In order to monitor progress effectively, teachers need to observe, document, analyze and interpret data as part of a decision-based model that guides teachers to establish where to begin instruction, how long to work on a goal, and when to make changes. Teachers can observe children’s use of skills, knowledge, and concepts through the routines of the day to determine target behaviors and types of support needed.
Progress monitoring is essential to high-quality early childhood programs. In order to monitor progress effectively, teachers need to observe, document, analyze and interpret data as part of a decision-based model that guides teachers to establish where to begin instruction, how long to work on a goal, and when to make changes (Grisham- Brown, Hemmeter, & Pretti-Frontczak, 2005). Teachers can observe children’s use of skills, knowledge, and concepts through the routines of the day to determine target behaviors and types of support needed. By keeping track of children’s prioritized needs through intense data collection, teachers will know when to make changes to the instructional program. Grisham-Brown, et al. advocate a four-step model for conducting authentic assessments. Steps in this model include identifying what needs to be assessed, identifying assessment activities, creating activity protocols, and conducting assessments in natural environments (Grisham-Brown, et al. 2005).
The Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children recommends that: “Professionals rely on materials that capture the child’s authentic behaviors in routine circumstances and… gather information from multiple sources (e.g., families, professional team members, agencies, service providers, other regular caregivers)” (Sandall,Hemmeter,Smith,& McLean,2005,pp.54 & 55). T-TAC ODU has the references mentioned in this article in their lending library. Collecting Meaningful Data on Student Progress (CD) is also available by going to ttac.odu.edu and clicking on TACtics, or use the enclosed TACtics request form.
A new report from the National Research Council entitled Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How? is available at http:// www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12446.
To learn more about the curriculum framework, and specifically about activities and instruction and progress monitoring, you may be interested in attending Part Two of a two-part workshop with Jennifer Grisham-Brown. (Part one was held on October 23 at the Hampton Holiday Inn). Please see ttac.odu.edu for registration information.
“Observations allow teachers to learn about children’s interests, preferences, and styles of communication and interaction, as well as strengths and emerging skills related to the scope and sequence element of a curriculum framework.” (Grisham-Brown, Hemmeter,& Pretti-Frontczak, 2005, p.117)
Grisham-Brown, J., Hemmeter, M.L., & Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2005). Blended practices for teaching young children in inclusive settings. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
Sandall, S., Hemmeter, M.L., Smith, B.J.,& McLean, M.E. (2005). DEC recommended practices: A comprehensive guide for practical application in early intervention/early childhood special education. Longmont, CO: Division for Early Childhood.