Assessment in Early Childhood Education (4th Edition)

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9780131401945: Assessment in Early Childhood Education (4th Edition)
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This fourth edition of a leading book, by well-known early childhood education author Sue C. Wortham, has been thoroughly updated to incorporate the latest in traditional tests, non-traditional assessments, and informal evaluation tools. Written from the developmental perspective this field demands, the user-friendly volume speaks in understandable language, clearly explaining the unique assessment challenges posed by the developmental limitations of young children. It offers the most comprehensive coverage available of the types of assessment that are effective with children from birth to age 8 and how to use them to best advantage. In addition, it includes information on the latest standardized tests, detailed directions for interpreting assessments, and tips for thoughtfully communicating assessment results. For primary school teachers involved in preparing for, administering, interpreting, and moving forward with the results of standardized testing.

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From the Publisher:

Written at a non-technical level, this excellent text in measurement and evaluation examines both standardized and informal assessment tools from a developmental perspective, focusing entirely on children between birth and age eight. It discusses strengths and weaknesses of measurement tools in the context of their application with infants, pre-school, and early school-age children...and examines, as well, issues and controversies surrounding assessment of young children. The result is a practical framework for helping future teachers learn to work with young children, and for understanding how changing development affects assessment and evaluation of these children.

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Preface

Students preparing to become elementary school teachers take a course in tests and measurement as part of their undergraduate curriculum. Many textbooks for such courses describe both standardized and teacher-designed tests and how they are used to assess and evaluate students.

Students preparing to become teachers of young children—those from infancy through the primary grades—must be prepared to measure or evaluate children who are in the period of development called early childhood. Tests and other types of assessments designed for young children are different from those intended for children in later grades in elementary school. Because infants and children under age 8 have developmental limitations different from those of older children, a textbook that includes discussion of assessment in the early childhood years must be written from a developmental perspective.

This book is written especially for teachers and future teachers of young children. It includes information about standardized tests and, more important, other types of assessments that are appropriate for young children, such as observation, checklists, and rating scales. Assessments designed by teachers are explained both for preschool children and for kindergarten and primary grade children who are transitioning into literacy. With the ever-growing trend toward performance assessment, portfolios, and other methods of reporting a child's performance, chapters describing these strategies have been expanded and enhanced. The approach of this edition is the development of an assessment system that includes both traditional and authentic assessment strategies in a comprehensive plan. Thus, in this edition of the text, I seek to inform the reader about all types of assessments and their appropriate use.

An important factor in the assessment of young children is when and how they should be measured. This is a controversial issue. The strengths and weaknesses of each type of assessment presented are discussed, as is research on the problems surrounding testing and evaluation in early childhood. Because many sources in the literature and other textbooks do not include the limitations as well as the merits of assessment techniques, this text provides an objective perspective on issues surrounding the efficacy and effectiveness of assessment strategies.

The book is divided into four parts. Part I provides an introduction to assessment in early childhood in chapters 1 and 2. Part 11 is devoted to standardized tests and how they are designed, used, and reported in chapters 3 and 4. Informal assessments are discussed in part III. Observation, checklists, rating scales, and rubrics are covered in chapters 5 and 6, while teacher-designed strategies and performance-based strategies are described in chapters 7 and 8. Finally, part IV is devoted to the use of assessment systems and how all of the strategies discussed in the chapters leading to part IV can be incorporated into an assessment system or comprehensive assessment plan.

Earlier editions of this book were developed in response to the expressed needs of teachers and graduate students who must understand and use current trends in assessment and put them into perspective within the reality of public schools that are required to focus intensively on standardized tests. This edition includes current literature on early childhood assessment issues, as well as information on how to maintain a balance between emerging trends and issues related to assessment of young children.

I would like to thank the reviewers who provided valuable suggestions and feedback for this edition. The were generous with their time and included specific ideas on how the text could be improved. Those who reviewed the text before the third edition was developed are: Suzanne E. Cortez, Northern Kentucky University; Robert G. Harrington, University of Kansas; Peggy Perkins, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Janice A Sherman, Winona State University; and Mary Ann Waldon, Texas Southern University (retired).

And, of course, I thank Ann Davis, my editor at Prentice Hall/Merrill, for helping me to conceptualize how to approach this edition, as well as her suggestions for additions and improvements.

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