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The Associated Students Child Development Laboratory uses many forms of assessment in order to ensure that the best possible practices are being implemented. Assessment tools are used to determine the needs of individual children, staff, parents, and the environment. These tools are used on an ongoing basis to assess the center. It is likely that most individuals engaged in work at the ASCDL will be involved in the assessment process.Anecdotal Observation Notes
- The most common assessment used is anecdotal observation notes on children. These are written factual observations used for tracking children’s development.
- Carry a tablet and a pencil with you at all times while working at the ASCDL.
- It is important that the format of the anecdotal observation notes remain consistent on all notes and be completed on 3 X 5 tablet paper provided by the ASCDL. A template is provided at the end of this document and is briefly summarized below
- In the top left hand corner, record the physical location of the child during the observation. Below this write the child’s name, using classroom postings to ensure the child’s name is spelled correctly. In the top right corner, record the date, under that record the time at which the anecdotal observation took place. The time can include a beginning and ending time, or just a beginning time. Place your name on the bottom of the note for reference information if there is a question.
- Record your observation of the child in an objective manner. Do not include values, judgments, or interpretations. Avoid judgmental words such as "mean," "selfish," "rude," "cute"...
- When possible, describe what action came before and what happened afterward.
- Use exact quotes to capture a child’s language when possible.
- Describe the child’s facial expressions and body posture.
- Avoid generalities like, "She is very active" or "he is always happy..."
- Usually a well-written observation note has a beginning, middle or an action or words, and an ending.
- Sometimes a high quality note is only one or two lines but describes how the child does one important behavior; such as riding a tricycle, skipping, crawls, pulls up, counts, identifies the letters A, B and T, identifies yellow and blue, etc. These behaviors may be items from a developmental assessment such as the Desired Results Development Profile-Revised.
- Always be objective. Avoid putting in what you thing should have happened, why you think it happened or your own opinion.
- Each note should be about one child only. If the observation involves more than one child, the note can be duplicated, changing the name of the child in the heading. The back of the observation note may be used if needed.
- Ask the head teachers in your room where they would like you to file these notes.
- Getting all of this recorded in a readable form while you are on-floor is a little difficult. It is okay to jot down references and a child’s exact language while working with the children and then rewrite the note at a later time in the proper format.
Another assessment used in the ASCDL is the Desired Results Developmental Profile – Revised (DRDP-R). This is an observation instrument used to assess children's developmental progress in the developmental areas of social-emotional, language, cognitive, and physical development. The instrument is designed to guide program staff in making and recording observations and tracking individual progress towards the achievement of age appropriate development levels.
- Infant Toddler (I/T) – Birth to 36 months
- Preschool (PS) – 3 years to Kindergarten
- School Age (SA) – Kindergarten through 12 years
In order to capture the natural progression of children's development, each DRDP-R overlaps with the instrument that covers the preceding and/or subsequent age level.
An example of a measure found under the indicator Language is Measure 18: Reciprocal Communication. There are six levels with the first level being: child responds to sounds with reflexes and the last level being: engages in simple conversations with caregiver that involve several ideas. A child that is between the ages of birth to 36 months would be measured on this scale.
At the center we also regularly collect parent feedback. A parent survey is one of the components of the DRDP-R. This is a short series of questions that asks parents what has been working for them and what they would like to see at the center. The data is compiled and used to make staff aware of parent perceptions and needs. Parent feedback is also collected as part of the accreditation process and at other times throughout the semester when parent feedback is needed.
Each of the classrooms has an ECERS which stands for (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale) or ITERS (Infant, Toddler Environment Rating Scale) done on them once a year. This is an assessment that views the whole environment from hand washing, to room set-up, to interactions with children, to staff provisions.
To help guide the staff, we use a Staff Feedback Form that was created by the center’s director and a child development facility member. They took the best practices and created a form that encompasses six competencies. They include: Interactions with children, establishing and maintaining relationships; interactions with children, supporting self-regulation via appropriate guidance strategies and techniques; interactions with children, supporting children’s emotional development and sense of security; interactions with children, establishing and expanding children’s knowledge and learning; working with adults, staff, families, community member’s; and professionalism. We ask that once a year staff members do a self feedback which is followed up with a meeting with the lead teacher who has also done one. During the meeting we discuss the feedback form and set goals. This form is to be used as a guiding tool to ensure all the staff have the tools they need to be successful in our environment.
The ASCDL is a nationally accredited site through the National Association for the Education of Young Children. In order to keep this accreditation, the staff continually uses assessment results to improve the environment for children and families.
A model that is used by the ASCDL to reflect our approach is a circle with the child in the middle, surrounded by their family, followed by individual classrooms, while with the outside circle the whole program. It is important to see that the child is the main focus always in our classrooms, but in order to meet the child’s needs, we need to consider the program as a whole.
Time Teacher’s Name