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Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How (2008)

Chapter: Part I: Early Childhood Assessment

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Suggested Citation:"Part I: Early Childhood Assessment." National Research Council. 2008. Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12446.
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Page 13
Suggested Citation:"Part I: Early Childhood Assessment." National Research Council. 2008. Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12446.
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Page 14

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Part I Early Childhood Assessment I n this part of the report, we present an introduction to the work, in Chapter 1, with an explanation of the policy con- text for the study, the committee’s charge, the committee’s a ­ pproach to the work, and the structure of the report. In Chapter 2, we discuss purposeful assessment, emphasiz- ing the importance of determining the purposes of any assess- ment before proceeding to design, develop, or implement it. We review some common purposes for assessing young children, and introduce some guidelines for such assessments developed by respected organizations concerned with the care and education of young children. We also introduce the special issues attendant to using assessment of young children for accountability purposes. In Chapter 3, we provide some historical context for this study. We review the recent history of the development of early childhood learning standards and assessments, especially in the states and the federal government, with a discussion of the societal and governmental changes that have motivated some of these efforts. 13

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Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How Get This Book
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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.

Well-planned and effective assessment can inform teaching and program improvement, and contribute to better outcomes for children. This book 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.

Early Childhood Assessment addresses these issues by identifying the important outcomes for children from birth to age 5 and the quality and purposes of different techniques and instruments for developmental assessments.

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