"A large amount of paper work and little advantage" - New Zealand teachers' views on assessing four-year-old children's learning

Year: 2018

Author: Cameron, Monica

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

A key responsibility of ECE teachers is to assess children’s learning (Ministry of Education, 2013).  The current emphasis in New Zealand, as outlined in Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 2017), is for teachers to then use the assessment information gathered to inform their planning for and interactions with children to make a difference for children and their learning.  However, little is known about teachers’ purposes, practices and knowledge in relation to assessing four-year-old children’s learning.  The findings of this research matter given the significant role that assessment plays in the teaching and learning proces.
Using a mixed methods research design, my doctoral research involved a national survey and key informant interviews, along with the collection of assessment exemplars, to explore teachers’ purposes, practices and knowledge around assessing four-year-old children’s learning.  Data were collected from teachers in a range of different ECE service types in order to help capture responses from teachers across the breadth of the New Zealand sector.  In analysing the surveys, interviews and examples of assessment documentation, a number of key findings and implications for ECE were apparent.  This presentation will report key findings from the study, with a focus on teachers’ beliefs about assessing four-year-old children’s learning.  The findings suggest that ECE teachers hold a range of beliefs about assessment and its purposes, which in turn impact upon their assessment practices. The research explores teachers’ beliefs about the assessment four-year-old children, as these beliefs significantly influence teachers’ practices (Pajares, 1992).  Such examination is essential to support teachers to reflect on their beliefs as a way to improve practice and be the difference for children and their families.  The research findings matter and have the potential to positively impact on ECE teachers' assessment purposes, practices and knowledge.