Current Issues and Trends in Assessment in Early Childhood Education

7 July 2016

?Current Issues and Trends in Assessment in Early Childhood Education The 1980s brought a new reform movement in education, accompanied by a new emphasis on testing. The effort to improve education at all levels included the use of standardized tests to provide accountability for what students are learning. Minimum competency tests, achievement tests, and screening instruments were used to ensure that students from preschool through college reached the desired educational goals and achieved the minimum standards of education that were established locally or by the state education agency.

As we continue in a new century, these concerns have increased. Trends in a New Century In the 1990s many schools improved the learning environment and achievement for all children; nevertheless, a large percentage of schools were still low performing in 2000 and 2001. Inadequate funding, teacher shortages, teachers with inadequate training, aging schools, and poor leadership affected quality education (Wortham, 2002). During the 2000 presidential campaign, candidate George W. Bush named quality education as one of the goals of his presidency.

Current Issues and Trends in Assessment in Early Childhood Education Essay Example

After his election, President Bush worked for legislation that would improve education for all children. After months of dialogue and debate, Congress passed a new education actin December 2001. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), signed into law onJanuary 8, 2002, had an impact on testing required by individual states. In addition to other provisions, all states were required to administer tests developed by the state and to set and monitor adequate yearly progress (Moscosco, 2001; Wortham, 2002).

Former President Bush was also committed to strengthening early childhood programs. In 2002, several projects were conducted to support early childhood programs. Under the Sunshine Schools program, the U. S. Department of Education focused on what is working in early childhood education and gave attention to highly effective state, district, city, county, and campus programs (Grissom, personal communication, April 4, 2002). Another Bush initiative, Good Start, Grow Smart, was intended to strengthen Head Start and improve the quality of experiences for children.

The initiative provided the following: Training for nearly 50,000 Head Start teachers in the best techniques Assurance that preschool programs are more closely coordinated with K–12 educational programs A research effort to identify effective early literacy programs and practices (Grissom, personal communication, April 4, 2002). The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 NCLB requires states to do the following: Provide public school choice and supplemental services for students in failing schools as early as fall 2002.

Integrate scientifically based reading research into comprehensive instruction for young children. Set and monitor adequate yearly progress, based on baseline 2001–2002 data. Issue annual report cards on school performance and statewide test results by 2002–2003. Implement annual, standards-based assessments in reading and math for grades 3 to 8 by 2005–2006. Assure that all classes are taught by a qualified teacher by 2005–2006. 10 Selected Emerging Trends and Issues in Early Childhood Education. 1). A reevaluation of the view that early childhood education is a panacea 2).

Greater emphasis on planned continuity between kindergartens and the primary grades 3). Increased use of multi-age grouping 4). Need for parenthood education in the high school 5). Importance of parent involvement in the decision making and policy formation processes concerning the education of his child and the implementation of classroom programs 6). Wider acceptance of the structured or prepared environment in programs 7). Development of a quality day care environment based on careful research and evaluation 8). Importance of humanistic or affective education 9).

Need for aesthetic education (music, dance, literature, dramatics) in the total education of the child 10). Accountability of teachers to the consumer as well as to the school boards. Multiple Intelligences According to MI Theory, identifying each student’s intelligences has strong ramifications in the classroom. If a child’s intelligence can be identified, then teachers can accommodate different children more successfully according to their orientation to learning. Teachers in traditional classrooms primarily teach to the verbal/linguistic and mathematical/logical intelligences.

The nine intelligences are: 1. VISUAL/SPATIAL – children who learn best visually and organizing things spatially. They like to see what you are talking about in order to understand. They enjoy charts, graphs, maps, tables, illustrations, art, puzzles, costumes – anything eye catching. 2. VERBAL/LINGUISTIC – children who demonstrate strength in the language arts: speaking, writing, reading, listening. These students have always been successful in traditional classrooms because their intelligence lends itself to traditional teaching. 3.

MATHEMATICAL/LOGICAL – children who display an aptitude for numbers, reasoning and problem solving. This is the other half of the children who typically do well in traditional classrooms where teaching is logically sequenced and students are asked to conform. 4. BODILY/KINESTHETIC – children who experience learning best through activity: games, movement, hands-on tasks, building. These children were often labeled “overly active” in traditional classrooms where they were told to sit and be still! 5. MUSICAL/RHYTHMIC – children who learn well through songs, patterns, rhythms, instruments and musical expression.

It is easy to overlook children with this intelligence in traditional education. 6. INTRAPERSONAL – children who are especially in touch with their own feelings, values and ideas. They may tend to be more reserved, but they are actually quite intuitive about what they learn and how it relates to themselves. 7. INTERPERSONAL – children who are noticeably people oriented and outgoing, and do their learning cooperatively in groups or with a partner. These children may have typically been identified as “talkative” or ” too concerned about being social” in a traditional setting.

8. NATURALIST – children who love the outdoors, animals, field trips. More than this, though, these students love to pick up on subtle differences in meanings. The traditional classroom has not been accommodating to these children. 9. EXISTENTIALIST – children who learn in the context of where humankind stands in the “big picture” of existence. They ask “Why are we here? ” and “What is our role in the world? ” This intelligence is seen in the discipline of philosophy. Developing Multiple Intelligences in Young Learners By Connie Hine

Current research on the brain, learning and human intelligence from a variety of disciplines, including medicine, cognitive sciences, and education has provided information with profound implications to education. This research is challenging and stretches the traditional approaches to education and teaching, particularly with regard to the ability to learn, human intelligence, and how efficient learning occurs. Intelligence—What Is It? The traditional theory of intelligence has two fundamental assumptions: 1. that human cognition is unitary; and 2.

that individuals can be adequately described as having a single, quantifiable intelligence. The traditional theory of intelligence has helped create a mindset or paradigm as to what “smart” or “intelligent” is, who has potential or ability to be smart, and how we can or cannot become smart. This has clearly influenced current educational practices. It is still common educational practice to use the score from standardized intelligence tests to qualify children for various special programs. It is assumed these tests measure intelligence accurately and meaningfully.

Current research indicates that the only limit to one’s intelligence is what the individual believes is possible and how his or her behaviors either foster or limit his or her intelligence. Research also indicates that intelligence is not a static structure that can be measured and meaningfully quantified, but an open, dynamic system that can continue to develop throughout life. Through his work and studies, Reuven Feuerstein, an Israeli psychologist and educator, has developed a theory of the “Modifiability of Intelligence.

” He has linked the importance of how teachers, through facilitating learning experiences, impact the quality of learning and influence the potential intelligence of each student. Feuerstein’s educational approach focuses on the quality of interaction between the teacher and the learner, which he calls Mediated Learning Experiences (MLE). He has successfully demonstrated how, through systematic and planned enrichment, intelligence can be modified, expanded, and developed. (Feuerstein, 1988). The Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Supporting the new paradigm of intelligence, Howard Gardner of Project Zero at Harvard University has determined that intelligence is a pluralistic phenomenon, rather than a static structure with a single type of intelligence. Gardner defines intelligence as: the ability to solve problems that one encounters in real life; the ability to generate new problems to solve; the ability to make something or offer a service that is valued within one’s culture. In his cross-cultural exploration of the ways in which people are intelligent, he has identified seven distinct types of intelligences: Verbal/Linguistic

Logical/Mathematical Musical Visual/Spatial Body/Kinesthetic Interpersonal Intrapersonal According to Gardner’s theory, one form of intelligence is not better than another; they are equally valuable and viable (Gardner, 1983). Yet, he discovered that different cultures are biased towards and against certain types of intelligences. These biases, added to the traditional theory of intelligence, have limited our development of curricula, instructional strategies, and current methods of assessment-including how we measure intelligence.

Recent brain/mind research and new theories of human intelligence redirect our attention in three specific areas-first, on the environmental conditions and messages we provide children; second, on the kind of support and relationships we develop between caregivers, educators, and children; and third, on the need to match what we know about the ways kids are intelligent and learn with teaching strategies designed to maximize the full development of each individual child.

A Useful Model Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory is a very useful model for developing a systematic approach to nurturing and teaching children and honoring their individual needs and strengths within a classroom setting. The theory of Multiple Intelligences includes the notion that each person is smart in all seven types of intelligence. Every person is smart to varying degrees of expertise in each of the intelligences, stronger in some ways and less developed in others.

Heredity and genetics influence the way the brain is neurologically “wired” before birth and are contributing factors that determine the strongest and/or most favored types of intelligence. This is often seen in children with very strong and overt talents demonstrated at very young ages, such as Mozart, who had started to play and compose music by age five. By broadening our view of intelligence, and valuing and nurturing abilities other than mathematics and reading, we can open doors by using the strengths of children as a means of complementing their less developed areas.

Characteristics of Multiple Intelligences The following descriptions can be helpful to identify basic personal characteristics, traits, behaviors, and preferences for each of the seven intelligences. Remember, we are all intelligent to varying degrees in all seven ways. Each person has a unique profile. You may be very strong in one or two intelligences, medium in a few, and perhaps weak or empty (not yet filled) in one or two. Consequently, you may have four or five intelligences that are equally developed and two that are less developed.

The important thing is to identify and build on one’s strengths to modify and increase the less developed intelligences in ourselves and in children. 1) Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence—”The Writer/Orator/Attorney” People with high verbal/linguistic intelligence love words. They prefer to process information through words and language versus pictures. They may prefer oral or written methods, or excel in both. Additional characteristics include the following: Sensitive to the meaning, order, and sound of words Uses varied language Avid talkers; good speakers Likes to explain, convince, and persuade through words

Enjoys and excels at word games Enjoys listening to, telling, and reading stories Enjoys rhymes and poetry Has good memory recall for names and dates 2) Logical/Mathematical Intelligence—”The Scientist/Philosopher” People with high logical/mathematical intelligence create order out of chaos by analyzing, grouping, and categorizing. They recognize relationships, connections, and patterns more easily than people with less logical intelligence. Additional characteristics include the following: Ability to handle long chains of reasoning Likes reasons for doing things Possesses good inductive and deductive reasoning

Quick to learn equivalencies Asks “why” and “how” questions Solves problems rapidly Likes to predict, analyze, and theorize Enjoys dealing with abstraction Strong at math and problem solving skills Sequential thinker Enjoys board games and games with rules 3) Musical Intelligence—”The Entertainer/Musician” People with high musical intelligence learn best through sound, rhythm, and music. These people learn better when music is playing and through musical metaphors. Additional characteristics include the following: Ability to perceive pitch, tone, and rhythmic pattern Well developed auditory sense and discrimination

Ability to create, organize rhythmically, and compose music Picks up and creates melodies/rhythm easily Remembers songs easily Ability to sing or play instruments Sensitive and drawn to sounds Possesses “schemas” for hearing music Constantly humming, tapping, and singing 4) Visual/Spatial Intelligence—”The Architect/Engineer/ Sculptor” People with high visual intelligence process information best using pictures, visuals, and imagery. They have a sense of direction and an ability to think and plan in three dimensions. Additional characteristics include the following: Ability to create complex mental images

Active imagination Ability to find their way mentally and physically around environment Ability to see the physical world accurately and translate it into new forms Ability to see things in relationship to others Ability to use “mind maps” Uses imagery and guided visualizations Likes visual support-video, pictures, photos, charts, posters Organizes space, objects, and areas Enjoys designing and decorating 5) Body/Kinesthetic Intelligence—”The Athlete/ Dancer/Actor/Surgeon” People with high kinesthetic intelligence process information through their bodies-through muscle, sensation, and movement.

Their bodies are their avenue to learning and understanding any content or subject and is also their preferred form of self-expression. Additional characteristics include the following: A fine-tuned ability to use the body and handle objects (fine and gross motor) Ability to express emotions through bodily movement Enjoys physical movement and dance Constant movement-likes to get up and move around Commitment to comfort Uses body to accomplish a task Experiences a strong mind/body connection Expands awareness through the body Experiences a total physical response

Often good at creative drama 6) Interpersonal Intelligence—”The Counselor/Minister/Teacher” People with high interpersonal intelligence process information through relatedness to others. They are “people” people. It is in relationship to and with other people that they best understand themselves and the world. Additional characteristics include the following: Ability to notice and discern subtleties among others, such as moods, temperaments, and feelings Discerns underlying intentions, behavior, and perspectives Easily makes friends and enjoys the company of others

Ability to get into the perspective of another Responds to verbal and nonverbal communications-facial cues and body movements Recognizes and empathizes with others’ feelings Ability to negotiate and handle conflict resolution Works cooperatively in a group Works well with a diverse group of people Good communication skills Loves to talk and influence 7) Intrapersonal Intelligence—”The Poet/Efficiency Expert” People with high intrapersonal intelligence have a strong sense of themselves, their wants, and needs. They are self reflective and in touch with themselves.

They may be the nonconformist individuals who march to their own drummer. Additional characteristics include the following: Well developed sense of self Awareness and expression of different feelings Self reflection and mindfulness Ability to think about thinking (i. e. , metacognition) Transpersonal sense of self. Asks big questions—”Why are we here? ” and “What happens when we die? ” Often is a daydreamer Often writes introspectively including prose, poetry, or journal writing Excellent self planners and good at goal setting

Enjoys solitude and likes to think alone Good understanding of strengths and weaknesses Enjoys self discovery Teaching Tools and Strategies Reflect on and identify your own strengths and intelligences which are less developed. Identify the strengths and “empties” of the children, too. You may begin to notice patterns and correlations between the strengths you enjoy or are less comfortable with in the children and your own strengths and empties. Are the children’s strengths the same as yours or are they most intelligent in a way you are least intelligent?

We naturally rely on and use teaching strategies that match our strongest intelligences. Our strengths, therefore, create unconscious teaching biases. When we identify our own less developed intelligences, we may notice that we are untrained in or have avoided using the teaching strategies best designed for developing that intelligence in children. Therefore, it becomes our responsibility first to identify our own strengths and weaknesses and then to stretch and continue our lifelong learning process by developing our own intelligences.

Only then can we incorporate teaching strategies which support all seven intelligences and meet the needs of all children. Environmental Strategies to Support Multiple Intelligences Because circle time and whole group instruction activities dictate that we do the same thing with all or most of the children at the same time, these activities are among the least effective strategies for meeting the diverse needs and intelligences of young children. Group activities often favor a teacher’s strengths while meeting the strengths of only a few of the children.

The most significant modification we can make to meet diverse needs is to reduce the use of circle time and replace it by incorporating and using well-planned learning stations or centers where children can spend most of their day. Learning stations are temporary activity locations where materials are put out and later put away, usually by an adult. Learning centers are permanent locations, visually and spatially defined areas, ideally three-sided, where materials are organized by subject and available for children to select independently. Active Learning Centers for Multiple Intelligences

The following suggested learning centers foster the development of each intelligence and allow children opportunities to build on and expand their strengths. Verbal/Linguistic Library or book-nook Story time Writing center Listening center Flannel board station Publishing center Logical/Mathematical Math center Science center Take-apart center Puzzle center Recycling center Weather station Computer center (e. g. , logical thinking, sequential software) Cooking center Musical Music center Instrument center Singing circle Listening center Background music Nature sounds

Visual/Spatial Art center (e. g. , sculpting dough, collage, painting, drawing) Manipulatives (e. g. , 3-D manipulatives, visual puzzles) Block center, Media center (e. g. , videos, slides, photos, charts) Computer center (e. g. , visual design and layout software) Kinesthetic Gross motor center (e. g. , open space for creative movement, climbing structure, mini-trampoline) Dance circle Woodworking center Manipulative center Take-apart center Imaginative-play center Playground/outdoor play Tactile-learning center (e. g. , sandpaper letters, sample textures and cloth)

Interpersonal Puppet theater Dramatic play center Sharing/social area Group discussion area Small group area Cooking center Intrapersonal Lofts One-person centers & stations Life skills/self-help center Computer center (e. g. , self-paced software) Teaching Tools and Strategies The following are activities and strategies that can help us strengthen and support the development of each of our intelligences. When we begin systematically to implement these multiple strategies to teach any subject, concept, or activity, we will naturally meet the individual needs of more children.

As Colin Rose states, “The more ways you teach, the more people you reach. ” Verbal/Linguistic Activities Reading, Improving vocabulary, Emergent /creative writing, Writing and reading reports/essays, Taking and giving dictation, Giving and listening to verbal instructions (oral and/or written), Lecturing o Impromptu speaking, Story telling, Dialogue and discussion, Debate, Publishing, Telling jokes, Listening to tapes, Doing crossword puzzles, Keeping a diary or journal Logical/Mathematical Activities

Sorting and classifying objects or ideas, Taking apart or fixing things, Solving math problems, Solving mysteries, riddles, puzzles, and word problems, Exploring, Outlining, Grouping and calculating activities, Creating timelines and sequences, Comparing and contrasting, Experiences that demonstrate change over time (e. g.

, before/after), Using symbols and formulas, Playing pattern games, Socratic questioning-especially open-ended and “what if” questions Musical Activities Listening to background, instrumental, or environmental music, Unison recall activities, Giving or listening to musical performances, Singing, Clapping and slapping memory games, Rhythm, chants, and rap, Setting new ideas to familiar tunes, Using musical instruments, Composing music Body/Kinesthetic Activities

Role playing/drama, Playing sports, Playing physical games such as Pictionary™ or Charades, Dancing, Miming, Using physical gestures, Physical exercise, “Hands-on” activities, Changing seats and moving to different learning stations/centers, Creating new room rearrangements, Standing or moving while listening, Learning a topic or idea with a physical gesture associated, Taking things apart and tinkering, Finger writing on palms or back Visual/Spatial Activities

Using guided imagery, Playing with patterns and designs, Mind-mapping, Taking pictures/photos, Drawing/painting/sculpting, Watching and making videos, Creating charts and graphs, Using color cues and organizers, Circle/line dancing, Changing teaching locations, Rearranging the room to suit the subject or project, Giving or taking visual/spatial instructions Interpersonal Activities

Cooperative learning, Working with a partner, Group projects and games, Creative drama/role playing, Simulation, Practicing empathy, Win/win competition, Peer teaching and buddy systems, Subject drills with partners, Quizzing each other, Discussion, Getting and giving feedback Intrapersonal Activities Guided imagery, Thinking about how to solve a task/problem, Meditation, Journal writing, Self assessment, Personal contracts and goal-setting, Silent reflection and review time for recall or thinking about what has been learned, Emotional processing, Focusing/concentrating, Higher-order reasoning tasks, Time to be alone, Providing choices

Multi-age classroom Multi-age classrooms or composite classes are classrooms with students from more than one grade level. They are created when either there are too many students for one class – but not enough to form two classes of the same grade level, or as an educational choice by the school. Composite classes are more common in smaller schools; an extreme form is the one-room school. Studies of the performance of students in composite classes shows their academic performance is not substantially different from those in single-grade classrooms; instead, outcomes tend to be a function of the teacher’s performance Prevalence

Social benefits often cited are: Older children in a composite class get more leadership opportunities and frequently build self-esteem as a sort or role model to the younger class mates. Younger children aspire to do work like the older children in the class. There were also social benefits in that my children experienced mixing with a wider range of children than they would have otherwise and that they developed both leadership experiences as seniors and when appropriate benefited from mentoring from older peers.

The ability for a child to be educated by the one teacher for two years, creating a stronger relationship[7] Educational benefits often cited are: Because literacy and numeracy is taught in ability groups, teachers need heightened awareness of individual student’s capabilities – they must think of children as individuals. [6] The techniques of classroom teaching and of individual teaching can be still applied. Learning by teaching occurs when students at different stages of learning can help each other with their work; children resolve differences in understanding of material.

[8][9] Composite classes provide a range of levels of work, so the needs of both talented children and slower learners can be catered for, while providing a supportive environment for both At any one time, both composite and single-level classes have groups of students at a variety of levels. This is part of the normal delivery of the curriculum. Education expectations are set at curriculum levels which span across two years. Contemporary teaching and learning materials are developed for multi-age classes.

By using them, teachers can introduce core concepts to the whole classroom, and then differentiate instruction for the range of learners in the classroom. Culture in the Classroom By Alison Levy For a number of years teachers have become more interested in multicultural education, with the assumption that such approaches help children feel more welcomed, validated, integrated, and able to cooperate with others in their classroom (Allen, McNeill, & Schmidt, 1992; Bredenkamp, 1986; Byrnes & Kiger, 1992; Gollnick & Chin, 1994).

In my experience, in addition to these benefits, exposing young children to different cultures makes for a fun and exciting learning environment! There are four main approaches to teaching young children about different cultures. These are multicultural education, anti-bias curriculum, global education, and international education. Multicultural Education Patty Ramsey (1987) defined multicultural education as a perspective which: ? “encompasses many dimensions of human difference besides culture, such as race, occupation, socioeconomic status, age, gender, sexual orientation, and various physical traits and needs;

? is relevant to all children, even those who live in homogeneous areas; and ? extends beyond the boundaries of this country to beliefs and attitudes about people all over the world”. In practice this means that if your class includes a variety of cultures or abilities, the group spends time learning about and cultivating an understanding of those unique features. The teacher pays careful attention to the types of literature available to the children and to the activities presented, while also encouraging children to cooperate.

If there is little diversity within the group, the teacher presents many different cultural practices during the school year. For example, in many classrooms December is spent on the theme “Christmas around the world. ” The overall goal is to expose children to differences at an early age so that they can begin to appreciate and value them rather than to dismiss them. Peer Tutoring/teaching Strategies Peer tutoring is an intervention in which students work in pairs to master academic skills or content.

Peer tutoring can involve partners who are the same age or different ages (cross-age). Cross-age peer tutoring involves older students serving as tutors for younger, lower-functioning students. Cross-age tutoring occurs, for example, when students in a high school child development class spend regularly scheduled time each week reading with struggling students in a fourth grade class. In this instance, the tutors might be expected to gain less from the content being tutored but may be expected to gain more in social responsibility or understanding of learning as a process.

In same-age tutoring, in which students of the same age tutor each other, more skilled students may be paired with less skilled students. In this case, students with stronger skills may provide the first responses, providing a model for the less skilled partner. In other cases, the teacher may decide to pair students of similar ability and have those alternate tutoring roles, which are sometimes referred to as reciprocal peer tutoring. Class-wide Peer Tutoring (CWPT) occurs when the teacher creates highly structured tutoring materials for use during the tutoring session.

Peer tutoring is differentiated from tutoring between adults, such as community volunteers, and students. It is also distinguished from cooperative learning, in which students work collaboratively in groups. The instructional components of the peer tutoring model include: a) Explicit teaching of students in how to be tutoring experts b) Purposeful partner assignment c) Careful preparation of tutoring materials d) Highly structured tutoring procedures that include specific feedback for tutors to provide tutees e) Expert role reversal, and

f) Active teacher monitoring Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) is one peer tutoring activity that has been researched for grades kindergarten through 12. This tutoring program is designed to help students improve in reading and other academic skill areas. The steps to the program for reading are: (a) Predicting b) partner reading c) Retelling d) summarizing . . INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW What is Emergent Literacy? Over the past ten years, the concept of emergent literacy has gradually replaced the notion of reading readiness.

Consequently, it has a significant impact on the way we approach the teaching of literacy in early childhood programs. The theory of emergent literacy developed from research in the fields of child development, psychology, education, linguistics, anthropology, and sociology. It virtually redefined the field of literacy and made educators, teachers, and parents aware that the term reading readiness no longer adequately describes what is happening in the literacy development of young children (Teale, 1986).

Reading readiness suggests that there is a point in time when a child is ready to begin to learn to read and write. In contrast, emergent literacy suggests that the development of literacy is taking place within the child. It also suggests that it is a gradual process and will take place over time. For something to emerge it needs to be there at the beginning (the child’s own natural learning ability), and things usually only emerge under the right conditions (Hall, 1987).

Literacy refers to the interrelatedness of language–speaking, listening, reading, writing, and viewing. Traditionally we have viewed reading and writing as processes that were difficult for children to learn. Children were considered knowledgeable about literacy only when their reading and writing approximated adults’ reading and writing. Children who could identify written words without picture clues were considered readers. Similarly, children who could spell words so that adults could read the

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