This chapter is intended to help you:
• think about assessment for learning and assessment of learning
• understand the relationship between assessment and evaluation.
This chapter will examine the relationship between observation, assessment and evaluation. The interrelated nature of assessment and evaluation is explored, along with its implications for the roles of teachers, children, families and communities. We present examples of assessment for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, plus give a case study of a curriculum leader in one school who generated a school-based curriculum. We will explore curriculum evaluation and assessment practices. In the first part of this chapter, the concept of assessment is further elaborated (building on Chapter 7), in order to build a context for discussing the relationships between assessment and curriculum evaluation.
evaluation the range of methods used by teachers and other stakeholders to monitor whether the curriculum is effective in promoting children's learning and is using the most appropriate methods of teaching, learning and assessment
curriculum the aims or objectives, content or subject matter, methods or procedures, and assessment or evaluation associated with a program of teaching and learning for a specific group of learners
What is assessment?
What I like is this question of ‘Do we really know the children?’ When we were talking about that, straight away for me it was: ‘No, we don't, and we don't have any mechanisms in place that assist us’, and I was thinking to myself: ‘How do we do that?’ (teacher reflections) (Fleer 2015).
In the previous chapter, we discussed how teachers in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere are using observation and narrative methodologies as a way of documenting their observations of children learning. We alsomade the point that observation has been a primary means of assessment in many early childhood settings for many years. In primary schools, a wider range of assessment methods have typically been used, but there continues to be enormous debate around which methods should be used with younger children. (See, for example, the special issue of Young Children, January 2012, 67(1).)
assessment the range of methods used by teachers to monitor whether children are achieving learning aims and objectives and gaining new knowledge of content and subject matter
What is the purpose of assessment?
Is the purpose of assessment to gather information for the child, for the teacher or for the system?