Assessment Types of Children in Early Childhood Classrooms
Assessments are crucially important in early childhood education due to the amount of helpful data on children’s development that they provide. Screenings are a form of assessment that involves testing young children’s development with reference to the basic areas of health, such as motor coordination, speech development, cognitive abilities, interpersonal skills, emotional state, ear and eye health, and so on.
In early education, diagnostic assessments are aimed at making reliable conclusions regarding the presence of special learning needs and mainly include team-delivered or objective assessments, such as intelligence tests. Importantly, from the considerations of reliability, diagnostic assessments should include analyzing data coming from multiple sources. The next type, summative assessments, are used to understand learners’ progress over time and summarize information on it. In early childhood classrooms, such assessments are not always administered in the form of tests. Instead, teachers collect the evidence of learning from diverse sources (children’s works, observations, information from parents, etc.) and place it in the context of specific learning outcomes.
Information about young learners can come from three more types of assessments. Different from summative assessments, formative ones take place when students are still learning and may need advice regarding their approaches to tasks and skills to improve. In early education, these assessments exist in totally different forms, including games, observations, surveys to be completed by students’ parents, self-assessment forms, and so on. Formal assessments refer to systematic activities involving recording classroom observations and thoroughly analyzing the results. Informal assessments are more flexible and make use of non-standardized tests, portfolios, questions from teachers, and other methods. In early education settings, formal and informal assessments help to make informed decisions regarding new strategies to support learners’ development.
Parents remain the key representatives of young learners for many years, and it is essential to keep them updated on their children’s academic progress. From my perspective, data from formative assessments and pre-assessments for learning are the types of data that are the most beneficial to share with parents. Regarding pre-assessments, they are implemented to identify children’s unique needs and design instruction according to the results. It goes without saying that parents observe their children in a number of situations and can use this knowledge to comment on the accuracy of pre-assessments and attract teachers’ attention to their children’s unobvious needs. As a result, parents can help to improve the quality of the designed approaches to instruction. Next, data from formative assessments should be shared with parents to make sure that feedback is understood and implemented.
Formative assessments provide meaningful conclusions regarding students’ progress and the skills to be polished. However, due to their age, young students may need help and support at home in order to consider feedback and initiate improvements. Thus, sharing data from formative assessments with parents can be crucial to children’s further success.