The Role Of Testing And Assessment In Early Childhood Education

2264 words - 9 pages

Perspectives
The goal of education is to provide children with the opportunity to amass a wealth of knowledge, love for learning, and academic strength. Children go to school to read, write, and learn a variety of subjects. While education is meant to be exciting for children, there have to be standards in order to make sure that progress is being and those children are where they need to be in order to move onto the next phase of their education. Education builds as it grows, and students need a strong foundation in order to succeed and continue. Without those strong building blocks, students will continue to fall back and repeat the same material again and again. And so, testing and assessment come into play to make sure children are where they need to be. However, in early childhood settings testing is almost non-existent because of the stigma around testing. The current debate in our education system argues that testing is not a good measure of a child’s actual knowledge. Rather, assessment gives teachers a better picture of a student’s abilities and capabilities in the classroom. Thus, currently the debate continues over assessment versus testing in the classroom due to the demand for knowledge on whether or not testing is a good way of measuring a student’s progress in school.
In the context of education, testing refers to “a method to determine a student’s ability to complete certain tasks or demonstrate mastery of a skill or knowledge” (Danuri 2012). Assessment is “the process of gathering information to monitor progress and make any decisions necessary” regarding curriculum and teaching (Danuri 2012). Assessment is a process that measures growth over time whereas testing is a form of evaluating what a student knows at a certain point in time. Learning outcomes are what a student should be able to do as a result of the activity or lesson. They are a reflection of what the student should learn, and act as a goal for students and teachers. Without learning outcomes, students and teachers would not have a goal to reach for, and progress could not be as easily measured.
Discussion of Testing and Assessment
The debate over testing versus assessment in the context of early childhood education continues to be an issue for parents, teachers and administrators. With the emphasis on school readiness comes more pressure for early childhood educators. The promotion of standards is also due to the push from the No Child Left Behind Act which requires more analysis and progress monitoring of students (Snow 2008). The bigger question is the reliability of both assessment and testing. The standardization of testing does not allow for individual differences students may have, and both assessment and testing run the risk of bias. These all are a part of the accountability teachers and schools have for proving the progress made by his or her students over the course of time. Additionally, “Research on effective programs have demonstrated that...

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