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3.1 Explain how to monitor children and young people’s development using different methods

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3.1 Explain how to monitor children and young people’s development using different methods
3.1 Explain how to monitor children and young people’s development using different methods

‘Accurate observations and assessments are essential to effective educational practice.’
We observe that we can recognize children’s and young people’s skills and abilities and identify their needs. This will make planning for their future development much more specific to the individual need. ‘Observation is more than just watching; you are also noticing and thinking at the same time ‘
Observation enables the childcare practitioner, play worker, or educator to compare a pupil’s progress with the expected range for their age group, and to plan activities and support techniques that will lead to the next stage. Observation is primarily of children’s normal daily activities, their use of language, social interactions with others and samples that demonstrate their work.
When we observe we have to record what we see and hear - not what we think or feel. A child may cry for different reasons; we do not know how the child is feeling, and we should not make a subjective assumption that the child is sad. We should always focus on the child’s strengths as much as we focus on any learning or behavior difficulties. The observation must follow the school’s policies and procedures regarding confidentiality and data protection.
Monitoring children and young people’s development takes different forms depending on its purpose.
Assessment frameworks are useful in deciding whether a child is reaching expected milestones of development in different areas, whether they have any particular needs and what these needs are. Assessment frameworks can be used to screen for disabilities, to assist in developing curricula and daily activities, and to provide feedback to parents and colleagues.
Observations can be taken during lessons or playtime, and can be presented in a number of ways depending on their purpose
Standard measurements include health assessments, reasoning tests and cognitive aptitude test. They are tools that measure a child’s physical and intellectual development, and determine if that development is progressing at the expected rate for their age
Information from carers and colleagues forms an important part of understanding the background of the child and can be a valuable indicator of which areas of observation will be most beneficial.
‘Researchers suggest observations should occur on an on-going basis in natural settings and should be integrated into daily activities’
Formal observations are the observations, which we take in order to support the teacher in assessing a pupil’s level of development and match the relevant areas of the curriculum to the age-related expectations of pupils. They will also help us to understand the teaching and learning objective, the learning resources required and enable us to assess any additional needs of the children involved.
Every child or young person is asked the same questions - the results can be used to compare a child to developmental norms, or to children in similar circumstances. The usual methods of formal observation are:
SATs - Standard Assessment Tests, taken at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2
GCSE – exams to measure academic achievement, taken at the age of 15
Tick lists or check lists – are a tool that can be used at any time as part of an assessment of a child’s stage of development – they can help in planning activities, and may form a basis for future observations for a child. Additional comments provide valuable additional information, and can help to link the checklist with other observations that have been made.
Learning stories or learning journeys give a complete picture of an activity, which a child has undertaken, explaining the goals achieved and the next steps, and the way a child might be supported. Photos of their work or taken during activities are often included.
Informal observations are more spontaneous, and could be based on seeing a child engaged in an activity that shows a particular aspect of behavior or development.
Event sampling is another type of informal observation that focuses on particular events. They can be used to build up a pattern of a child’s behavior over a period of days or weeks.
Verbal feedback from a teaching assistant to a class teacher or from parents to the teacher is also part of the informal observation.

All observation methods can be important tools in identifying which level the child has reached and for planning suitable activities for them - particularly in the earlier years when a child’s rate of development is much faster.
‘Observation is a skill and it is a fascinating one to have, because you are more aware of children’s needs and strengths’

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