Making Teaching Decisions
The process of gathering and interpreting information allows teachers to get to know each child closely. The longer teachers work with a group of children, the more assessment data they gather and interpret, and the more informed and specific their actions will be when adjusting the curriculum.
Again, there is no answer key for interpreting performance-based data, and each child navigates the developmental continuum at their own pace. Therefore, teachers must use their best judgment and knowledge of typical child development to determine whether children are progressing as expected.
It is recommended that teachers collaborate with colleagues and families to interpret the data and decide on the best course of action to help with the process.
Before creating any action plans or making adjustments to the learning environment, teachers should look for patterns in the skills that children are working toward. This will help teachers determine how to approach efforts to improve the skills children are working toward.
- Approach 1: If only one child is working toward a particular skill, such as pulling to a standing position, individual activities and support can be implemented.
- Approach 2: If a small group of children are working toward a skill, such as sorting by one attribute, perhaps using small group activities is the best option.
- Approach 3: If most children are working toward a skill, such as engaging in turn-taking conversations, teachers may promote the skill through group games and activities.
The point of collecting assessment data is not to make the day-to-day job of teaching harder. If anything, the information should make the job easier because you will have the information you need to make appropriate decisions and meet children where they are developmentally.
This creates a learning environment where children are engaged and challenged appropriately. Activities are suited to children′s current skills and stretch them just a bit further each day. It should prevent boredom (activities being too easy) and frustration (activities being too hard) at the same time.
Teachers may need to reflect on their teaching practices and adapt how they have done things in the past to embrace this practice fully. In addition, it is very challenging to meet each child′s individual needs when whole group activities dominate the daily routine, as it is difficult to modify whole group activities to meet every child′s needs. Therefore, small group experiences are more realistic in this learning environment.
All attempts to strengthen skills should be made by using developmentally appropriate and play-based strategies. Teachers should avoid pulling children aside to work on skills in a drill-and-practice fashion. Instead, they should plan engaging, hands-on, and play-based experiences that promote the skills children are working on.
For the main article Child Assessment, CLICK HERE
For the article Identifying Concerns, CLICK HERE
For the article Making Program Improvements, CLICK HERE
For the article Director’s Corner: Supporting Teaching Teams as a Leader, CLICK HERE