Assessment Tool

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Preschool Policy Facts

NIEER

NIEER
National Institute for Early
Education Research
120 Albany Street, Suite 500
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Tel (732) 932-4350 Fax (732) 932-4360

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Preschool Assessment:
A Guide to Developing a Balanced Approach by Ann S. Epstein, Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Andrea DeBruin-Parecki and Kenneth B. Robin
Child assessment is a vital and growing component of high-quality early childhood programs. Not only is it an important tool in understanding and supporting young children’s development, it is essential to document and evaluate program effectiveness. For assessment to be widely used though, it must employ methods that are feasible, sustainable and reasonable with regard to demands on budgets, educators and children.
Equally important, it must meet the challenging demands of validity (accuracy and effectiveness) for young children. It is the balance between efficiency and validity that demands the constant attention of policymakers — and an approach grounded in a sound understanding of appropriate methodology.

What We Know:

Policy Recommendations:

• Assessment is an ongoing process that includes collecting, synthesizing and interpreting information about pupils, the classroom and their instruction.

• Require that measures included in an assessment be selected by qualified professionals to ensure that they are reliable, valid and appropriate for the children being assessed.

• Testing is one form of assessment that, appropriately applied, systematically measures skills such as literacy and numeracy.

• Develop systems of analyses so that test scores are interpreted as part of a broader assessment that may include observations, portfolios, or ratings from teachers and/or parents. • While it does not provide a complete picture, testing is an important tool, for both its efficiency and ability to measure prescribed bodies of knowledge.
• Alternative or “authentic” forms of assessment can be culturally sensitive and pose
an

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