The purpose of preschool evaluation

January 02, 2020

The process of gathering information about the child, analyzing and reviewing the information followed by using this information to plan educational activities is known as the assessment or evaluation of the child. It is used to understand the level at which the child is at academically and what all is he able to learn.

This kind of evaluation is crucial for developing a high-quality program in the early childhood of the kid. When the evaluation is conducted, the child is observed thoroughly to gain a deep insight into what he knows and what he can do. The educator can record the growth and development of the child. With this gathered information they can start to plan effective activities for the child which is individualized to each child.

This evaluation can further be shared with the parents of the children who can keep track of their child’s progress. They can understand the skills, abilities, and interests of their children in a better manner. They can also plan the kind of learning the child will go through at home.

Methods of assessment

There are two methods of child assessment: Formal and Informal. Formal methods include the use of questionnaires and standard tests whereas Informal methods include conduction of natural observations, collection of data and work of children for portfolios using the ratings of the teachers and the educators. Both methods are equally effective and can help educators and teachers in developing the assessment quite accurately.

Observations:

The very basic method of observing the child should be made with minimal or almost no intrusion into the activities of the children. The educators should observe all the skills of development including social/emotional, physical development, intellectual and linguistic on a daily basis. It is important to create a routine out of this since the children tend to act differently on different days and you never know what we might get to observe about them.

Portfolios:

Portfolios are the end results of observations. A record of the data that is collected of the work that has been produced by children over a period of time is called as their portfolio. This collection is a clear reflection of the child’s progress. The portfolios can help in the final analysis of the growth and development of the child. It can also be a crucial tool in maintaining clear communication about the child between the teachers and the parents.

Educator ratings :

The ratings given by the educator to the children can be useful in evaluating the cognitive and language abilities of the children. They can also help in understanding their social/emotional development. These ratings can also be linked with other methods of assessment like Standardized testing.

Parent ratings:

It is important to integrate the parents’ contribution to the evaluation process in order to make it holistic. It also makes the parents more involved in their child’s development process. Parents should be encouraged to observe and listen to their children as much as possible. A child’s behavior outside school is different than that of a controlled environment. These observations will help the educator in detecting and targeting important behaviors and milestones in the child’s development.

Standardized Tests:

The tests that are developed to fit a set of testing standards are called Standardized tests. They are administered and scored in the prescribed standard manner and they are often used for assessing the child’s performance in a program.

Importance of the evaluations

Holistic understanding of growth:

The assessment can provide a record of growth in all the areas of skill development. It is not restricted to just one aspect. It can help the parents and the teachers understand the child’s cognitive skills, emotional and social skills, language skills and physical or motor skills.

Helps in decision making:

It helps in identifying the areas where the child is lacking or isn’t able to understand as much as his/her classmates. The assessment also helps in determining if there is even a need for the parents or the teachers to help the child improve in the areas he/she is lacking in or the child will himself come at par with his fellow mates.

Development of personalized activities:

This kind of evaluation assists educators in developing individualized programs, if required, for the child. Or even, it helps them develop a group program if a few children stand at the same level and can participate in the same activity for their growth.

Evaluate the programs designed :

The educator is also able to identify the positives and the negatives of the programs designed by post-evaluating the results of the activities conducted. They can measure how much the program has met the needs of the children. If there are any shortcomings, the programs can be altered for the whole group or for individuals, depending on the situation.

Provides a common ground:

The educators provide a common platform for the parents to come and discuss the strategies that can be used for the development of the child. It helps parents to keep up constantly with the growth of their children. It also acts as a reason for communication between the parents and the educators.

Use of self-assessment :

The educator can also encourage the children to participate in their own assessment. This activity will make children self-critical. They will also realize where they are going wrong. It will also help in developing a sense of sincerity among the children to analyze themselves properly.

Implementation of the assessment

Align the assessment with instructional goals and approaches:

Every assessment has a different purpose. It is important to determine first what exactly needs to be measured. Followed by clearly understanding the same, the assessment program that assesses those goals the best should be looked for.

Assessor knows the child:

The assessor is usually the educator. It is important for the assessor to have a pre-existing bond with the child so that the child is comfortable enough to have the assessor surround him and observe him.

Assessment should be authentic:

The assessment should happen in the normal settings of the children. It should analysis the everyday experiences and relationships of the child. It should be conducted in the places the child is quite familiar with.If the assessment is conducted in a new environment, the child might have a different reaction altogether in order to adjust first in the new environment.

Observations should be diverse and ongoing:

For an accurate evaluation, the assessment and observations should be conducted throughout all the activities of the child. The assessment should go on throughout the day in order to fully assess the progress of the child.

Assessment should be in a cycle:

The process of evaluation is cyclical even though the specific methods for the same keep varying. This cyclical method allows educators to keep altering their curriculum to serve the children better through their programs.

Concluding from the above, it is extremely crucial to conduct the evaluation of the child in his or her preschool years to make the child ready for school and equip him with better skills.

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