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Observation - The Primary Tool in Assessment

by Kay Stritzel Rencken
November/December 1996
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/observation-the-primary-tool-in-assessment/5011250/

"Most teachers want to know more about their students . . . what engages and interests them . . . we want to be more effective" (Ayres, 1993, p. 33). Observing and recording the behaviors of young children on a consistent basis helps to do this. Teachers will never know the complexity of the student but will have pieces of the puzzle - hopefully enough pieces so that a picture of the student emerges. Knowing children provides a way to chart the growth and plan for the learning to come.

Assessment, "the process of observing, recording, and otherwise documenting the work children do and how they do it, as a basis for a variety of educational decisions that affect the child, including planning for groups and individual children and communicating with parents . . . requires teachers to observe and analyze regularly what the children are doing in light of the content goals and the learning processes" (NAEYC, 1992, p. 10). NAEYC also lists the principles that should guide assessment for young children. An early childhood educator needs to be versed in these principles.

Learning to See the Whole Child

Observing young children requires the gathering of evidence of growth in a natural setting. ...

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