Both racism and classism can act as barriers to family and parent engagement in schools. This is also an opportunity for educators to discuss race with their students in order to prepare them for race-related issues they may encounter. However, a study found that many teachers are unaware of institutional racism and how it affects parents, families, and students Bernhard et al.
Similarly, working-class and middle-class families may perceive family engagement and parent involvement in schools differently; working-class families may not recognize the connection between home and school which may lead to less parent involvement Lareau, ; Lareau and Horvat, A study also found that working-class and low-income parents may be less involved due to feelings of insecurity in their academic skills or because of their own negative experiences they may have had in school Lareau, ; Lawrence-Lightfoot, The care and education workforce needs to be prepared to recognize and address these barriers to family engagement Ambe, ; Bloch and Swadener, ; Strizek et al.
Power dynamics between parents and educators can also be a barrier to effective family engagement in schools. Some parents may feel intimidated upon entering the classroom, as they may reflect back on their own childhood school experiences, which may have been negative Lawrence-Lightfoot, In order to eliminate the uneven dynamic, the educator has the responsibility to recognize and address any power issues in order to help parents feel comfortable communicating about the child Doucet and Tudge, ; Lawrence-Lightfoot, While early learning standards provide a roadmap for what young children should know and be able to do, early care and education professionals, including practitioners and leaders, also need the competencies to understand how individual and groups of children are learning and developing across the birth through age 8 continuum.
In the course of their work, early. Are mainstreamed children with special education classifications making the anticipated progress? What competencies do children possess as they enter kindergarten? Are children in a program for infants and toddlers developing significantly better than similar children who are not receiving services? Care and education professionals and policy leaders need information in order to modify instruction, support curriculum reform, fund new and existing programs, and develop regulations that will support student learning.
Therefore, child assessments serve a variety of purposes Chittenden and Jones, Sometimes the term suggests a more diagnostic function, for example, to identify children with special needs. Across all levels of education systems, assessments can be used to inform continuous quality improvement Chittenden, ; Chittenden and Jones, The intended purpose of assessment should determine its content; the methods used to collect information; and the nature of the possible uses—and consequences—for individual students, teachers, schools, or programs.
It is confusion of purpose that often leads to misuse of tests and other instruments in early childhood. Instruments designed for one purpose, such as identification, may be totally inappropriate for another, such as measuring the success of a program. Assessments can inform teaching and program improvement and make a crucial contribution to better outcomes for children, but only if they are selected appropriately, matched to their purpose, well designed, implemented effectively in the context of systematic planning, and interpreted and used appropriately.
Otherwise, assessment of children and programs can result in negative consequences for both. The potential value of assessments will therefore only be realized if fundamental attention is paid to their purpose NRC, Realizing the potential value of assessment also requires attention to the design of the larger systems in which assessments are used. Although this section focuses on the ability of care and education professionals to conduct child assessments, it is important to emphasize that such child assessment should not occur in isolation but rather as a component of a comprehensive assessment system, as described in Box NRC, Assessments: Multiple approaches to documenting child development and learning and reviewing program quality that are of high quality and connect to one another in well-defined ways, from which strategic selection can be made depending on specific purposes.
Reporting: Maintenance of an integrated database of assessment instruments and results with appropriate safeguards of confidentiality that is accessible to potential users, that provides information about how the instruments and scores relate to standards, and that can generate reports for varied audiences and purposes. Professional development: Ongoing opportunities provided to those at all levels policy makers, program directors, assessment administrators, practitioners to understand the standards and the assessments and to learn to use the data and data reports with integrity for their appropriate purposes.
Opportunity to learn: Procedures to assess whether the environments in which children are spending time offer high-quality support for development and learning, as well as safety, enjoyment, and affectively positive relationships, and to direct support to those that fall short. Inclusion: Methods and procedures for ensuring that all children served by the program will be assessed fairly, regardless of their language, culture, or disabilities, and with tools that provide useful information for fostering their development and learning.
Resources: The assurance that the financial resources needed to ensure the development and implementation of the system components will be available. Monitoring and evaluation: Continuous monitoring of the system itself to ensure that it is operating effectively and that all elements are working together to serve the interests of the children. This entire infrastructure must be in place to create and sustain an assessment subsystem within a larger system of early childhood care and education. Stiggins , , coined the term assessment literacy to describe the ability of care and education professionals to understand how to.
The discussion in this section focuses on the principles of assessment and some of the tools and approaches that care and education professionals should be familiar with and able to use as they investigate questions about the progress of children and programs. Key to applying these principles using the assessment tools described in the next section is for professionals to be trained not only in how to administer assessments but also in how to interpret their results and apply that information to make changes in instructional practices and learning environments Kauerz and Coffman, ; Tout et al.
In addition, data collection, interpretation, and sharing in ongoing practice need to be supported through structured and facilitated means to ensure the quality of the data analysis, interpretation, and use.
Leaders in educational settings as. In many settings, accountability requirements increasingly demand unprecedented amounts of data gathering. This demand may be having unintended consequences in detracting from meaningful interpretation and use of assessment data. A shift may be required to decrease the volume of data collection and reorient the current focus on reporting and compliance in favor of devoting more time, support, and resources to data analysis, interpretation, and use Lesaux and Marietta, ; Lesaux et al. There exists an array of tools that, when selected wisely and according to the purpose for which they were intended, administered appropriately, and interpreted accurately, can inform practice and policy to help create successful learning environments and achieve strong outcomes for children.
The terms used in any assessment discussion e. At appropriate ages, all of these sources can be useful. Screening is the use of a brief procedure or tool to identify children who may require a more in-depth diagnostic assessment to determine whether they need more in-depth intervention services. When such services are needed, the follow-up typically requires coordination among families, early educators, and medical or early intervention specialists NRC, Screening competencies include the knowledge and ability to help ensure that health and developmental screenings are being administered at the right stages and using appropriate, valid screening tools; skills in early identification of the potential need for further assessment and referral for developmental delays, mental health issues, and other such concerns; skills to help families find necessary resources; and skills for follow-up on the outcomes of referrals HRSA, n.
Diagnostic assessment is used to better describe an identified problem, to locate a cause, or both. A child identified by a screening assessment as possibly having delayed language development, for example, needs further assessment to determine whether an actual delay exists; whether there are other, related delays e.
Research indicates that formative assessment is an effective teaching strategy Akers et al. It helps all children learn, but helps lower-achieving children the most. They gain not only subject-matter knowledge but also cognitive competencies often already attained by higher-achieving children. Formative assessment is an important part of the cycle of understanding the levels of thinking at which students are operating, identifying the next level of thinking they should learn, and matching this to educational activities to support that learning Clements and Sarama, ; Clements et al.
Compared with assessments that are merely curriculum based, curriculum-embedded assessments have the potential to address higher-level thinking and understanding, which has the added advantage of being intrinsically more interesting to students. In addition, although there is reasonable concern that assessments can narrow curriculum and teaching, comprehensive, research-based assessment instruments often individually administered Clements et al. Summative assessments typically are carried out at the completion of a program of learning, such as at the end of an instructional unit, to de-.
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Early, D. Barbarin, D. Bryant, M. Burchinal, F. Chang, R. Clifford, G. Crawford, W. Weaver, C. Some views are based on the experience of people who have attended special schools and in some cases have felt deprived of opportunities that they could have been afforded in mainstream schools. Other views are based on the experiences of parents who struggle to find adequate provision in mainstream schools and of children who feel isolated and unable to keep up with their peers.
It has often seemed that it is only possible to be on one side or the other: you are either in favour of special schools, or against them and in favour of integrated education. Learning Disability Practice. Recommend to your librarian. Pair Token.
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