Kei Tua o te Pae
Kei Tua o te Pae/Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars is a best-practice guide that will help teachers continue to improve the quality of their teaching.
The exemplars are a series of books that will help teachers to understand and strengthen children's learning. It also shows how children, parents and whānau can contribute to this assessment and ongoing learning.
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How can children contribute to assessments? – Me pēhea ngā tamariki e āwhina ai i ngā aromatawai?
Teachers can help children to contribute to their assessment in two ways: through encouraging self-assessment (which can be carried out in a variety of ways) and by including the child’s voice in assessments that include multiple perspectives.
Different kinds of “self-assessment”
Children develop many goals for their learning, goals that are often hidden from the adult observer. Children frequently appear to “change track” as they work, and on many occasions, their goal is only apparent to adults in retrospect (and not always then). We have to find ways in which children can tell their own stories or be their own assessors without involvement in formal assessment. Not all children can do this, so we have to get to know the children well in order to notice and recognise their particular interests and goals – and we have to be open to changing our minds.
What to look for
- Children making their own judgments about their achievements, developing their sense of what counts as good work for themselves as learners
- Children self-regulating, that is, self-assessing and giving themselves instructions about what to do. This includes seeing mistakes as part of the process of learning
- Children deciding what should be recorded in their assessment portfolios
- Occasions when the resources being used by children, for example, a completed puzzle, provide feedback about their performance
- Evidence of “some inner sense of satisfaction” as the “touchstone” of quality (see Guy Claxton’s comments on page 3). Teachers who know children well can often identify that evidence
- Children using materials to provide reference points against which to assess their achievements
- Children using earlier work in their own assessment portfolios to judge current success or progress
- Children revisiting their assessment portfolios, with or without the teacher
- Children correcting their assessment portfolios.
Multiple perspectives that include the child’s voice
If we want to recognise and respond to the learning that is taking place, we will seek multiple perspectives, one of which will be the child’s.
Sometimes, the whānau will speak on behalf of the child, reflecting the aspirations and knowledge of the family and wider community. The 2003 Hui Taumata Mātauranga Report Back included a number of recommendations for whānau to be involved in and have a say in education (Ministry of Education, 2003). When considering Māori or bicultural models of assessment, adults need to ensure that they have an in-depth understanding of what Mason Durie (2003, page 1) describes as “working at the interface between te ao Māori (the Māori world) and te ao whānui (the wider global society)”. (See Book 3.)
What to look for
- Assessments that include a number of perspectives. One might be the child’s
- Teachers or families taking on the perspective of a child, for example, by speaking on behalf of a child who cannot speak for themself or trying to work out what is important for the child and what they would say if they were assessing for themselves
- Teachers puzzling over the meaning of an observation as they try to decide how to assist the child with the next step. This, implicitly or explicitly, invites the child and family to have a say in the assessment, to contribute some more information or an opinion
- Children assessing each other’s learning
- Families contributing to the assessment record with or for the child. These contributions may reflect aspirations and knowledge from the community.