Monitoring and Assessment in Early Years

4531 Words19 Pages
Child Study and Classroom Based Observation
Should We Make Time To Watch and Listen?


The traditional place for assessment within teaching is at the end of a topic or significant time period when the teacher wishes to know how much information students have retained. This form of assessment often takes the form of a written test that is designed to give students a grade or level.

Many researchers, however, believe that teaching and learning is a cyclical process that begins and ends with assessment:

Assessment is a tool that begins and ends successful teaching. At the beginning it establishes what is currently known and at the end it establishes what has been learnt as the result of the planned curriculum.
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Qualitative data is not numerical and is more likely to take the form of observations or interviews. Obviously, it is very difficult to perform any statistical analysis on this kind of data. A further problem is that another researcher cannot replicate this data and therefore it is difficult to check the validity of what has been written. Researchers using this kind of data must be careful to avoid subjectivity, that is, they must avoid letting their personal beliefs or preferences affect the way they record and interpret the data. The advantage of this form of data collection is that it allows the researcher to answer open-ended questions; consequently, it is more flexible. Qualitative data also provides opportunities to explain the context of an observation and can therefore present a fuller picture (OU, 2001).

The data gathered in this child study is qualitative in nature. This was the best option because much of the information was collected in a free-play environment and it was felt that open-ended information gathering would provide a more accurate overall picture of the child in question.

The observations that have been made in this study are an example of formative assessment:

Formative assessment provides feedback to teachers and students of their current performance, achievements, strengths and weaknesses
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