Instructions for Workshop Leaders
1 > Goals
  • To review purposes and methods of assessing children.
  • To increase knowledge of the multiple methods of assessment.
  • To begin creating an assessment plan for your program.

2 > In Advance

  • Distribute the handout (pages 18 to 20) one week before the workshop.
  • Have a flip-chart and marker available.
  • After teachers read the handout, ask them to collect examples of any of the six assessment methods. For example, if teachers are using checklists, keeping anecdotal records, or have a portfolio system in place, ask them to bring a sample with them to the workshop.

3 > Begin the Workshop

Begin by asking teachers to brainstorm the purposes of assessing young children. List teachers' responses, including assessing to:

  • learn more about individual children
  • inform parents of children's development
  • gain information to improve the program
  • determine the effectiveness of current curriculum practices

Take a few minutes to review the program's assessment policies and practices. Then discuss each of the assessment methods described in the handout. As you discuss each technique:

  • Describe the program's policies and procedures concerning the technique. For instance, when discussing Developmental Screening, you might describe the community resources the program is already using.
  • Ask teachers to share the examples they brought to the workshop.

4 > Continue the Workshop

Group teachers by the age group they are working with, In each group, ask teachers to go over the six forms of assessment described in the handout. This time they will review each for its appropriateness to the age group they are working with. Ask them to describe what works for them, how and why, and which parts of each particular assessment technique would be problematic with the group they work with and why.

For example, teachers of young toddlers may find collecting work samples limited to a few items such as samples of scribbles over the year or photos taken of children's block buildings. Teachers of older children, such as 3- and 4-year-olds, might identify problems with work sampling revolving around which work to sample, when, and how many examples are sufficient.

5 > Concluding the Workshop

Regroup and make decisions about what assessment technique or methods each group will develop and implement during the coming school year. You may want each group to implement at least two similar methods, such as keeping anecdotal records and developing a portfolio system. Present an overview of the two methods every teacher is to implement.

You could practice writing anecdotal records by asking the group to write a short description of how a member of the group is sitting. Individuals can read their descriptions and see if the others know whom they are describing. This exercise sharpens teachers' abilities to describe behaviors without making judgments or inferences.