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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A lens focused on assessment practices – He āta titiro ki ngā mahi aromatawai

Documentation and assessment practices will themselves contribute to opportunities for children to be creative and imaginative. Carlina Rinaldi from Reggio Emilia has explored the topic of documentation and assessment. She writes about the role of documentation:

"In Reggio Emilia, where we have explored this methodology for many years, we place the emphasis on documentation as an integral part of the procedures aimed at fostering learning and for modifying the learning–teaching relationship … I believe that documentation is a substantial part of the goal that has always characterised our experience: the search for meaning – to find the meaning of school, or rather, to construct the meaning of school, as a place that plays an active role in the children’s search for meaning and our own search for meaning (and shared meanings)." 3

In Book 1 of Kei Tua o te Pae, assessment for learning is described as “noticing, recognising, and responding”.4 In Book 10, this definition of assessment is expanded by the statement that “learning will be strengthened ... if teachers notice, recognise, respond to, record, revisit, and reflect on multiple learning pathways”.5 The first nine books of Kei Tua o te Pae provide some guidelines about what assessments to look for, and a list of these criteria is included in Book 16. In Book 1, the following four major evaluative criteria for assessment, based on the principles of Te Whāriki, are set out.6 Connections can be made between these principles and the development of confidence and competence in the arts.

  • Is the identity of the child as a competent and confident learner protected and enhanced by the assessments? Assessment practices will encourage multiple perspectives and imaginative responses.
  • Do the assessment practices take account of the whole child? The New Zealand school curriculum states:

"Through the development of arts literacies, students, as creators, presenters, viewers, and listeners, are able to participate in, interpret, value, and enjoy the arts throughout their lives." 7

Assessment practices will contribute to the disposition for children to enjoy the arts throughout their lives.

  • Do the assessment practices invite the involvement of family and whānau? Assessment practices will recognise that children bring ways of being creative and imaginative from their homes and their communities.
  • Are the assessments embedded in reciprocal and responsive relationships? The arts have their own distinct languages, and the documentation of children’s learning in the context of the arts will recognise the strengthening of these arts languages along a range of dimensions.