Principles for Early Childhood Assessments
In 1990, then President George Bush and the nation’s governors established national education goals that were to be accomplished by the year 2000. Goal 1 was stated as follows: “By the year 2000, all children in America will start school ready to learn.” Concerns about how this goal was to be measured, and the unique challenges of measuring children in the early childhood years, led to the establishment of the National Early Childhood Assessments Resource Group to establish principles and recommendations. The following principles were developed by this group (National Education Goals Panel, 1998, pp. 4–5):
Assessment should bring about benefits for children.
Assessments should be tailored to a specific purpose and should be reliable, valid, and fair for that purpose.
Assessment policies should be designed recognizing that reliability and validity of assessments increase with children’s age.
Assessments should be age appropriate in both content and the method of data collection.
Assessments should be linguistically appropriate, recognizing that to some extent all assessments are measures of language.
Parents should be a valued source of assessment information, as well as an audience for assessment results.
The National Early Childhood Assessment Resource Group further describes appropriate uses of assessment that should be used in the early childhood years, as follows:
(1) assessments to support learning,
(2) assessments for identification of special needs,
(3) assessments for program evaluation and monitoring needs, and
(4) assessments for high-stakes accountability.
© ______ 2008, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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