“Early childhood assessment should guide teachers to provide the best educational opportunities for children and, ultimately, benefit the child.”
Piker & Jewkes, 2013
Educators use a variety of assessment tools and practices, like the observational assessment Mr. Costello reviews in the opening vignette, to gain insight into children’s emergent literacy knowledge. Mr. Costello will keep his observational note, along with the other pieces of assessment data he gathers over time, to develop a holistic picture of Isabella’s emerging literacy skills. He knows when a single data point is combined with additional pieces of assessment information a more complete understanding of a child’s literacy knowledge begins to emerge. Children’s work samples, data from standardized assessments, and documentation from other observational assessments collectively inform his understanding of Isabella’s literacy enactments. By strategically combining formal and informal assessment sources to demonstrate what young children know, Mr. Costello embraces a strengths-based assessment approach and intentionally positions children like Isabella as active literacy agents ready to communicate, learn, and engage as readers and writers in the world.