ECE 354: Assessment & Intervention during Early Childhood Instructor: Robin Skeen
Monday, October 1, 2012
Assessing Infants and Toddlers
Assessing infants and toddlers is commonly used to determine if children are meeting their developmental milestones or if they are showing any signs of developmental delays or disabilities. Many types of standardized tests are available for use with infants and young children; all are psychological tests, whether they measure abilities, achievements, aptitudes, interests, attitudes, values, or personality characteristics (Wortham, How Standardized Test Are Used with Infants and Young Children, 2012). There are many types of assessments and the key is using the proper one to answer the questions you need, assessment that involves observation of the child, interviews with parents and caregivers, developmental and social history, and interaction with the child using game-like materials, toys, questionnaires, and tasks (Logsdon, 2012). Teachers should be asking what methods should be used, which one should a teacher select from the children they are teaching, and how will the information be obtained? In this paper I will explore these questions and how that effects the ever fast changing pace of early childhood education. A developmental assessment is a process designed to deepen understanding of a child's competencies and resources, and of the caregiving and learning environments most likely to help a child make fullest use of his or her developmental potential, according to New Visions (Tips for Surviving Child Development Assessment, 2012). As a teacher you will consider why you should engage in assessment. For some programs it is part of their policies and procedures, for some it is state mandated, and for others it may be federally mandated. For some teachers the choice is theirs and they choose to for the best interest of the child. Through assessment the teacher can determine where the child is in development, show progress through ongoing assessment and have information to share with the child’s parents. The main reason for assessment is to pinpoint any disabilities or developmental delays, to assess the child’s school readiness, to assist the teacher in planning their curriculum and lesson plans program, to provide feedback to parents and being able to show the effectiveness of the program. The first thing is choose the type of assessment that is appropriate for the children that you engage with daily. There are two types of assessments: formal and informal assessments. With formal assessments the teacher is comparing the child against developmental norms or to other children. Informal assessments are observations that can be obtained through observation in a methodical way and is usually not compared to others. The majority of standardized tests that are in use today are designed to be administered and interpreted by trained professionals. Most programs use a combination of assessments when gathering information about the children they work with each day. The benefit of standardized tests is that the results can be compared to another child or children finding the common factors of developmental norms. A norm is an average result in a group of sample children within that age group or classroom. The second advantage is can be the ability to predict validity of the tests. Children whom do well on these assessments tend to do well in assessments as the move into the school readiness in Kindergarten. A common test used for preschoolers include the Battelle (Logsdon, 2012). There are disadvantages when using standardized test as well and one of the major ones is how the data will be interpreted that is obtained. The results from the teachers and administrators must be considered and compared to similar children in similar circumstances. The comparison is not easy to achieve, for...