Assessment for Learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage

Books

Jonathan Glazzard, Denise Chadwick, Anne Webster & Julie Percival

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    Key to Icons

    Chapter Objectives

    Reflective Activity

    Case Study

    Useful Websites

    Key Points

    Further Reading

    Abbreviations

    APPAssessing Pupils' Progress
    CAFCommon Assessment Framework
    CLLCommunication, Language and Literacy
    DCSFDepartment for Children, Schools and Families
    DfESDepartment for Education and Science
    EALEnglish as an Additional Language
    ECMEvery Child Matters
    EELEffective Early Learning
    EPPEEffective Provision of Pre-school Education
    EYFSEarly Years Foundation Stage
    EYFSPEarly Years Foundation Stage Profile
    EYPSEarly Years Professional Status
    ICTInformation and Communications Technology
    LCTLanguage Communication and Thinking
    NAANational Assessment Agency
    OfstedOffice for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills
    PSEDPersonal, Social and Emotional Development
    PVAPolyvinyl Acetate
    QTSQualified Teacher Status
    REPEYResearching Effective Pedagogy in Early Years
    SATsStandard Assessment Tests
    SCSESelf-Confidence and Self-Esteem
    SEADSocial and Emotional Areas of Development
    SEALSocial and Emotional Aspects of Learning
    SENSpecial Educational Needs
    SENCOSpecial Educational Needs Coordinator
    TACTeam Around the Child

    Acknowledgements

    We would like to express our thanks to all who have contributed to this text. We give particular thanks to the children, students and practitioners of Kirklees, Calderdale and Barnsley who agreed to take part in this work. With particular thanks to Kay Davies (Kirklees Early Years Service) who has kindly shared a small portion of the rich and respectful collaboration with parents undertaken in Kirklees. We hope that this text does justice to their learning stories.

    About the Authors

    Jonathan Glazzard is a Senior Lecturer and Course Leader for Primary Education (Qualified Teacher Status - QTS) at the University of Huddersfield. Prior to this he worked as a primary schoolteacher for 10 years. He champions the importance of formative assessment in his teaching and the need to use assessment to inform planning and teaching. His research interests lie in the area of special and inclusive education.

    Denise Chadwick is a Senior Lecturer in early years education and Course Leader for Childhood Studies at the University of Huddersfield. For more than 20 years she taught in primary school environments, working with children in the early years. She believes passionately that the care and education that children receive in their earliest years will without question influence all that they are and achieve in their later years. It is because of this she feels privileged to have taken part in this journey with so many children.

    Anne Webster works as a nursery teacher and a local authority consultant. She has extensive experience of working with very young children. She firmly believes that all children have the right to quality pre-school education and has worked tirelessly towards this aim over the past 20 years. She has also supported trainee teachers and she has contributed to training sessions in the university.

    Julie Percival is Course Leader for the postgraduate routes to Early Years Professional Status and teaches on the Sector Endorsed Foundation Degree in Early Years at the University of Huddersfield. Julie has been teaching (and learning) for over 20 years and has supported children in a variety of contexts, including special schools, maintained schools, pre-school playgroups and private day nurseries.

    Preface

    How to Use This Book

    Current education policy stresses the importance of formative and summative assessment in finding out about what children know and can do. This text supports the notion that every child is a unique learner and that children have different starting points in their learning which are often influenced by specific earlier experiences such as home environments and pre-school. Assessment for learning should therefore be positive and celebrate children's achievements. Current educational policy in the early years emphasises the importance of ongoing formative assessment as a way of celebrating individual achievements, children's interests and next possible steps in learning. This text supports this approach and argues that assessment should be informal, regular and should inform future planning.

    Theoretical perspectives, key theories and leading pedagogical approaches are addressed in this text. We emphasise within this text a values-led approach to assessment. We stress that children are holistic learners and that practitioners must adopt a principled approach to their practice.

    The Early Years Foundation Stage framework (DCSF 2008c) emphasises the importance of practitioners observing children's learning, sharing interpretations and making use of this information to plan for their possible next steps in learning. Assessment should be the starting point for all planning and practitioners should use observation to find out about children's interests, learning needs and achievements (DCSF 2008c). This information can then be used to identify a range of future learning needs. This text addresses the range of ways through which children's achievements can be documented, including the use of self and peer assessment.

    It is crucial that practitioners find respectful and innovative ways of involving parents, carers and extended family members in assessment. Parents and carers in particular should be encouraged and supported to contribute to their child's assessment profile and they should have access to these assessment records. The voice of the child within assessment is also paramount and practitioners should privilege the views of children in the assessment process. This text addresses these important issues and provides practical suggestions for involving parents, carers and children in assessment.

    The use of summative assessment in the Early Years Foundation Stage is discussed and this text provides practitioners with useful guidance on ways in which summative assessment data can be analysed. The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile is discussed in terms of what it is and how it can work. The role of assessment for identifying and supporting children with Special Educational Needs is also considered.

    The current move to increase the emphasis placed on teacher assessment within Key Stage 1 is welcomed. Practitioners working within Key Stage 1 should document children's achievements in a range of ways rather than relying on the outcomes of formal tests. There is real potential to learn from best practice in the Early Years Foundation Stage so that Key Stage 1 practitioners are able to build on the approaches to assessment used within the early years. This text offers some practical suggestions for ways in which each child's assessment journey can be continued.

    Within this text we make use of several key features. These are listed below:

    Case Studies: The case studies presented in this book draw on examples of practice from a range of settings, including playgroups, nurseries and schools.

    Reflective Activities: Reflective activities enable students to think critically and rigorously about their practice. They invite readers to draw on their understanding of the purpose and process of assessment and challenge their practical application of this learning to a range of activities. The activities are creatively designed to engage readers in a range of assessment strategies and encourage skills in making personal reflection on their learning, for further professional practice.

    Key Points: The key points are included as a way of challenging understanding about the concept of assessment and the wider discussion of this topic that exists within each chapter. They have been thoughtfully written to encourage consideration of certain aspects of teaching and learning that impact upon making effective assessment, such as organisation of the learning environment and systems for gathering assessment. The points identify useful reminders about making observation of children in learning contexts, promoting discussion with other professionals about evidence that is gathered and making forward planning to enhance children's opportunities for further learning.

    Further Reading: The authors have included signposts to additional texts and literature that offer additional understanding and opinion about early years practice and related theory, linked to making assessment with children.

    Useful Websites: The websites that have been listed at the end of each chapter are often linked to the specific chapter content and present an opportunity for making extended personal research.

    This book is directed at students on a range of (QTS) Qualified Teacher Status, Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) and early years courses. The aim of the text is to deepen students' understanding of assessment for learning and to stimulate their thinking about how they might approach assessment within their own practice.

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