as instruments of education policy and practice is growing.
Throughout the school years, tests are used to make decisions about tracking, promotion or retention, placement, and graduation.
Each of these purposes represents an important opportunity for test or assessment data to inform judgment—if the tests or assessments are used carefully and well.
No single type of assessment can serve all of these purposes; the intended purpose will determine what sort of assessment is most appropriate.
When test or assessment information is used for placement, school readiness, or other high-stakes decisions, it behooves educators to pay attention to the consequences and to make sure that they are educationally beneficial.
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become particularly salient in the assessment of young children.
They need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of various assessment approaches for the purposes they have in mind.
They need to know what the research says about the specific instruments they intend to use.
Individual or group tests were administered under controlled circumstances in highly structured environments that were as similar to one another as possible.
But dissatisfaction among many early childhood professionals concerning the conventional model of norm-referenced assessment has in recent years brought a shift in emphasis toward conducting assessments in settings that are comfortable, familiar, nonthreatening, and of interest to the child (see Meisels and Provence, 1989; Greenspan and Wieder, 1998).