) Early Learning Standards and Staff Development: Best Practices in the Face of Change (coauthor, Marlyn James) Produced the CD-Rom accompanying Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs, 3 rd Edition, NAEYC and the DVDs, The New Developmentally Appropriate Practice, DAP and Intentionality and DAP and Play
5 Recommendations for Assessment in Early Childhood Early Childhood Curriculum, Assessment, and Program Evaluation, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS/SDE) 2003 identifies the indicators of effectiveness regarding assessment in the early childhood years Position Statement adopted 2009: Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8 National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) - Policy Report 2014 Formative Assessment: Guidance for Early Childhood Policymakers by Shannon Riley-Ayers Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO)
6 Assessing Children s Progress Towards Standards or Goals Authentically, authentically, authentically! By gathering information through observation and work sampling By evaluating that information using standards as the reference by which the child s accomplishments are measured
7 The recommendations support observation that is criterion-referenced. How do teachers do that? By observing children and relating those observations to standards or curriculum goals. By using observations to guide instruction.
8 Teachers Get to Know Children Well by Observing Them in Action Teachers observe children ALL of the time. They watch them using their sense of sight. They listen. They have a 6 th sense about what s going on. They use their sense of touch. They care deeply about each child.
9 When do you observe & document? In the moment as you interact with the children and/or families Out of the action In reflection, after the fact TAKE FIVE!
10 Teachers can focus their observations in many different ways They can focus on one child or a small group of children They can focus on a domain or area of learning (such as fine motor or math) They can focus on a specific benchmark (such as pencil grasp or recognition of shapes) They can focus on an area of the classroom or a specific activity
11 When teachers observe and document, what should they write? The facts what they see & hear, what the child does & says. Not interpretations not what they think about the facts (until they ve collected enough to support their interpretation!).
12 Writing Anecdotes Words & Phrases to Avoid The child loves The child likes He or she enjoys She or he spends a long time at It seems like It appears I felt I wonder She or he does very well He or she is bad at This is difficult for... Words & Phrases to Use She or he often chooses I saw her I heard him say She or he spends five minutes doing She or he said Almost every day he Once or twice a month, she Each time, he She consistently We observed a pattern of
13 Practical Ways to Document Observations Sticky notes Clipboards with address labels Forms to list all of the children s names Binders or notebooks with a section per child File folders with sticky notes or index cards
14 Forms to list all of the children s names Quick Check Recording Sheets Small Group Observation Forms Brief Notes Recording Sheets All from Focused Observations 2 nd ed. (Gronlund and James, 2013,
15 HOW MANY OBSERVATIONS? HOW MUCH DOCUMENTATION? Consider building an assessment portfolio with 5-7 observations that address all of the domains. Teachers observe and document in this way two to three times per year so they can compare and show progress.
16 Portfolios A portfolio is an important tool for communicating not only about a child s learning You are providing evidence to support your conclusions about the child s strengths, skills, and capabilities You can download this form at Play-Observation-and-Learning-in- Preschool-and-Kindergarten-P794.aspx
17 Assessment Portfolios More than a scrapbook or collection of children s work More than a photo album An assessment portfolio is a representation of what you are learning about each child s performance in selected domains. You can t reasonably evaluate every indicator within every domain!
18 What to Save in a Portfolio A selection of observation notes tied to early learning indicators, IEP goals, and curricular expectations Some observation notes may be brief, checklist kind of information. Some observation notes should be factual and detailed descriptions of what the child did and/or said. Additional information to support the observation notes such as photos of the child demonstrating the goal, and work samples that show the child s performance The items in the portfolio should represent the child s typical work (not only the best or worst). However, you can always include some shining moments to show particular progress or unique ways the child is demonstrating his/her learning. Collect these items at least twice a year so they can be compared for progress
19 Consider collecting the following portfolio items for preschool & kindergarten children Writing samples Responses to reading experiences Mathematical problem/solving Creations that require mathematical understanding (patterning, geometrical creations) Scientific explorations Self-reflections Art/Drawing samples
20 Communicating with Families The goal is to summarize the child s performance (not to share every single indicator assessed) Where is the child successful? Where has progress been made? What are your plans for next steps? Sharing portfolio items has the most meaning for families They see their child in action a window into their child s time with you in your program They connect developmental progress to what their child does in every day routines, play, interactions and activities
24 Claudia, a young 4-year-old Language Observation: Claudia is playing in the dramatic play area talking on the telephone. She says, Hi Grandma. I m going to Tucson with my family my mom and dad and my sister. And we are going to stay in a hotel with a swimming pool! She then goes to the art table and selects several colored markers and draws a picture. As she shows me her picture, she says, Look. It s my family in a rainbow. Social-Emotional Observation: Claudia has become more comfortable separating from her parents at dropoff time. Today, she comforts Emilia, who cries after her mom leaves. Claudia says, It s okay. Mommy s coming back. She looks at me and says, Mommy always comes back, right, Michelle? I smile and nod yes. Claudia gently puts her arm around Emilia and says, I miss my mom. But see. I m not crying. At pickup time Claudia tells Emilia s mom, Emilia was crying for you, but I told her you would come back. Gross Motor Observation: Claudia plays on the climbing equipment with two boys. All three of them are growling and roaring. Claudia climbs easily up the ladder to the platform. One boy says, Okay, I m the baby jaguar. He paws the air in front of Claudia. She responds by saying, Now there are two baby jaguars! She moves quickly around the platform, jumps on the slide, and slides down. Then she runs around and climbs back up again.
25 More Claudia Anecdotes Literacy/Writing Observation: Today, at the writing table, Claudia made the attached. I observed that she used her right hand in a correct pincer grasp. When I asked her to tell me about it, she said, Look, I wrote M for my Mom. Mathematical Problem-Solving Observation: For the past two weeks Claudia has chosen to play with the pattern blocks. Today, she connected two sets of designs with many yellow hexagons. Her dad arrived to take her home. Dada, come see what I m doing, she said. She undid her work and redid it exactly the way it was.
26 Summarizing Claudia s Progress What are her growth and accomplishments in each domain? What would your next steps be for her in each domain? What will you continue to work on with her?
27 To review Teachers observe children all the time in everyday, authentic experiences The best assessment process in early childhood is systematic, on-going observational assessment Teachers document factual observations and link them to early learning standards and curriculum goals
28 What they have to figure out is when and how to document what they observe For more ideas about time-efficient observation and documentation methods check out my book Focused Observations, 2 nd Edition.
29 Quick Check Recording Sheet Date and Activity Date and Activity Date and Activity Date and Activity Children s Names From Focused Observations: How to Observe Young Children for Assessment and Curriculum Planning, Second Edition by Gaye Gronlund and Marlyn James, Published by Redleaf Press, This page may be reproduced for individual or classroom use only.
30 Brief Notes Recording Sheet Children s Names Date and Activity From Focused Observations: How to Observe Young Children for Assessment and Curriculum Planning, Second Edition by Gaye Gronlund and Marlyn James, Published by Redleaf Press, This page may be reproduced for individual or classroom use only.
31 Small-Group Observation Form Date Activity: Goal(s): Child s Name: Child s Name: Child s Name: Child s Name: Child s Name: Child s Name: Child s Name: Child s Name: Child s Name: Child s Name: Child s Name: Child s Name: From Focused Observations: How to Observe Young Children for Assessment and Curriculum Planning, Second Edition by Gaye Gronlund and Marlyn James, Published by Redleaf Press, This page may be reproduced for individual or classroom use only.
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