Observation and Assessment
By Rhonda Crabbs
Shade Tree Learning
Where learning is fun, no matter what your age!
301 Linda Dr.
Burelson, TX 76028
Observing Children: A Tool for Assessment
After this self-study class you will be able to:
1. List purposes of assessment
2. Contrast initial and ongoing assessments
3. List the factors to consider in choosing a method of assessment
4. Compile a list of contents for a child’s portfolio
Just ask any mother or father if they enjoy watching their children play and you will get a
definite yes. Young children are fascinating to watch. A child’s awkward attempts to try
new skills or early efforts at conversation can be captivating. Observing children is
something that everyone enjoys doing, but it can be more important than that. The
observations of children are one of the oldest and best methods for learning about
individual children. Most of what we know now about child growth and development is
the result of some type of child observation. Most of children’s behaviors and
personality traits cannot be measured in any other way. For example, a one year old
cannot answer questions orally or in writing.
As you work with and teach children, most of what you learn about them will come from
some type of observation. Each child in your classroom is unique and has different
personality traits. How else will you be able to provide a curriculum, a routine, or
provide positive guidance without knowing each child individually? Gathering
information about a child, or a group of children is the process of observation and
assessment. To provide the correct classroom environment you will need to know each
child’s developmental stage. With this information you can then determine the group’s
development status. The data you will gather through observation will provide you with
information for planning a curriculum that was sensitive to the needs of the group.
Ethical and Professional Responsibilities of Teachers
Teachers observe, collect data, evaluate that data, and then do evaluations based on
the data that was collected. We must make sure that we are sensitive to the children
and their families in regard to how we collect data and evaluate it. There are certain
laws and regulations that are provided for our children. Make sure that you check with
your local government on any legal laws in regard to observation and assessing of
To be ethically and professionally responsibly we must make sure that our assessments
are accurate and trustworthy. Anytime you do an assessment on a child, you must
make sure that it is valid, reliable and fair. These three criteria help teachers evaluate
the assessments. We must remember that a lot of information is gathered by teachers
when we observations and assessments are performed. That information and the
inferences that are made based upon it must be accurate for the well-being of the child.
Part of the overall process of assessment is that of evaluation of the trustworthiness of
the assessments teachers perform. This assessment must be done continuously
throughout the year. Teachers need to collect, record, summarize, analyze and then
use to make decisions or reports in a fair manner. It cannot be done only once, but
needs to be done multiple times to get a fair evaluation. The following are ways to
make sure that you collect data that is valid, reliable and fair.
After you have collected your data, you need to make sure that the results of the
assessment are reliable, consistent and dependable. They should be reproducible,
which means that you should be able to perform a similar observation at another time
and get similar results.
To increase reliability:
1. Make assessment situations in non-threatening environments. Remember that
making direct and persistent questions will make a child uneasy, which will not reflect
correctly on the child’s true abilities.
2. Make sure that questions and request are clear and understandable.
3. Follow the assessment directions exactly as they are written on published
assessment or standardized test. Their reliability depends on you duplicating the
4. Make sure to be alert for the distractions that are caused by the environment. Not
only the environment, but also the child’s own feelings might distract him. Remember to
think about how he is feeling and what is going on in the environment before starting the
5. Make more than one assessment, over the course of the time he is with you.
When we speak about validity we are talking about both the assessment and the
interpretation, conclusions and inferences that can be made based on the information
you gather. Teachers must think of validity in terms of what is being assessed. Is what
you observing and assessing significant and important? Why or why not?
To increase validity:
1. Have multiple samples to cover the behavior
2. Have a balance on the samples. Make sure that your assessment does not
overemphasize only one type of information or sample. For example: A child’s ability to
identify letters should not rely solely on information gathered from written or printed
3. After you have gathered information from multiple sources, check to see if they
converge or agree.
4. Check to see that the assessment measured what you intended for it to measure.
Bias and fairness are the most emotional and educationally charged issues that are
related to assessment. Children who are not of the dominant culture and language
having always been a bias against standardize testing. The word bias usually refers to a
test, procedure, result, or use that unfairly discriminates against a person or group in
favor of another. It is very complex and not easily simplified. The word fair assessment
is essential to the education of all children in our very diverse society. It is very
important to remember fairness when observing children with disabilities.
Being objective means that you try to obtain and use fact, information and data without
distorting it with your own personal feelings, beliefs, or prejudgment. As a professional
child care provider you must remember to keep your own thoughts out of an
assessment and rely solely on the information you gathered. When we let personal
experience, beliefs, and feelings influence our perception of the assessment we are
being subjective, not objective. For example, if we believe that boys are “better at” math
we might perceive children through those beliefs. This is unfair to all the boys and girls
that you have in your classroom. You must see each of them as an individual and look
at their own strengths and weaknesses.
There isn’t anyone that is totally objectionable. We let our personal experience, beliefs
and interest influence what information we choose to collect, when we choose to collect
it and on whom. One teacher observing children at center time might focus on their
social interactions, while another will focus on their cognitive development. Neither is
right or wrong, but their own experience played a part in what they observed.
Maintaining Confidentiality is one of the most important things you need to remember
when speaking of being professional during observation and assessments. Federal and
state laws establish parents and children have several rights relating to assessments.
One of these rights is that of privacy. If you must speak in regard to an assessment, do
not use the child’s real name and be careful that you are only speaking about it for
professional reasons. Do not gossip about an assessment you did or something you
saw a child do.
Why do we need to do assessments anyway?
One of the most critical periods of development for children is between birth and age
three. Research has shown that developmental, behavioral, or learning disability affect
about 17% of all children under the age of 18 years, however only 2.59% of children
under three are involved in some sort of government funded early childhood programs
(First Signs, 2010). Since many times children in our classroom spend more awake
hours with us, than anyone else we must make sure to observe them often to help them
get the guidance they need. If children are not diagnosed and able to receive help for a
delay or disability at an early age, the delay can have a significant impact on their later
development. If a child’s has a delay in motor, language, cognitive, and/or social-
emotional development and does not receive intervention at an early age, the delay
could affect other developments. (McCann & Yarbrough, 2006, p. 3).
So many times teachers try to have a cookie cutter classroom. By this I mean that we
try to make an environment that all children must fit into it. Through developmentally
appropriate assessments we are able to design a room for the children based on their
developmental needs. I have noticed that over my years of teaching that when I do not
do constant assessing of the children in my classroom I don’t see their developmental
and learning changes (McAfee & Leong, 2011, p. 31). Since their learning and
development doesn’t happen quickly overnight, sometimes we miss subtle changes that
are very important in the overall picture of the child’s development. When we spend
time in observation, we are able to document exactly where a child is at any given day.
We must make sure that our observations are ongoing and accurate so we have a clear
picture of the child. Not all children will develop and learn at the same rate, even if they
are given the same opportunities in a safe exploration environment. Sometimes a
teacher might plan a wonderful lesson, but some children do not grasp the concept.
Through developmental observations, we will be able to know exactly what each child
has retained from our activities.
Twenty years ago I did cookie cutter lesson plans. I had a plan for the group of children
that was based on their age. Over the years I have learned that my lesson plans must
be based on the individual child’s strengths and weakness and their developmental
levels. A great example is a four year old boy in my care now named Bryon. Bryon was
saying and understanding meaning of words like perpendicular, humongous, and
peculiar when he had just turned two years of age. Over the last two years, he has
started reading and doing simple math. The other four year old children in my
classroom are not even close to working activities like these, but on the other hand,
Bryon’s eye hand coordination isn’t as advanced as other children in my classroom.
Through daily observations and documentation I am able to plan activities through my
lesson plans that fit each individual child, instead of a cookie cutter one that doesn’t
really fit anyone. Through observations I can also find children that need special help.
Children will not fall through the cracks if we make sure that we keep documentation on
their developmental. We can get them the help they need, and also make sure our
classroom is set up to foster activities that they will benefit from.
How can we explain to parents what their child is learning, how they are developing or if
they need some help if we do not make sure that we are documenting accurate
observations? To be able to communicate with parents, school personal, and other
professionals we need to make sure we have written documentation of the child’s
progress. We also need to make sure that we are evaluating our own teaching through
observing the children. Rather the child is advanced or needs some special help we
need to make sure we document his progress so our program can change to fit his next
level of needs. The goal of my child care program is to be a solid foundation for each
individual child’s future success, so I must make sure my program is able to achieve
that through observation and assessment of each child.
All centers should do an initial assessment of a child when they first begin in a child
care center. This assessment is to see where the child’s abilities and strengths fall, plus
to find any weakness that they might need help with. During this initial assessment
make sure that you do not compare this child to the other children in your classroom.
Assessments make the most sense if they occur on an ongoing basis day by day. Some
of the best information gathering can be obtained by just listening to the students in your
classroom. Participate with them, communicate with them, and document everything. If
continuous assessment is done conscientiously, there may be little need for additional
data gathering to be planned. Make sure to assess before and after a concentration
learning activity. This is the best way to see if the children are absorbing what you want
them to. Finally assess when a specific problem or concern arises. If you see a child’s
development not progressing the way you feel it should, make sure to do an
assessment and document everything.
Guidelines for Observing Children
As a teacher you will have the opportunity to study young children in many different
situations. Sometimes the observations will be during busy active times and other
during quiet individual times. Always remember that your behavior as the observer is
very important. Certain guidelines must always be followed no matter where you are
observing children at.
Special care must be used when you gather data about children. Always keep
everything you gather confidential. You might discuss a child’s behavior in general with
other teachers, but you must refrain from doing so outside that setting. Remember that
wherever you are speaking, someone is listening so you must not speak of specifics
about any child. The information you might accidently give to others could be
embarrassing or even damaging to a child, parent or teacher.
To protect the confidentiality, teachers must not use the child’s real name during
classroom discussions. First initials only are allowed in other classrooms. These
practices will help protect the real identity of a child. These practices will also prevent
information about an individual child from leaving the classroom.
Use as much detail as possible without giving your own judgments. It is important that
you write down facial expressions, body language, words, what hand is used, etc.
Make sure to be as specific as you can be but without giving your thoughts into it.
Below are two different ways to say the same thing. Which one is best for observation?
A. Julie leaned over the table to grab the blue bucket of balls so she could glue them
onto her piece of paper. Julie was excited that she was able to touch the bucket that her
face lite up with joy and happiness because she was able to get the red balls.
B. Julie pushed her body over the table, placed her right hand on the blue bucket and
pulled it slowly to her body. As she opened the container, a smile formed on her face
and her eyes became big. Julie took her right hand and placed it into the bucket, pulled
out two red small pompom balls.
Do you see the difference? Both describe the same event; however option B is the way
we write a nonjudgmental observation. We cannot assume that Julie was happy and
joyful but we can document that she had a smile and her eyes became big. It is also
very important to document other factors that might be contributing to the child’s
behavior. Below are some examples of what to keep in mind as you observe.
Remember, many of these are going to be age and developmentally appropriate so
again, these are only examples. These are just examples of what you might put in your
Physical appearance: What does the child look like today and what is she dressed in. Is
it cold outside and she is only wearing shorts and a short sleeve top. Does the child
seem to be in good physical shape or is she not feeling well.
Body movement: Watch to see if the child is using all of her gross and fine motor skills
that are typical for her age. You will want to note if the child is moving slow or quick, is
her body opened to the room or is she closed off more and only with her own self. Take
a look at how she is expressing herself to others in the classroom.
Facial expressions: Look at the detail in her expressions. Does the child’s facial
expression change quickly or only to react to outside stimuli. Note the examples and
when they occur.
Speech and voice: Note exactly what the child is saying, if it is loud or soft, and how her
body is maneuvered when she says it. Does this child talk often or is more quiet and if
her speech typical for her age.
Relationship with other children: Does this child participate with other children or play
alone is an important aspect to look for and document.
Children with Disabilities
Most of the teachers that work with young children in child care centers, home child
care, or preschools do not have the formal education to diagnose children with special
needs. That does not mean that these teachers are not very valuable in helping to find
issues that need to be further assessed. Teachers are often the first to see a child’s
possible special needs such as disabilities, developmental delays or learning problems.
Often, parents are in denial because they are too close to their child and they do not
notice what the teacher does. Teachers are also often the one person that spends more
time with the child than anything else. For this reason, it is very important for teaches to
be on the lookout for anything that might constitute further assessments.
Many children that have a special need do not fit into any specific category or they may
fit into several. Children who have severe hearting or vision impairments might also be
identified as having orthopedic or muscular disabilities. These needs are often noticed
early in life and most children have been seen by a specialist before they enter child
care or preschool. There are less noticeable needs such as learning disabilities,
speech and language problems, emotional disturbance, attention deficit disorders or
mild developmental delays which are often first seen by the early childhood teachers.
One issue that well-meaning teachers often have is that of over identifying. Sometimes
teachers will go to a weekend conference, receive information regarding a disability and
then over identify red flags. This is why we must remember to look at the child as a
whole and not only one aspect of his abilities. Remember, that active young children
that are made to sit or wait for long periods of time are not going to be calm. It is part of
their development that they move, talk, and explore.
Developmentally and individually appropriate high quality programs lessen unrealistic
expectations of young children and allow the identification of children who truly have
special needs. By providing a program that is designed for the development of the
children in the classroom, children will be able to explore and they will not “act out”
because they are being asked to do something they are not developmentally ready for
(i.e. sit for long periods of time).
Children that need to be challenged
Teachers need to remember that certain children in their classroom are going to need to
be challenged. Children might need a higher challenge then others because of their
background, their home influences and encouragement, their advanced development or
they might be older then the majority of the classroom. Not all children that need to be
challenged in the classroom are gifted but it could be a possible indicator for future
assessments. The potential for error in observation is great here because when a child
is neat, well behaved, confident and ready for “school”, that does not mean he is gifted.
Gifted and talented children can have multiple different characteristics but often early
childhood programs only recognize the intellectual characteristic and label the child as
“smart”. A push in our society of parents pushing to have their “smart” child in advanced
gifted programs can have a negative effect on the child. Designating a young child as
gifted should be done with all legal and ethical safeguards and by professionals with
years of training.
The United States is a diverse country and the children that are in early childhood
programs now are often first generation Americans. Their home life is full of their
diverse cultural backgrounds, heritage and family dynamics. The children in your
classroom will vary in race, ethnicity, culture, language dominance, family income,
family educational level, and family structure and value. You are also going to be
diverse to the children in your classroom with your own background that will be brought
into the classroom. Teachers, parents, children and administrators often do not realize it
but they bring all of that background into the classroom and it influences the dynamics
of the class.
Fair and authentic assessments are very important for the children from diverse
backgrounds, which include all children. Classroom assessments must be sensitive to
this diversity and teachers must not allow their own influences to cloud their judgments
of the children’s abilities. Teachers often have their own sociocultural backgrounds that
they often have little conscious knowledge regarding. They put dominance on specific
values and expectations on what children should know or how they should act. When
they interact with people who speak languages or dialects other than the teachers, the
teacher has to make sure not to judge the person. It is important to remember that just
because someone does not have smooth and proper English that does not mean that
they are unintelligent. Teachers need to understand their own cultural background to
help not judge others.
A child’s background might influence his knowledge, skills, attitudes, vocabulary and
ways of interacting with other people. The language or languages that he speaks along
with the level of proficiency in each, is intertwined within the family and the community.
These abilities can influence in both complex and in subtle ways. The knowledge that
children have is determined by their experiences. A four year old child that lives on a
ranch is going to have a different knowledge base than a child that has been raised in
the inner-city of New York. Another example is the cultural food that children eat. Some
children do not have fresh fruits and vegetables in their home, so to judge them on the
fact that they might not know a picture of a banana is unfair. Teaches must take great
strides to understand this and not allow their background to influence the assessments.
Cultural backgrounds might also influence the language, manners, and way we interact
with others. Politeness and respect are communicated in different ways. In the Southern
States, children are expected to say “Yes Ma’am”, “thank you” and “please” but in other
parts of the United States or the world, these are not focused on as much. A teacher
cannot believe a child is rude because he does not have the same manners as she was
raised with. Is the child behaving exactly the way his cultural or community dictates, is
what is important.
Sociocultural values help shape a child’s development. This is a very complex process
but one that teachers will be faced with. One culture might focus on fine motor
development so children are highly skilled at cutting, stringing beads and drawing.
Another cultural might focus on large motor development so those children are highly
skilled at running, climbing and jumping. Some cultures emphasize independence while
a separate culture might emphasize dependency on the family. These differences can
influence the way a teacher assess a child when she does not take into account the
Developing a plan
All caregivers and teachers must develop a plan to incorporate assessment into
teaching activities. By assessing children as an integral part of the teaching process,
you can adjust the interaction or materials as needed to better serve the needs of the
child. When you have a conference you need to make sure that you are ready to
present to the parents. By being prepared and having a plan, you are better able to
make sure that what you want to convey to the parents is able to be communicated. It is
important to make sure and keep this plan written down. On the next page is a sample
Purpose: Make sure to write the purpose of the assessment at the top of a planning
form so you will remember why you are doing this assessment. When it comes three
months down the road, you do not want to stumble over a question the parents might
ask which is why you did this assessment. For example, if the primary purpose is to
keep track of a child’s progress in his letter recognition, you need to make sure and
Developmental and Domains: Identify the general area of development or curriculum
that you plan to assess. Have at least one assessment planning form per domain. If the
domain is too large, you may need to have several planning forms.
What to Assess: Teachers have to make sure that they understand what they are going
to assess and why. By being specific we are able to make sure that we can understand
each child’s ability in the domain.
Assessment Plan: August 20 to June 20, 2010
Purpose of Assessment: Monitor Status and Progress
Domain: Language Skills
What to Access When to Access Assessment Window and Recording Procedure
1. Book handling. Knows midyear, 1. Performance samples during daily small group
front and back, hold book end of year literacy activities. Documentation on
Right side up, can turn pages. group matrix checklist
For 3 year olds
2. Tracks prints: Points to 2. Anecdotal records during play
words as book is read to him
3. Parent reports elicited during parent
3. Understand function of
print: Notice words and letters
attempts to read,
1. Scribbles and draws in play midyear, end 1. Anecdotal records during play.
to stand for print. of year.
2. Work samples gathered throughout
2. Dictates stories slowly For 3 year olds. the many writing opportunities during
down voice to match teachers the day.
3. Uses letters to stand for
sounds, uses invented
Assessment is the process of observing, recording, and documenting a child’s growth
and behavior. The assessment needs to occur in order to make decisions about the
child’s education. Children’s developmental status, growth and learning styles
information is obtained and gathered. Two different processes that are often used
interchangeably are the words assessment and evaluation. The process of collecting
information or data is referred to as assessment. One of several means of obtaining the
information or data as part of the assessment plan is referred to as observation.
The process of reviewing the information and finding the value in it is called evaluation.
There are many reasons that assessment is important for teachers and school staff.
Planning developmentally appropriate curriculum a teacher will use the information that
she collected. The teachers and the curriculum are kept responsive to the needs of the
children through assessments. It involves the gathering of many pieces of information.
Each child’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development information must be
gathered. Assessment includes information on what the children can do, their unique
needs, strengths, and interest. It also will chart the child’s individual progress over time.
Teachers, staff and other adults will gain useful insights into a child’s learning styles and
needs during the assessment process. Each child has unique strengths, needs, and
interest. The following are some questions you should ask yourself before you begin
the assessment process. What are their strengths? What does the group know? What
are they able to do? What are their interests and dispositions? Finally, what are their
needs? Teachers who have good assessment skills will be able to answer these
questions and make better decisions.
The assessment process can often identified individual and classroom problems. When
you observe and record specific examples of a child’s behavior a teacher can figure out
the behavior pattern more clearly. Answers to behavior problems can be more easily
found when the specific behavior is observed and noted. Assessment and observation
can also identify classroom problems. When a problem arises, plans can be made to
remedy the problem. For example, if your classroom has recently been full of children
pushing and shoving in the dramatic play area, you need to make sure and observe and
record what is happening before, during and after the situations. By observing and
evaluating, you may realize that the classroom space provided for this activity needs to
be expanded. If this is impossible, you may decide to limit the number of children who
play in this area at one time. This might help prevent the undesirable behavior.
Children who have special needs might be identified though your assessments. It might
be a child that is hearing or visual impaired. Maybe a child has an emotional or
behavioral problem that requires counseling. These needs can be identified and
specialized services need to be obtained. These assessments can help children with
special needs receive the services that they so desperately need. It also helps them to
receive these services at an earlier time then if parents waited until they entered public
Teachers can find out where children are in their developmental process through
assessments. On a regular interval teachers should record information on each child.
Teachers will be able to see how each individual child is progressing in his or her own
development. Teachers will be able to make better curriculum planning decisions based
on the information they gather through observations. It will also help you decide how to
set up the environment and stimulate each individual child’s development.
Parent conferences can also benefit from your observation and assessments of children
in your classroom. Parents want to know how their children are progressing, developing
and growing in your classroom. With a written record of observations you have made on
each individual child and the classroom as a group, you will be able to give the parents
concrete examples and evidence on their child’s progress. It will also help to know
parents that you understand and know their child and your classroom.
A final purpose for assessment is in evaluating your own program. When you observe,
record, assess and evaluate the children as individuals and as a group you are going to
get an insight into your classroom. You will be able to have an insight into your program
At the beginning of every new school year you must do an initial assessment with the
children in your classroom. It is very important that teachers do not assume that all the
children in their classroom are the same. There are developmental differences that will
exist between children that are the same given age. Impacting each child’s development
are factors such as their culture, economic status, and home background. This initial
assessment has the purpose to get a quick “snap shot” of the entire class as individuals
and also as a group. Observing the children is the most common way to gather this
We are all complex human beings and we have different strengths and weaknesses. No
one is completely alike, but rather we each have our own unique personality and
abilities. To improve the assessment of young children we must use “multiple
measures” or “windows” to yield the most reliable and adequate information possible
(McAfee, & Leong, 2011, p. 47). When we plan our curriculum on the information we
gather in regard to the children in our classroom, we know that we must gather a variety
of information to get a whole picture of the child. No one test or observation will be able
to give us a holistic viewpoint of the child’s development and learning. By using a variety
of instruments to gather information we can make sure that we have accurate
information which will make a fair and reliable perspective on the child’s strengths and
When we use different windows to gather information it is like looking into someone’s
new home thought the windows. (p. 48). We can’t look through only one window to see
the entire house, but rather we must look through multiple windows to see each room.
The same goes for children’s assessments. We must have a variety of windows to look
through, where as we can see different areas of their development. When we only have
one assessment tool, we are creating an incomplete picture of the child’s abilities. This
is not fair to the child and in the end we could do more harm than good with our
assessments. For example, if I only observe the children during outside time to
document their social skills, I would completely be overlooking one specific child in my
care. He is three years old, and when he is outside he is totally focused in the sand box.
He might ride the tricycle a little, or go down the slide, but the majority of his time is in
the sand box playing with trucks and creating his own town. He would seem very anti-
social to someone that didn’t know him because he usually never plays with other
children outside. However, when he is inside he does a 180 degree turn. He loves to
play with other children in different centers, he is very cooperative during art time, and
participates during circle time. If I decided to only use our outside assistant as a source
of information on his social skills, she would not have all the information because she
only comes over twice a day to help outside. I must use a variety of sources to gather
my information, gather the data at different times, gather the data in different
environments, and to have it on going to create a true picture of this child.
As an early childhood professional you must make sure that you do your best to use
assessments in appropriate ways. Assessments are for supporting children’s learning,
growth and development. Assessments and the results of assessments are sometimes
used inappropriately. One example is that of high-stakes assessment testing to make
life-changing decisions about children. One of the most common uses of these high-
stakes assessments is when schools use assessments only to determine if young
children should be allowed into pre-k, kindergarten or first grade. Another example is to
determine if children should be placed into special needs classes, without looking at the
With so much attention being placed on standardized testing and assessments, it is
understandable that often uninformed schools, centers and teachers rely heavily on
these assessments for inappropriate reasons. In reality, standardized assessments and
test reduce teaching, learning, and development of young children. The child is only
taught what is needed for the assessment, and it is they do not learn it but rather try to
fake it through memorization. Young children must be assessed in a variety of ways and
not compared to each other because each child is an individual. We have to look at the
entire child, not just one aspect.
When we speak of authentic assessments or appropriate assessments we are speaking
about how a child is viewed overall, within all domains and development. Authentic
assessments are the evaluation of a child’s actual learning, development, growth and
abilities through activities that are developmentally appropriate. Authentic assessments
require that children demonstrate what they know and are able to do. Meaningless
facts and isolated information are considered inauthentic. Some guidelines for
authentic assessment follow:
1. Assess children based on their actual work. Use work samples, exhibitions, projects,
and other samples of the child’s work.
2. Assess children based on what they are actually doing in and through the curriculum.
3. Assess what each child can do. Evaluate what each child is learning other than
comparing one child to another or to a group of children.
4. Make assessment part of the learning process. By encouraging children to show what
they know through presentations and participation, the fear of “pass” or “fail” is
5. Learn about whole, or entire, child. Make sure to look at all aspects of the child’s
development, growth and learning.
6. Involve children and parents in a cooperative, collaborative assessment process.
Remember the authentic assessment is child centered.
7. Provide ongoing assessments over the entire year. Assess children continually
throughout the year, not just at the end of a grading period or at the end of the year.
8. Use developmentally appropriate assessments and techniques.
When to do an Assessment
Teachers will want to learn as much about the individual children as possible during this
initial assessment. If every teacher in your school does complete assessments each
year, I would start out by reviewing the child’s previous assessments. This must be
done with some caution. It is unfortunate but true that sometimes teacher’s own view
point’s come into play during assessments. We need to be completely objectionably
when we do an assessment, but sometimes teachers are not. Also review home
background forms. Read the notes from past parent conferences. If possible do “homes
visit” with the families. When visiting a child’s home you will be able to really get a good
picture of the family dynamics. An alliance with parents is very important. Parents can
give you useful information on a child’s learning needs and interest.
In addition to this initial assessment, teachers must do ongoing assessments on
individual children as well as the group as a whole. A single assessment is not an exact
assessment of ability or of performance. It is just a single indicator. More time is
needed when doing ongoing assessments because they are more in depth information
gathering. The information you gain from the assessments will be useful in tracking
each child’s progress and changes over time. A child’s learning and maturation will be
evidence through the recorded assessments. This information will also be helpful in
making decisions for enriching or modifying the curriculum when necessary.
During classroom activities is a good time to gather assessment data. Watch children
as they work on art projects and listen to them as they tell stories, etc. You can observe
children working together to construct blocks or to do a large puzzle on the floor.
Position yourself so you can listen in on children’s conversations. Discreetly take notes
on individual children, especially during center time where they are able to make
choices on their own. This is when children are most likely to reveal their own
personalities and development. These notes will provide important assessment
Schools use the screening process to give the center a picture of what children know
and are able to do as well as their physical and emotional status. The screening
processes is able to be an indicator of the child’s abilities and provides information
about placement for initial instructions, referral to other agencies and additional testing
that might be needed. Remember that screening processes are just that – screening. It
does make a determination about the child’s abilities or challenges but rather gives an
overview of information.
The screening process can involve the following:
1. Interview the family to gather information about the child’s health, learning patters,
learning achievements, personal habits and special problems.
2. Conduct health screenings that include a physical examination, a health history and if
needed a blood sample for analysis.
3. Conduct vision, hearing and speech screenings.
4. Collecting and analyzing data from former programs and teachers, such as
preschools or Head Start Programs.
5. Administering a cognitive or behavioral screening instrument. Typically the
administrator needs specialized training for many of the instruments.
Methods of Assessments
There are two different types or methods of observation and assessment of young
children, formal and informal. They differ in the amount of control you put over the
conditions in which the children are observed. Formal methods include standardized
test and research instruments. As a result of such research, developmental norms for
children have been determined. Developmental norms are characteristics and behaviors
considered normal for children in a specific age group. Assisting you in comparing and
noting changes in the growth and development of the children in your classroom are
developmental norms. Developmental norms will also help you as you observe young
children in preparation for your lesson plans and curriculum. They are useful tools for
assessing children’s developmental status. They also form the basis for planning
developmentally appropriate curriculum. While formal observation methods provide
important information, they also require specialized training for recording date on
carefully designed forms. Training is also needed for analyzing and interpreting the
Teachers who work with very young children under the age of five usually use informal
observation methods to collect data on individual children and the classroom as a
whole. They include observing children in the classroom, collecting samples of their
work, interviewing parent and talking with the children.
When you decide it is time to choose a method of assessment you must first consider
these three factors. First, the method chosen depends on the type of behavior you want
to assess and the amount of detail you need. Another consideration is whether the
information needs to be collected for one child, a few children or the class as a whole.
Finally, the amount of focused attention required by the observe needs to be
considered. Some methods of assessment will require more of your attention. For
example, it is difficult to interact with children whey you are in the process of writing an
anecdotal record. Checklists are easier and quicker to use while being involved with the
children. Teachers normally use a variety of methods for gathering information about
the children in their classroom. Since no one method is the most effective or reveals
everything, several methods are used. More complete information is obtained by using
several types of assessment. Multiple sources of information also reduce the possibility
of error when making evaluations.
There are several types of assessment tools that are used in the early childhood
programs around the United States. These include anecdotal records, checklists,
participation charts, rating scales, samples of products, photographs, and tapes.
Teachers can also interview parents and other adults in the child’s life to help with
The simplest form of a direct observation is a brief narrative account of a specific
incident called an anecdotal record. Anecdotal records do not require charts or a special
setting. They can be recorded in any setting and require no special training. All you
need is a paper and a writing tool to record what happened in a factual, objective
manner. This observation is open ended, continuing until everything is witnessed. The
process of recording the incident requires a careful eye and quick pencil to capture all of
the details. Making sure to have all the details is important when evaluating your data.
Make sure to keep track of who was involved, what happened, when it happened, and
where it happened. Promptly and accurately are the keys to making sure an anecdotal
record is done correctly. Anecdotal records must be factual and describe exactly what
happened, what was said and what was done. These records are the most useful when
they include as much detail as possible. Describe the context of behaviors you records
because this will help you understand the meaning of your notes later on.
Your eyes and ears will act like a video camera while you observe the children and keep
a close narrative written on your paper. Children will be playing, learning, sharing,
interacting, and you will be recording a written picture of it all. While you are observing,
you will need to record how children communicate with each other and with adults. This
communication is for both verbal and nonverbal gestures. It is important o record how
they look, and what they do exactly. All physical gestures and movements must be
noted for evaluation. Children’s interactions with people and materials must be kept in
We all want to put our own emotional view point into what we see. When observing and
recording children’s behavior we must be objective. It is very important to record only
objective statements. To be objective, a statement must pass two tests. First it must
describe only observable actions. Generalizations about the motives, attitudes, and
feelings of the children are not included. Secondly the recorded information must be
without evaluation. It should not include an interpretation of why something happened,
nor imply that what happened was wrong, bad, good or right. Labeling should be
avoided at all times. No judgments or conclusions should be inferred at this point.
Contents of an Anecdotal Record:
1. Identifies the child and gives the child’s age.
2. Includes the date, time of day and setting
3. Identifies the observer
4. Provides an accurate account of the child’s actions and conversations
5. Includes responses of other children and or adults, if any are involved.
An example of an Anecdotal Record being objective:
Jill arrived in class holding her daddy’s hand. She slowly walked over to her locker,
removed her jacket and hugged it on the hook. She turned to her dad and said “you go
to work” Jill’s dad hugged her and said “After work I will take you to the doctor for you
check up.” Jill started to cry as she said “I’m not going to the doctor, I am staying at
school.” Jill’s dad reached down and hugged Jill, but Jill continued to cry and hung onto
her dad. The teacher walked over to Jill and whispered in her ear. Then the teacher
put out her hand and said, “Come and look. We have a new friend at school today.
Kaden brought his turtle.” Jill stopped crying and took the teacher’s hand. Together they
walked over to see the turtle. Jill’s dad watched her for a moment and then left the
Notice that only an objective description of the observed behavior is recorded. The
statements do not include any of the following: causes, emotions, explanations,
feelings, goals, motives, desires, purposes, needs, or wishes.
Interpretation of the Data:
The second process now begins which is interpretation of the data you recorded. When
we do a dada interpretation we are making an attempt to explain the observed behavior
and to give what we saw meaning. We need to answer the questions of why, when and
where. We need to figure out what might have been the motives of the child’s behavior.
Lots of questions we can ask ourselves as we look through the data. We must have
knowledge and skills to do a data interpretation. There is no purpose of the observation
without a correct behavior interpretation and then give meaning to the data.
When you were doing the observation you had to be very factual and unbiased. Now,
while data interpretation is being processed various in personal interpretations will be
done. You are an individual and so your interpretations will be different from others.
Different motives for behavior might be concluded by each person who interprets a
child’s behavior through observation. This difference is based on each person’s
individual personal experiences and background. The interpretation of behavior may
also be influenced by each individual person’s values and attitudes regarding the
Teachers need to do multiple observations over a period of time for each child in your
classroom to make sure that your interpretation is most accurate. Remember that your
mood and attitude will influence the way you interpret the data, so the more days you
have to reflect on your observations the better. A thorough understanding of how
children grow and develop is also of utmost importance. Teachers who record incidents
throughout the year must have a means of assessing progress quickly. You might have
a set form or just use a spiral notebook. Rich details can be produced by having a
series of recordings over time. This type of record is extremely valuable in noting
progression, strengths, needs and interest.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Anecdotal Records:
An important advantage of an anecdotal record is that it is the easiest method of use
since it requires no special setting or time frame. Anecdotal records can provide a
running record over time showing evidence of a child’s growth and development.
Teacher’s that will record situations all year long have a solid means of assessing
progress on each individual child. There are also disadvantages with using anecdotal
records. The complete picture might not be provided since the situation is observed
based on the observer’s interest. Records are not always accurate because people are
not able to be 100% nonbiased at all times. Teachers must make sure to record the
details of each situation as it happens or they might forget details of the event, recall
details poorly, or important information might be forgotten.
Checklists are another form of assessments and are designed to record the absence or
presence of a specific trait or behavior. Checklists are especially helpful when
observations of many different items need to observed. Checklists are also very easy to
use. While observing a child’s behavior teachers will check over a list of specific
behaviors to look for. Checklist may be designed for any developmental domain
including physical, social, emotional, and cognitive. Teachers may use a checklist to
observe one individual child or a group of children. The checklist will list similar items
grouped together in a logical order so a targeted behavior can be easily seen. Teachers
can quickly record the absence or presence of a specific behavior. Teachers normally
use the procedure of a check to indicate the presence of a behavior. Structure is
required when using a checklist. Teachers can make their own checklist form that they
keep on hand or are able to redesign quickly.
Checklists provide a useful overview of skills, behaviors or traits that can be easily and
clearly specified. They do not substitute for detailed anecdotal records that provide in
depth information regarding the quality of behaviors.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Checklists
There are many advantages of using a checklist. There are no time constraints in
collecting data when you use a checklist. The teacher can quickly record the information
anytime during the child care hours. Checklist are efficient, easy to use and can be used
in all situations and environments. Teachers have an easier time analyzing the data
There are also disadvantages of using a checklist. A checklist does provide a lack of
detailed information. The format of a checklist makes it where there are only specific
behaviors listed so it is very limited. Teachers might easily miss important aspects of
behaviors such as how a behavior is performed and for how long. A checklist only notes
the presence or absence of a behavior.
Check list example:
Child: Abram Akers Age: 3
Behavior Observation Date and Time
Plays with other children Stinging beads with Jim, grabbed 4-Apr-09
four beads, gave back when Jim 10:00 AM
cried for it.
Offers to help other children Offered to help Tina hang up 6-Apr-09
her jacket from outside time 9:05 AM
To gain information on specific aspects of a child’s behavior a teacher can develop a
participation chart. There are a variety of uses in a child’s classroom for a participation
chart. An example of this is to not the activity preferences during center time play for
each child. Another example of a participation chart as an observation tool is for a
teacher to note the times that each child falls asleep and wakes up. This will also chart
the length of time each child sleeps every day. After collecting the data, a teacher can
decide if a change to the classroom environment or schedule is in order. There are
times when a child’s needs and preferences to not match. If a child has weak hand eye
coordination and your participation chart shows that he spends the majority of his time
listening to stories and music you can redirect him to activities to strengthen his
weakness. If you had not kept participation chart you might not realized that this child
needs to be having activities like puzzles, art, stringing beads, etc. These materials will
help the child’s hand-eye coordination skills, which will be necessary for reading and
writing at a later date.
Charts are useful when you want to gather general information very quickly. This
general information can then be used to decide what more information you should be
gathering on each individual child or your class as a whole. Remember, charts do not
provide specific information, like quality of the learning experience.
Below you will find a sample chart of the learning centers that children used during a
week time frame. Make sure to notice who played in the blocks center every day and
who played in all centers on Monday. These are things you will want to notice on your
own participation charts.
Name of Center: Shade Tree Learning Week of April 1 -5, 2007
Observer: Rhonda C. Times : 7:30-8:30 and 4-5
Center Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Tim Kyler Wyatt Wyatt Aidan
Abram Wyatt Gaven Abram Kaden
Blocks Kim Zoe Tim Kyler Wyatt
Jacy Julie Paul
Camryn Kim Kaden Kyler Jimmy
Gaven Aidan Aidan Abram Gaven
Art Abram Zoe Jacy Kyler
Kyler Sue Paul Julie Kaden
Abran Tim Kaden Cade Zoe
Book Zoe Camryn Abram Tim
Gaven Joe Kaden Sue Paul
Camryn Sue Kyler Tim Cade
House Keeping Jacy Paul Camryn Aidan Jacy
Abram Kaden Abram
Sue Gaven Paul Cade
Kyler Camryn Zoe Aidan Cade
Transportation Zoe Tim Aidan Abram
Tim Payton Payton
Camryn Brooklynn Julie Zoe Kyler
Computer Zoe Abram Zoe
To record the degree to which a quality or trait is present a teacher will use rating
scales. Teachers must make a judgment about the behavior when using rating scales.
Rating scales will give a good indicator to the teacher of how much or how little of a trait
is present, where as a checklist only indicates if the trait is presence or absence.
Example of a rating scale:
Child’s Name: Jimmy Allen Age: 4 y. 5 m
Trait to look for: Activity Level
/ / / / X /
High Activity Level Low Activity Level
(1) Stayed in the book center outside 15minutes, moved to the puzzle center for 10
minutes, and then to the sandbox (played along on edge) for 15minutes.
(2) On library field trip he sat with legs crossed and hands in lap for the 10 minute story
(3) Played with file folder games while all the other children danced to them music with
Advantages and Disadvantages of Rating Scales
There are advantages to using rating scales. A teacher who uses rating scales will have
ease of use and require very little time to complete. Some scales contain only a
numerical range, while other defines the behaviors more specifically.
There are also disadvantages to using rating scales. A teacher that uses rating scales
will only have fragments of actions included. In order to choose a rating, the observer
should have a good understanding of the behavior that she is rating.
Collecting Samples of Children’s Products
When a teacher collects samples of work from children she is using another
assessment tool. These samples can provide valuable information regarding the child’s
developmental status and growth. A teacher might collect artwork, stories dictated or
written, photographs, and records of conversations. Over time, these samples can be
collected and compared. A teacher needs to collect samples on a scheduled basis. A
child’s products can be stored in a folder or portfolio. Whenever possible, store
materials, and items in chronological order. This will save you time when evaluating
progress or sharing the materials with parents.
Different forms might keep the records. A teacher might preserve the samples by
photographing, sketching, or diagramming children’s products. These methods are
especially useful for large structures such as block displays and three-dimensional
artwork that cannot be stored conveniently.
Videotapes and Audiotapes
An excellent way to preserve children’s information about their developmental status is
to use videotapes and audiotapes. Make sure you have a signed permission slip from
each parent before you continue with videotapes or audiotapes. A tape might focus on
the individual child, a small group or the class as a whole. Videotapes can be used
when both action and speech need to be preserved. Recording may be made of
children telling stories, acting out stories, or explaining their projects. Dramatic play
interactions and music experiences might be recorded. A teacher will be able to note
progress in language and speech by viewing and listening to recordings. Usually
children also enjoy viewing or listening to their own voices.
At times there are issues with the presence of the video camera becoming intrusive to
the children. You can always ask someone else to hold the camera for you so you can
be completely involved with the children. It is also important for you to be included in the
taping. Once you review the tape, you can do a self-evaluation of your own interactions
with the children.
Organizing the Assessments
Knowing what to assess, when to assess and how to collect and record assessment
information provides teachers with different options to use when appraising children.
How to pull it all together is another area of assessing young children. Assessments can
be overwhelming if you try to do everything all at once.
It is important to schedule activities so that you have time to assess in a valid, fair and
accurate way. You need to help children learn to work and play on their own at times.
This will allow you the opportunity to supervise them, but also to do observations.
Teaching them how to move from one activity to another, get help when needed, and
regulate their own behavior by solving problems on their own will help greatly. Help
children understand that assessment is part of learning.
It is important to begin and precede assessments gradually. It is very easy to get
overwhelmed if you attempt too much too fast. Only you can know your other personal
and professional commitments, prior knowledge and skills, teaching load, and center,
school and parent expectations. Start with one developmental or curriculum area, and
focus on it until you are comfortable with that process.
Start off with easy and appropriate techniques until you get comfortable with
assessments. If you start off with assessment techniques that you enjoy, you will be
more at ease when you do an assessment.
Make sure to start off organized and continue that every day. Many teachers take a few
moments at the end of the day to file notes, complete charts, and other information. You
can also do some of this at naptime if your children are young enough to nap still.
Certainly you must do something at least twice a week to stay organized. Keep
information current enough to be useful in the classroom. Last month’s notes are
needed to document progress but are no help in planning tomorrow’s or next week’s
Make the assessment process just a part of normal classroom life. It is a big advantage
of classroom assessment if you just let it be a part of the daily routine. Children will get
used to it, and you will be better able to get an accurate collection of data.
When needed, enlist the aid of other people to help you stay organized. Specialist,
classroom aids and assistants, are all an integral part of the assessment process.
Remember that you must all stay professional and remember the privacy laws regarding
Notebooks and Record Books
It is important to remember that your class roster and attendance record are a part of
your record keeping procedures. Most schools and centers will decide what type of
attendance record keeping you will do, but you need to make sure and follow through
with it every day. Some schools keep this electronically while others keep paper and
pen form. It doesn’t matter which you use, just make sure to keep track of it. It is
important to know when children were in class, when they were absent because you
might see a pattern in regard to behavior.
Loose leaf notebooks are a good way to organize some information for children in your
class. Loose leaf notebooks are also a good way to summarize information for the class
as a whole. Label the dividers and tabs alphabetically according to the things you are
going to keep track of, such as social development, literacy, mathematics, large muscle
development or dramatic play. When the summary sheets are prepared, punch holes
and place them in the binder in chronological order, with the latest entries toward the
front. A good way to store recording forms for individual children is to tab the dividers
with children’s names and alphabetize them according to last name.
If you use notebooks, you will want either two notebooks or a thick notebook with two
major divisions. You will need one division for each individual child and one for the
group of children as a whole. You will want a suitable bound or loose leaf notebook to
keep a journal of your own reflects and development also.
In the central office of your school or center you will find some administrative files that
do not stay in your classroom. Depending on your director’s viewpoints in regard to
record keeping you might have some files in your classroom. At the least you will need
personal files and portfolio files for each child.
It is best to keep personal files for each child in a file drawer or cabinet that is not
accessible to the children or to any unauthorized adults. Remember, privacy is very
important and you do not want a wondering adult’s eye to view something they
shouldn’t. Contact will vary but this file is a place for information that will help you know
the children in your care better. Copies of enrollment paperwork are always a good idea
for you to have because it gives you a better understanding of the child. Set up files
alphabetically by child’s last name. Leave plenty of space so that items can be added,
with the most recent entry toward the front. Some teachers keep all assessment
information in the child’s personal file folder.
Being well prepared and organized helps teachers appraise children as an integral part
of teaching. A workable, efficient filing and storage system will save the teacher time
and be able to keep valuable records from being misplaced. Teachers need to keep
track of all the materials and knowledge they have collected as a part of any ongoing
assessment and place it is a child’s portfolios. This collection of materials will show a
student’s abilities, accomplishments and progress over time is called a portfolio. The
children in your care will have portfolios that will summarize each other their abilities
and will also show the child’s growth and development. An important skill for all
teachers to develop is documenting learning. It is very beneficial to the children in your
classroom that you are able to document knowledge regarding them and learn from it.
Teacher’s collect a variety of materials so the storage of the portfolio can be stored in a
variety of forms. Some teachers enjoy a three ring binder, while others prefer to use
boxes or large folders to store the portfolio contents.
Teachers must be carefully to plan and organize each child’s portfolio. This portfolio
should be more than a file of anecdotal records, checklist and questionnaires. Including
a product samples such as art projects audiotapes of conversations, and child dictated
stories is essential for each portfolios. The portfolios include summaries of parent
conferences and parent questionnaires.
A portfolio needs to include samples for each child that reflects unique skills and
interest. If Jimmy built a complex and interesting block structure, you might sketch or
photograph it for inclusion in Jimmy’s portfolio. Teachers might also write stories that
children have dictated for them and include it in the portfolio. Each child’s portfolio
should be continually evolving and provide for ongoing assessment. It should be a
child’s developmental summary. Once a teacher evaluated the portfolio, she should be
able to design the curriculum, structuring interactions and plan the environment to better
suit the children. Teachers must allow parents to review the portfolio with the teacher as
needed. When reviewing the portfolios of children in your program, you will be able to
identify unique characteristics of each child.
A portfolio might contain:
~Teacher observations and other records gathered through assessment
~Developmental rating scales of checklist
~Parents’ comments and completed questionnaires
~A dated series of the child’s artwork or writing
~Photographs of the child demonstrating skills or engaged in activities
~Audiotapes or videotapes of the child speaking, singing, telling stories, etc.
~A list of favorite books, songs and finger plays
Some teaches use technology to develop digital portfolios, which can stand alone or to
supplement the traditional portfolio. Digital portfolios include books and journals that
children keep on computers and then illustrate with digital cameras. Remember that the
portfolio must be only one aspect of a child’s assessment.
Now that you have all this information on how to do observations, documentation and
assessment you need something to help you know what is typical for the child’s age and
what if there is any reason for concern. For our purposes we are going to focus on the
physical (biosocial domain) developmental domain, cognitive development domain and
the social-emotional (psychosocial domain) developmental domain. All three of these
domains are interrelated and work together as the child grows and develops. The
following link is just a list and does not mean that if a child is not doing something in one
category that you need to rush him to the hospital. Remember, to look at the “whole”
child and to speak with the child’s doctor if you have any concerns.
In our society today there is a push to make sure that children are ready to tackle the
other countries academically. There is even a push to make pre-k required and part of
the public school district. Many believe that by teaching children earlier in life, they will
be better prepared for academic learning and to compete with other countries. This is
not the case and what is important is that children are given this time in early childhood
to explore, learn and grow. To ensure that children are growing and learning as they
explore, we must make sure to do authentic assessments to know exactly where the
child’s abilities lay.
There is a big emphasis on accountability in our society today also because of the fear
that children are not as capable as children from other countries. Teachers must often
be accountable to parents, legislators and the public. Providing for and conducting
developmentally appropriate assessments of young children is one of the best ways to
make sure you are accountable for what you do. Conducting appropriate assessments
not only makes you accountable to parents’ and the public but it also enables you to be
more accountable to the children in your classroom. Working with young children is a
sacred trust and you have dedicated your time to help these children learn and develop.
Effective assessments practices will help you to achieve this dedicated goal.
Darragh, J. C. (2010). Introduction to early childhood education: Equity and inclusion.
New York, NY: Pearson
First Signs. (2010). Screening: Making Observations. Electronically retrieved on June,
6, 2010 from http://www.firstsigns.org/screening/index.htm
McAffe, O. & Leong, D. (2011). Assessing and Guiding Young Children’s Development
and Learning. Pearson: United States of America
McCann, C., & Yarbrough, K. (2006). Snapshots: Incorporation comprehensive
developmental screening into programs and services for young children.
Morrison, G. S. (2009). Early Childhood Education Today. (11th ed.). Upper Saddle
River, New Jersey: Pearson
Ounce of Prevention Fund. Electronically retrieved on June 5, 2010 from
Observation Comprehensive Test
Place your answers on the answer sheet at the end of this packet.
Answers are easily found in the packet. There are no trick questions and
many of the questions are take word for word from the information within the material.
Questions 1-10, you are going to answer true of false.
1. One of the most critical periods of development for children is between birth and age
2. Children in your classroom are the same without any unique or different personality
3. Maintaining Confidentiality is one of the most important things you need to remember
when speaking of being professional during observation and assessments. ________
4. Observation allows teachers to really know a child’s strengths, weakness, and
5. Teachers need to make sure and create assessment situations in non-threatening
6. Since children’s learning and development doesn’t happen quickly overnight,
sometimes teachers miss subtle changes that are very important in the overall picture of
the child’s development. _______________
7. There is no reason for centers to do an initial assessment of a child when they first
begin in a child care center because everyone has to do the same lessons every day.
8. Children who are not of the dominant culture and language are able to take the same
type of test as other children because it does not matter what your background is when
it comes to learning and testing. __________
9. After you have collected your data, you need to make sure that the results of the
assessment are reliable, consistent and dependable. __________
10. Lesson plans must be based on the individual child’s strengths and weakness and
their developmental levels _________
11. Being objective during an observation means that you try to obtain and use factual
information and data without distorting it with your own personal feelings, beliefs, or
12. The United States is NOT a diverse country and the children that are in early
childhood programs now are often first generation Americans. _______________
13. An excellent way to preserve children’s information about their developmental
status is to use videotapes and audiotapes. ________
14. We are all complex human beings and we have different strengths and weaknesses.
15. There is no reason to be sensitive to the children and families in regard to how we
collect data and evaluate it because children are too young to notice. _________
16. Through cookie cutter lesson plans we are able to design a room for the children
based on their developmental needs. ___________
17. There isn’t anyone that is totally 100% objectionable. ___________
18. To provide the correct classroom environment you will need to know each child’s
developmental stage. _________
19. Teachers are often the first to see a child’s possible special needs such as
disabilities, developmental delays or learning problems. ____________
20. Classroom assessments must be sensitive to this diversity and teachers must not
allow their own influences to cloud their judgments of the children’s abilities. ________
Questions 21-25, you are going to pick the best answer.
21. Observations should be done when?
A. Busy Active Times
B. Quiet Individual Times
C. Both A and B
D. Neither A or B
22. When we speak about validity we are talking about?
A. The assessment
B. The interpretation
C. The Conclusions
D. The Inferences
E. None of the Above
F. All of the Above
23. To record the degree to which a quality or trait is present a teacher will use which
A. Screening Process
B. Check List
C. Rating Scale
24. Which of the following is NOT part of the contents of an Anecdotal Record?
A. Identifies the child and gives the child’s age.
B. Identify the child’s religious belief system
C. Identifies the observer
D. Provides an accurate account of the child’s actions and conversations
25. Assessment is the process of observing, recording, and documenting what?
A. Child’s Growth
B. Child’s Behavior
C. Neither A or B
D. Both A and B.
Questions 26-30, you are going to fill in the blank from the sentences of the packet.
26. To protect the _____________________, teachers must not use the child’s real
name during classroom discussions.
27. _______________ values help shape a child’s development.
28. Using formal or informal observation and documentation teachers must use as
much ____________ as possible without giving you’re their own
29. A ____________ does not provide enough detailed information. (Assessment Tool)
30. There are two different types or methods of observation and assessment of young
children, ___________ and _________________.
31. When we speak of _______________ assessments or appropriate assessments we
are speaking about how a child is viewed overall, within all domains and development.
32. To gain information on specific aspects of a child’s behavior a teacher can develop
a __________________ ______________.
Put your answers on the following answer sheet.
Answer Sheet for Observation
1 11 21 26
2 12 23 27
3 13 25 28
4 14 24 29
5 15 25 30
6 16 31
7 17 32
Once you have answered all of the 32 questions, you then need to either mail this page to
Rhonda@shadetreelearning.org or to the address below. If you email it, you can do not have to
use this form but rather you can just put it into an email as long you make sure to include ALL of
the information on this page including your name, address, phone, email and the ID number
plus all answers. Call us if you have any questions: 682-478-7417
Shade Tree Learning
301 Linda Drive
Burleson, TX. 76028