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In recent years there has been growing attention on the importance of assessment in early childhood education, especially in relation to supporting children’s learning. The present study aimed to investigate early childhood educators’ perspectives and practices regarding assessment in the early years. In particular, the meanings and values which educators ascribe to assessment were explored. Moreover, the study focused on strategies educators employed, along with the associated support and challenges relating to their assessment practice. Adopting a qualitative design, in-depth interviews were conducted with eight educators from different settings, and thematic analysis was used to identify emergent themes. Subsequently, information from assessment tools that educators used in practice were collected and analysed. Findings show that educators hold diverse views and have varying approaches to assessment, using different tools and methods. Nevertheless, participants agree that assessment is important for supporting children’s learning and development. Data suggests that collaboration plays some role in aiding assessment practice, particularly collaborating with colleagues and parents; however, findings also indicate that children have limited participation in the assessment process. The study also suggests that time, structural factors, qualification and training contribute to the ease in which assessment is carried out. Delving into educators’ perspectives and practices on early years’ assessment can offer insight on what actually happens in settings and the thoughts and attitudes that direct them, while shedding light on different issues they are faced with. The author hopes that the findings of the study can direct future research investigating issues surrounding assessment practice, greater collaboration with families, and children’s agency in assessment.
Navarrete, A. (2015) Assessment in the Early Years: The Perspectives and Practices of Early Childhood Educators. Masters Dissertation, Dublin Institute of Technology, 2015.