ERIC Number: ED368507
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Assessment in Early Childhood Education: Status of the Issue. A SERVE Research Brief.
SERVE: SouthEastern Regional Vision for Education.
The primary purpose of testing in early childhood is to identify children who may be at risk for learning problems so they may be placed in appropriate educational environments. Testing is popular because educators take at face value the claim by test developers that using standardized test instruments to classify, retain, or promote children is supported by research, and, in fact, readiness assessments have been predictive of school success. It is argued, however, that standardized testing has been both overused and misinterpreted. The most frequent abuse of developmental screening results is from using tests that have no established reliability and validity, resulting in children who need special services being overlooked, children being mislabeled as at-risk, and misdirected resources. Often, readiness tests are substituted for screening tests and have been used to predict child performance in subsequent grade levels even though they were not designed for that purpose. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recommends that the most important consideration in evaluating and using standardized tests is utility. Staff must be trained to recognize what specific tests can and cannot measure, and how they can be used to improve educational services. A path-referenced approach has been suggested to improve assessment because it places the child's performance in a position along a path of development. Also recommended is an assessment system that can be used cooperatively by parents and teachers. An ongoing evaluation process would consist of three measures: criterion-referenced checklists, portfolio collections of child's work, and summative teacher report forms. (HTH)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Criterion Referenced Tests, Early Childhood Education, Educational Assessment, Evaluation Criteria, High Risk Students, Informal Assessment, Learning Problems, School Readiness Tests, Screening Tests, Standardized Tests, Test Content, Test Interpretation, Test Validity
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: SERVE: SouthEastern Regional Vision for Education.
Identifiers: Gesell School Readiness Test