Selection: Book reporting on a major early childhood study from the National Academies Press:
Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How (2008)
By Catherine E. Snow and Susan B. Van Hemel, Editors; Committee on Developmental Outcomes and Assessments for Young Children; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Board on Testing and Assessment; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Research Council
The assessment of young children’s development and learning has recently taken on new importance. Private and government organizations are developing programs to enhance the school readiness of all young children, especially children from economically disadvantaged homes and communities and children with special needs.
“We confront a fundamental and disturbing fact: Children need people in order to become human…child rearing is not something children can do for themselves…it is through interaction with adults and children of different ages that a child acquires new interests and skills and learns the meaning of tolerance, cooperation, and compassion [and the child] develops both his ability and his identity…we are experiencing a breakdown in the process of making human beings human…we must institute changes in the education of the young so that they are exposed not only to social values but to experiences in which these values are implemented through example and personal participation.” (Bronfenbrenner, 1972, pp. 663-664)
Wishing you all of Life’s Blessings,
Well-planned and effective assessment can inform teaching and program improvement, and contribute to better outcomes for children. Current assessment practices do not universally reflect the available information about how to do assessment well. This report affirms that assessments can make crucial contributions to the improvement of children’s well-being, but only if they are well designed, implemented effectively, developed in the context of systematic planning, and are interpreted and used appropriately. Otherwise, assessment of children and programs can have negative consequences for both. The value of assessments therefore requires fundamental attention to their purpose and the design of the larger systems in which they are used….
The largest body of child-oriented federal, state, and local policies focuses on a subset of goals for child development: It is fairly uncontroversial that society should legislate and appropriate funding to ensure safety and health and to promote academic achievement. Much less attention has traditionally been devoted to happiness; trustworthiness; friendship and social relationships; membership in family, society, or nation; moral development; or leading a productive life….