Early Childhood: Observation & Assessment

 

Instructor:                    Darcie Donegan, MA/Ed.

Phone:                         509-891-7219

Office Hours:              8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday

Email:                          darcie_donegan@virtualeduc.com

Address:                      Virtual Education Software

                                    16201 E Indiana Ave, Suite 1450

                                    Spokane, WA 99216

Technical Support:       support@virtualeduc.com

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Introduction  

Welcome to Early Childhood: Observation & Assessment, an interactive distance learning course which explores observation and assessment instruments, as well as recommended practices and available resources for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.  Content includes an emphasis on observing young children and assessing their early childhood learning environments. 

 

This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found, in the Help section of your course.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Course Materials

Title:                            Early Childhood: Observation & Assessment

Instructor:                    Darcie Donegan, MA/Ed.

Publisher:                     Virtual Education Software, inc. 2008

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.

 

Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.

 

Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.

 

Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Level of Application

This course is designed as one part of a five-part series on early childhood education.  Upon completion of all five courses, you will have covered all of the CDA Competencies to prepare you to take the CDA exam (applicable in certain states).  This course specifically covers CDA Competencies 1-9, 12, and 13 (Check your individual state requirements), which all relate to the establishment of well-run, purposeful programs for young children that are responsive to individual needs and advance the development of the whole child.  This course is designed for anyone planning programs for young children--child-care providers, early childhood educators, and health care or social services providers, to name a few.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Course Objectives

·         Reflect on your own biases and learn best practice for observation and assessment of young children.

·         Describe the cycle and functions of observation and assessment in early childhood settings.

·         Identify a variety of observation recording instruments associated for developmental screening and program assessment.

·         Learn advantages and disadvantages of each instrument in order to identify the most appropriate choice for different goals.

·         Understand how to summarize and interpret observation data to assess children and programs.

·         Apply observation data to planning for individual children and programs.

·         Develop formats for documenting, sharing and explaining observation and assessment practices and information to parents and colleagues.

·         Design a personal strategy for gathering information and keeping records in a specific early childhood setting.  

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Course Description

This course is designed to help educators, para-professionals and child caregivers observe and assess various aspects of children’s development and programs.  Participants will learn the components necessary for strong observation skills, such as self-awareness, objectivity, confidentiality and ethical guidelines.

 

The course will then discuss various types of observation and recording tools, as well as the advantages and disadvantages associated with each.  Students will learn how to set goals, plan, and choose the best instrument for specific situations.  Included will be tools for assessing environments, developmental milestones and programming.  The why, when, where, what and how of conducting appropriate observations and authentic assessments will be covered.

 

Participants will gain techniques for organizing, analyzing and interpreting observation data.  This course will teach how to apply assessment information to improve program quality and to best meet the needs of individual children.

 

Students will discuss proper methods for displaying observations and sharing assessments.  Included will be portfolio development and other documentation methods that make children’s experiences visible.  The course will then show ways to communicate observation and assessment information to parents and other appropriate adults. Finally, students will apply course concepts by creating an observation and assessment plan for their own classroom environment.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Student Expectations

As a student, you will be expected to:

·         Complete all information chapters covering Observation & Assessment, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.

·         Complete all chapter exams covering Observation & Assessment, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.

·         Complete a review of any chapter on which your examination score was below 70%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete all course journal article and essay writing assignments with the minimum word count shown for each writing assignment.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Course Topics

General Overview of Chapters One through Four Topics:

1)      Introduction to Observation & Assessment: What and Why?

2)      Definitions, History & Trends in Early Childhood Assessment

3)      Personal Ethical & Legal Guidelines: Best Practices

4)      Observing & Recording Tools: Using & Choosing

5)      Authentic Assessment of Children & Environments

6)      Interpreting for Meaning: Analyzing & Applying Data

7)      Documentations & Communication: Showing & Sharing

8)      Course Summary and Conclusion

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Examinations

At the end of each course chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score. After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access.  The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate.  However, this is not your final grade since your required writing assignments have not been reviewed.  Exceptionally written or poorly written required writing assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy in the course syllabus, will affect your grade.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary.  You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Writing Assignments

This course has two required writing components.

 

To save your essays:

 

When you select the question or article you wish to write on, simple text or text edit will

automatically be launched. When you are finished, simply click SAVE. 

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.

 

1)       Essay Requirement:  Critical Thinking Questions

There is a Critical Thinking Question for each chapter. You will do research on the question and write a brief essay relating it to the course content (and your personal experiences when possible).  To view the questions, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Critical Thinking Question that you would like to complete; this will bring up a screen where you may enter your essay.  You must write a minimum of 500 words per essay. 

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.

 

2) Essay Requirement:  Journal Articles

This task requires you to write a review of three journal articles of your choice on a topic related to this course.  You may choose your topic by entering the Key Words (click on the Key Words button) into a search engine of your choice (Google, Dogpile, Yahoo, etc.). Choose three relevant articles and write a 200-word review of each. You may also access the ERIC system and choose a related topic from a journal listed in that system.  Or you can access www.scholar.google.com or www.findarticles.com. Write a critical summary of the information given in each article, explaining how the information relates to, supports, or refutes information given in this course. Conclude your paper with your thoughts and impressions. (200 words per journal article minimum, 400 words maximum.) Be sure to provide the journal name, volume, date, and any other critical information to allow the instructor to access and review that article.

 

To write your essays, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Journal Article that you would like to complete; this will bring up a screen where you can write your review. When you are ready to stop, click SAVE.  You may go back at any point to edit your essays.  For more information on the features of this assignment, please consult the HELP menu.

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Instructor Description

Early Childhood: Observation & Assessment has been developed by Darcie Donegan, MA/Ed., the instructor of record. Darcie received her BA at the University of Washington and her Master’s degree from Pacific Oaks College in Human Development, specializing in Early Childhood Education and Adult Education.  She has worked with young children and their caregivers for over 25 years in a various capacities, including preschool teacher, center director, parent educator, trainer, and consultant.  Darcie has also been an international consultant through the Soros Foundation and taught in many different countries. She is currently adjunct faculty in ECE at Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College, where she also coordinates the Parent Education program. Areas of special interest include infants and toddlers, child development, observation and assessment, social-emotional development, child care, and program planning.  Darcie is the mother of a teenage son and twin ten-year-old daughters.  In addition to this course, Darcie is the author of another course in this Early Childhood series called Early Childhood: Typical & Atypical Development.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Contacting the Instructor

You may contact the instructor by emailing Darcie at darcie_donegan@virtualeduc.com or calling her at 509-891-7219, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST. Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches or other issues that involve the operation of the course.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.

 

If you need personal assistance then email support@virtualeduc.com or call (509) 891-7219.  When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call. 

                                                        

Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Bibliography (Suggested Readings)

Allen, K.E., & Marotz, L.R. (2003).  Developmental profiles: Pre-birth through twelve (4th ed.).  New York: Thomson-Delmar Learning.

 

Beatty, J. (1986). Observing development in young children (6th ed., 2006).  New Jersey: Pearson Education.

 

Bentzen, W.R. (1991). Seeing young children: A guide to assessing and recording behavior (5th ed., 2005).  New York: Thomson- Delmar  Learning.

 

Billman, J., & Sherman, J. (1996). Observation and participation in early childhood settings: A practicum guide (2nd ed., 2003).  Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

 

Bredekamp, S., & Copple, C. (1997).  Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs (rev. ed.). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

 

Bredekamp, S., & Rosegrant, T. (Eds.). (1992). Reaching potentials: Appropriate curriculum and assessment for young children (Vol. 1). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Child.

 

Curtis, D., & Carter, M. (2000).  The art of awareness: How observation can transform your teaching.  New Jersey: Merrill Education/Redleaf Press.

 

 

 

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). (2004). Early childhood curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation—Building an effective, accountable system in programs for children birth through age 8. Washington, DC: Author.

 

Jablon, J., Dombro, A.D., & Dichtelmiller, M. (1999).  The power of observation.  Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies Inc.

 

Jalongo, M.R., & Isenberg, J.P. (2000).  Exploring your role: An introduction to early childhood education.  Pearson.

 

Koralek, D. (Ed.). (2004).  Spotlight on young children and assessment.  Washington DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

 

McAfee, O., & Leong, D.J. (1994).  Assessing and guiding young children’s development and learning (3rd ed., 2002).  Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

 

McDonal, S. (1997).  The portfolio and its use: A road map for assessment. Little Rock, AR: Southern Early Childhood Association.

 

Meisels, S.J., & Provence, S. (1989). Screening and assessment: Guidelines for identifying young disabled and developmentally vulnerable children and their families. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Clinical Infant Programs.

 

Shepard, L., Kagan, S.L., & Wurtz, E. (Eds.). (1998).  Principles and recommendations for early childhood assessments.  Washington DC: National Education Goals Panel.

 

Shores, E.F., & Grace, C. (1998).  The portfolio book: A step-by-step guide for teachers (rev. ed., 2005). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

 

Stiggins, R.J. (2000).  Specifications for a performance-based assessment system for teacher preparation.  Portland, OR: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

 

Wortham, S. (1990). Assessment in early childhood education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.

 

Updated 4/19/12 JN

 

_