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Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How
early learning guidelines represent a set of aspirations about what children should be able to do, and the social benchmarking assessments provide information about the reality.
ADVANCING KNOWLEDGE OF CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Finally, a major purpose of assessment—and a major source of the assessments widely used for the purposes discussed in this chapter—is for research to advance knowledge of child development. It goes far beyond our charge to discuss in any detail the use of assessments for research purposes. Furthermore, there exist robust mechanisms—peer review of journal articles, peer review of grant proposals, institutional review boards for the use of human subjects—for providing guidance to researchers in selecting, administering, and interpreting the results of assessments of young children. Nonetheless, because researchers of child development have indeed innovated and in many cases refined the tools adopted for use by education practitioners and policy makers, it seems churlish not to acknowledge this important and generative line of work.
GUIDELINES FOR ADMINISTERING AND USINGCHILD ASSESSMENTS APPROPRIATELYFOR VARIOUS PURPOSES
Organizations concerned with early childhood development and learning have recognized the potential good that can come of child assessment as well as the harm that incorrect uses or interpretations of such assessments can cause. Several of them have developed position statements or guidelines for the use of assessments with young children, with the intention of maximizing the benefits and preventing harm. Some of these documents are listed in Box 2-1.
The more recent of them incorporate and expand on earlier ones to a large extent. Thus, the entire set represents a relatively coherent set of guidelines for selection, use, and interpretation of early childhood assessments. Several of these documents agree, for example, on the following important guidelines for individual assessment: