Assessment and Standards
How do you know when an activity you’ve done with young children has been successful? Do you measure the results based on the smiles on their faces? Do you weigh the enthusiasm with which they answer your questions? Do you note the positive feedback you get from their parents or your supervising teacher? These are all intuitively valid ways to assess success to be sure, but intuitions alone will not ensure that the children have learned something, or learned as much as they might have. Intuitive assessment will not ensure that all the children were well served, nor will it point out which ones need more support. More concrete documentation than those very satisfying smiles is required. Those who seek such documentation include parents, supervisors, directors and principals, curriculum directors, funding agencies, and legislators. Even without such outside forces placing pressure on teachers, it can be argued that concrete documentation is essential as a way to ensure that each child’s development is being addressed fully, that the physical and social/emotional environment is supportive, and that educators’ teaching approaches are as effective as they could be.