Gayle Mindes, Gayle Mindes Interview

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    • 00:01

      [MUSIC PLAYING][SAGE video experts][How would you describe Early Childhood Assessmentto your students?][Gayle Mindes, EdD Professor of Early Childhood Education,DePaul University]

    • 00:12

      GAYLE MINDES: Early childhood assessmentis the integral part of the teaching and learningprocess in both child care and education settings.It begins with a foundation of observation and proceedsto include other formal and informal instrumentsso that teachers, caregivers, families,and other professionals can plan and implementeducational activities as well as interventionwhen it's needed.

    • 00:51

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: [How is Early Childhood Assessment a relevant areaof study for today's students?]

    • 00:59

      GAYLE MINDES: Early childhood assessmentis at the heart of teaching.It anchors our practice for all of our workwith babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners,and primary age students.We assess and then we teach and then we reteach.

    • 01:22

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: We need to always have in mind that teachingis a process and assessment is at the heart of it.[What inspired you to research the area of Early ChildhoodAssessment?]

    • 01:38

      GAYLE MINDES: I've always been curiousabout the way in which people learn.And long ago, in my undergraduate daysat the University of Kansas, I studied both Piagetand also studied with some of the foremost leadersin special education so that I came at educationas a problem-solving adventure.

    • 02:06

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: [What key thinkers/researc hers/practitioners have mostinspired you, and who continues to influence you?]

    • 02:13

      GAYLE MINDES: I anchor my thinkingin Piagetian philosophy, and I firststudied Piaget with Frances Degen Horowitzat the University of Kansas.And I encourage people to read the translated versionsof Piaget rather than the interpretations.

    • 02:34

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: For example, one of the common misperceptionsis that Piaget did not care about the social situation,but he described learning as happening in a social contextand he wrote many books that include that perspective.

    • 02:57

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: Other theorists that, of course, are dominant in early childhoodinclude Vygotsky, which gives us the conceptof a zone of proximal developmentas well as scaffolding learning, which, in common terms,means assessing where the child isand then helping the child to meet the next level.

    • 03:24

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: And if he isn't able to do what you ask him to do or show himto do, then you figure out a way to make that bridgebased on what he shows.In terms of other influences in the field,I think the work done at HighScope--which is following Head Start graduates for a number of yearsand documenting that Head Start worksand documenting it early in our history of early childhoodeducation, relatively speaking-- is important work.

    • 04:09

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: Other people in the assessment field,I would call Sam Meisels with The Ounce and the Work SamplingMethod.Diana Trister Dodge with the GOLD.All of those instruments are holistic.They help teachers meet outcomes,which are required today.

    • 04:30

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: [Can you take us through the history of the field of EarlyChildhood Assessment?]

    • 04:36

      GAYLE MINDES: Well, I think that the assessment history is--the foundation probably begins with the grandmothersand grandfathers of our time.In the past, observation was the preferred and only methodthat-- and I don't want to go way, way, way back.

    • 05:05

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: But if we look at observation as a foundational methodof assessing children today and in the past,the misperception is that you've just watched kids.But without the documentation which we collect todayin checklists, in anecdotal notes,running records, and other means-- videotaping,for example-- are important ways of documentingan observation so that you know what you're seeingand can compare it to what you are expectedto do in the case of the stakeholders,of the families and the babies and toddlersyoung children know also what to do.

    • 06:02

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: [How important is research methodology and methodsfor a rigorous analysis of Early Childhood Assessment?]

    • 06:09

      GAYLE MINDES: Well, I think that any kind of research methodis appropriate for studying assessment techniques,and it incorporates program evaluation, whichis-- the ultimate best example of that is the HighsScope workand it includes quantification and statistical methodsas we develop instruments that need to be calibratedand it also includes qualitative methodsas we are looking at building theory.

    • 06:46

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: [What are the key debates or research questions in EarlyChildhood Assessment?]

    • 06:52

      GAYLE MINDES: I believe that there are some debates thatare somewhat false in that-- one strong debate-- and this beganprimarily with the passage of No Child Left Behind-- isthat standardized tests are bad, and theyare particularly bad for young children.

    • 07:21

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: But I think that is a false debatein that standardized tests do have academic rigor,and they need do perform a way of identifying childrenwith special needs.So they entitle them to services.They provide information to the policymakersabout achievement of children.

    • 07:46

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: However, what then is the issue is using any one measureas a determiner for a child's life.So all assessment should be multiple assessments.That is, we should not make life-altering decisionsfor children based on one measure-- whateverthe measure is.

    • 08:17

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: And sometimes, we think that standardized testsare the only bad guys in the room.However, I would invite people to thinkabout qualitative assessments thathave maybe affected their lives.For example, trying out for a cheerleaderor trying out for a play or trying out for a choir.

    • 08:41

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: Sometimes, those tryouts involve a zero-sum game.That is, you are either in or out.So sometimes, we think that observation is unbiased.However, we know increasingly, in our multicultural society,that people have certain attitudes and beliefs about howchildren should behave.

    • 09:08

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: And those may be biased so that it is not necessarily truethat observation or qualitative methods are unbiased.So the best approach in thinking about assessmentof young children is triangulation of the data.That is, looking at the observations,looking at the outcome assessments, and alsothe child's past record.

    • 09:37

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: [How has technology influenced the field of Early ChildhoodAssessment?What involvements has technology caused?What challenges has it caused?]

    • 09:43

      GAYLE MINDES: I think that, in the early childhoodfield in particular, technology is notwidely used at the moment.It's increasingly becoming used.And it will be used with the assessment of the Common CoreState Standards, which are variously developedby the PARCC Consortium and Smarter Balanceddepending on which region of the country you live in,as well as those states that may developtheir own system to assess young children.

    • 10:23

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: Because the plan is-- particularly with the PARCC,for example-- to use the iPad to have childrenenter their answers.So this means that technology will become more and moreevident, and I invite anyone who thinks technology should notbe used with young children to go to a restaurant one dayand watch to see what kids are doing.

    • 10:53

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: And in terms of best practices, the National Associationfor Education of Young Children has recentlypublished a technology position statement,and there are a couple of very good booksout about the proper way to use technology with young children.

    • 11:13

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: And the advantage it has for teachersis the capacity to-- either a teacher or the childentering answers or data and then gettingan immediate organization of that data.

    • 11:33

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: One example is the DIBLES, which was developedat the University of Oregon, and it has, originally, PDAs.I'm sure we've evolved beyond that.And the Map Test published by the Northwest EducationAssociation-- NWEA-- which also has the capacityto translate data into forms that teachers can immediatelyuse.

    • 12:06

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: So technology is important.[What are some of the biggest contributions that researchin Early Childhood Assessment has made for society?]

    • 12:14

      GAYLE MINDES: Well, Head Start is 50 years old.And we know from-- not only the HighScope studies,but others-- that it works, that it helps for young childrento have access to education.There are other studies that showthat we should be having educationfor all young children at age four.

    • 12:39

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: So I think that we know that early experiencewith English language arts and mathreally help children be well-rounded.The critical issue in early childhood educationI think today is access.Who has access to early childhood education?

    • 13:02

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: We know, from studies a few years ago-- maybe longerthan I think-- that about 95% of the children whocome to kindergarten have been in some kind of early childhoodenvironment.Often that is a child care center.So then the issue is-- what is the quality of the child carecenter, and what experiences are beingprovided for the children?

    • 13:30

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: Hopefully, as a society, we can learnto recognize that the most highly-qualified teachersshould be in early childhood settings.In many states, you do not need to have a communitycollege or a four-year degree in orderto be a child care teacher.

    • 13:55

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: We need to change that.The fastest growing market in early childhoodis in infant/toddler care.And in that situation, we often havethe least-qualified teachers.So we need to change that.We need to raise salaries and appreciate the value, the careand education of these important people in children's lives.

    • 14:20

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: Think about a child spending 10 or 12 hours in a child carecenter.These are profound influencers on child developmentand learning.[How has Early Childhood Assessment changed in recentyears, and what developments do you consider most significant?]

    • 14:35

      GAYLE MINDES: I think that early childhood assessment sharesa history both with the Child CareMovement and the Special Education Movement.So that when we think about the IDEA, which governs practicesfor special education, and the beginning requirements that allstates-- initially, it was voluntary,but it is no longer voluntary-- provideeducation for early intervention.

    • 15:16

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: That is, for children who are, at birth,known to have special needs.So as that history has influenced us,we have developed more instruments to help teachersand other professionals know how to assess young children.And then the other issue-- the other, I think,primary influences I mentioned earlier, the work of SamMeisels and Diana Trister Dodge.

    • 15:50

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: Both have developed very good systemsto be used by schools and child care centers,and they are tied to outcomes.They both have done extensive researchto be able to build sound instruments.[What are some practical benefits of studying EarlyChildhood Assessment for a student's future academicor professional career?]

    • 16:12

      GAYLE MINDES: For studying assessment,they will become better teachers.They will have an opportunity to hearabout the history and the philosophy of assessment.They will learn how to use standardized instruments,whether it is the multiple choice tests thatare used generally at third gradeor whether it is the kind of instrument thatis used by classroom teachers.

    • 16:40

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: For example, the Fountas & Pinnellor other instruments that will help themknow exactly where they should position the educationfor children, where they should do their planning sothat the children will learn.[What would you identify as the key challenges of a coursein Early Childhood Assessment for a student,and what strategies would you advise them to counter thesechallenges?]

    • 17:02

      GAYLE MINDES: One major challengeis often that many early childhood majorscome into the field thinking that they "hate math."And so hating math, they forget that math is basicallya logical system and that they needto understand what the meaning behind the statisticsof testing are in order to be able to interpretthe assessment for the families and for themselvesand to know how to plan for children.

    • 17:38

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: They need to make friends with the terminologyand study it as if it is a foreign language--to study it regularly and to use it in their practice.[If a student could read one book or journal articlein Early Childhood Assessment to inspire/motivate them whatwould it be and why?]

    • 17:54

      GAYLE MINDES: Well, it's hard not to recommend my own book.Assessing Young Children is in its 5th edition,and my co-author, Lee Ann Jung, from the University of Kentuckyadded a great deal to the book sothat it does have both traditional early childhoodinformation as well as special education information in it.

    • 18:20

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: It is used widely in pre-service programs.[What new research directions do you find most exciting?]

    • 18:30

      GAYLE MINDES: I think that the continued documentationof how children learn is important.I think it is also important for usto develop ways of teaching English learnersand to assess them appropriately.And for that, I would turn to the WITA Initiativeat the University of Wisconsin, and that'sgoing to become more and more importantbecause our society is becoming more and more diverse.

    • 19:08

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: I think that best practices in technologyand the use of technology, both for teachers and familiesand children, is going to be important as well.[What is the WITA Initiative, and how would you define itsimportance?]

    • 19:29

      GAYLE MINDES: WITA is a research centerat the University of Wisconsin thatincludes a consortium of states that are working toward makingassessment appropriate and useful and culturallysignificant for, not just early childhood education,but all ages.

    • 20:06

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: And they have recently come out with kitsthat can be used by teachers to assessthe English proficiency of English learners.[Where would you like to take your own research?]

    • 20:25

      GAYLE MINDES: Most of my researchhas been program evaluation, and it's somethingthat I enjoy doing.The last project that I worked onwas looking at how children, in a child care center servingchildren living in poverty, were acquiring early literacyskills, how the teachers were usingthat, the outcomes measures they were using,the GOLD instrument.

    • 21:01

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: And we looked at, not only what the children wereaccomplishing, but how the teachers wereusing the materials and what was neededto help them use them better in their teaching.I like to do work that involves urban classroomsand trying to make education better for urban children.

    • 21:32

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: I've spent my whole life living in a city, so.[What is the GOLD instrument, and how would you define itsimportance?]

    • 21:40

      GAYLE MINDES: The GOLD is an assessment instrument developedby Diana Trister Dodge and her associates,and it is correlated with Common Core Standards.It was developed long before the Common Core became in practice,and it is an observational-based instrumentso that teachers can assess whether the children aremeeting the various benchmarks in English language arts, math,and other indicators.

    • 22:15

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: And then with this data, centers can aggregate the dataso that they have a picture of howall the classrooms are doing.They can use the data to make plans for education.They can compare their performanceto national situations.

    • 22:38

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: So it's a very robust and interesting and importantinstrument.It also can be used by teachers whohave limited pedagogical training.[Where do you see Early Childhood Assessment going overthe next five years?]

    • 22:53

      GAYLE MINDES: Well, I hope early childhood assessment willcontinue to focus attention on helping teachers understandthe importance of data use and teaching to outcomes.Oftentimes, we think about teaching to the testas being bad.

    • 23:16

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: However, what we want to do is to be surethat children are acquiring the standardsthat their state or their child care center have set for them,and we need to regularly check ourselvesto be sure that they have.When we think back to the history of No Child LeftBehind, that legislation came out of the need for familiesto be better informed about the achievement of their children.

    • 23:48

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: I remember, years ago, an example.This was of a middle school graduate going to high school.And the family said that their childhad earned A's all the way through math.And when the child got to high school,he was put in the lowest math group.

    • 24:17

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: So the parent said, "How can this be?Why did this happen?"Well, the elementary school said, "Well,we thought he was working to his potential."And so the issue really was they were "thinking"that they knew what the child could do without any evidence,and so the parents were surprised.

    • 24:42

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: The child was surprised, and he didn'tget any special help along the way.We can't do that any longer.We must know what the achievement is for children.We must be able to teach so that theycan learn what they need to learn.All children.And we need the resources to provide special interventionwhen it is required.

    • 25:09

      GAYLE MINDES [continued]: [MUSIC PLAYING][SAGE video SAGE Publications 2015]

Gayle Mindes, Gayle Mindes Interview

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Abstract

Dr. Gayle Mindes examines early childhood assessment, answers questions on current studies and describes the history of this field, its important debates and key thinkers.

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Gayle Mindes, Gayle Mindes Interview

Dr. Gayle Mindes examines early childhood assessment, answers questions on current studies and describes the history of this field, its important debates and key thinkers.

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