—National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), 2003
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Assessing Children’s Growth
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Academic assessments have received a lot of media attention over the last decade. From the topic of political debates to rants on social media, the assessments which gauge academic progress radiate polarized views about effectiveness, validity, and cost. For every supporter who links testing to accountability, there is a colleague, family member, or friend who opposes mandated testing due to its omnipresence throughout the school year.
Interestingly enough, assessment is not a new idea. Assessing academic progress has naturally gone hand in hand with schooling as far back as anyone can remember. From the earliest records of apprenticeships to the first brick and mortar schools, assessments have determined whether young children were retaining information and furthermore, if they could demonstrate mastery against a specific set of standards.
What then, has changed; and, where do you lie on the assessment spectrum? Are assessments the pillars to ensure the promotion of healthy development for all young children; or, do these assessments and their external factors restrict and distort early learning experiences?
In this Discussion, you explore the role of assessments in today’s early childhood programs. You also examine the controversy that is commonly associated with this piece of the program evaluation process.