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Perspectives on Kindergarten Assessment: Toward a Common Understanding


by Christopher DeLuca, Angela Pyle, Suparna Roy, Agnieszka Chalas & Erica Danniels — 2019

Context: The standards-based movement in U.S. public education has reached as far as kindergarten. Early primary teachers are increasingly required to teach academic standards in core subject areas, while engaging in increased levels of student assessment. In kindergarten, this growing emphasis on academic standards and student assessment is expected to operate alongside longstanding social and personal developmental expectations. However, recent research has identified a significant tension as teachers endeavor to negotiate a balance between traditional developmental programming and new standards-based academic curricula.

Purpose: The purpose of this scoping review is to synthesize research related to three kindergarten traditions—Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, and Montessori—to develop a common understanding of key tenets for kindergarten assessment that can inform policy and practice in public education contexts.

Research Design: A scoping review methodology was used to analyze research on assessment practices native to three kindergarten traditions—Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, and Montessori. This methodology followed a five-stage framework: (a) identifying the research question, (b) identifying relevant studies, (c) study selection, (d) charting the data, and (e) summarizing and reporting the results. Guiding the collection of articles was the following research question: “What does the extant literature on practices native to the three focal kindergarten traditions tell us about the assessment of kindergarten (4–6-year-olds) students’ learning?” In total, 80 texts satisfied the inclusion criteria across all traditions and were included in this study.

Conclusions: Empirical and non-empirical literature pertaining to each tradition were analysed and considered in relation to their potential contribution to public education. In comparing across traditions, differences were evident based on their (a) assessment discourses and purposes, (b) reference systems, (c) assessment methods, and (d) uses of assessment information. However, the three traditions also maintained key commonalities leading to the identification of core tenets for kindergarten assessment. Specifically, three core priorities for kindergarten assessment were identified: (a) a commitment to child-centered and developmentally appropriate teaching, (b) a continuous embedded formative assessment approach, and (c) the use of multiple methods for gaining assessment information. In addition to core priority areas, results from this study suggest consistent processes that facilitate assessment practices at the kindergarten level. These four iterative processes are: (a) participation in teaching and learning, (b) reconstruction of teaching and learning, (c) engagement in assessment dialogues, and (d) integration of feedback for enhanced teaching and learning.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 121 Number 3, 2019, p. -
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22591, Date Accessed: 12/15/2018 10:53:25 PM

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About the Author
  • Christopher DeLuca
    Queen's University
    E-mail Author
    CHRISTOPHER DELUCA is an Associate Professor in Educational Assessment at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University. His research examines the complex intersections of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment as operating within evolving frameworks of educational accountability and standards-based teaching and learning. His work focuses primarily on developing and enhancing educators’ assessment capacity to better support positive student learning experiences and outcomes. His work has appeared in publications including The Journal of Educational Research and Educational Assessment.
  • Angela Pyle
    University of Toronto
    E-mail Author
    ANGELA PYLE is an Assistant Professor in the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study of the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Her research examines the negotiated balance between academic learning and developmentally appropriate practices in kindergarten classrooms with a specific focus on the implementation of play-based pedagogies. Her work has appeared in Review of Education and Early Education & Development.
  • Suparna Roy
    Queen's University
    E-mail Author
    SUPARNA ROY is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University. Her research focuses on cultivating selflessness in students through service- and inquiry-based pedagogies.
  • Agnieszka Chalas
    Queen's University
    E-mail Author
    AGNIESZKA CHALAS is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University. Her research interests lie in examining evaluation capacity in museums and education sector non-profits as a necessary first step in improving such organizations’ evaluation practices through targeted capacity building efforts.
  • Erica Danniels
    University of Toronto
    E-mail Author
    ERICA DANNIELS is a PhD candidate in the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study of the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Her primary research interests address the integration of children with disabilities in kindergarten classrooms, the role of play, and the use of play-based learning strategies with this population.
 
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