Observing and Assessing Young Children’s Development and Learning

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSES2021054

Semester and Year Offered: Semester II Year 1

Course Coordinator and Team: Monimalika Day

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None


This course aims to impart in depth understanding to students regarding assessment of young children’s development and learning. The students will be able to understand ‘what’ is assessment, ‘why’ do we need to ‘assess’ young children’s development and ‘what’ are the various procedures used for assessing young children appropriately. They will also examine historical trends in assessment of young children in western as well as in the Indian context. The cross-cultural variations in assessment and the ethical considerations in assessing young children will also be addressed. This course will equip students with knowledge and skills to assess young children in a comprehensive manner using various techniques. Students will learn about different procedures of assessing children: standardized tests, developmental screening and assessment and alternative methods of assessment such as observation method, using checklists, rubrics, rating scales, etc., teacher designed strategies, performance based assessment, portfolio assessment and play-based assessment of children. They will also be able to critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of all these methods. They will also be able to appreciate the linkage between children’s learning and the various assessment methods employed by educators to assess them. They will also understand how assessment and curriculum are interrelated. Students will also be able to understand how to effectively communicate with parents to discuss their child’s progress and involve them in the assessment process. They will also learn about the reforms done in the examination system in our country in recent times and critique these reforms.

This course is designed to enable students to be able to:

  1. Describe what is ‘assessment’ and the purposes of assessment.
  2. Understand the basic principles of assessing young children.
  3. Examine theoretical, philosophical, historical and cultural perspectives on child assessment.
  4. Discuss various ethical and contextual issues involved in assessing young children.
  5. Understand the linkage between children’s assessment and their learning.
  6. Examine in depth ‘standardized’ testing, developmental screening and assessment of infants and young children.


Course Outcomes:

  1. Understand what is ‘assessment’, the purpose and the basic principles of assessing young children.
  2. Examine theoretical, philosophical, historical and cultural perspectives on child assessment.
  3. Examine ethical and contextual issues involved in assessing young children.
  4. Understand the linkage between children’s assessment and their learning.
  5. Critique different approaches to assessment including ‘standardized’ testing, developmental screening and observation of young children.
  6. Knows about ‘authentic’ methods of assessment like observation method, using checklists, rubrics, performance based assessment, portfolio assessment and play based assessment etc.
  7. Apply various assessment methods i.e. standardized tests, observations, using checklists, rubrics, performance based assessment and synthesize information to develop coherent report
  8. Know about the role of parents in the overall development of children and understand ways to involve parents in the assessment process.


Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module1: Introduction to Assessment of Children

This unit introduces students to the concepts of ‘assessment’, ‘testing’ and ‘evaluation’. They will learn about the theoretical and philosophical foundations of the assessment processes. The unit focuses on establishing the significance of assessment procedures in promoting developmentally appropriate practices. The need to understand the unique characteristics of children in this age group and the various socio cultural contexts in which they live and learn will be discussed with the intent to engage students in dialogues on how to conduct assessment in a fair and equitable manner. The students will have opportunities to examine the history of child assessment in western as well as in Indian context, and develop an awareness of how these processes may be influenced by different socio political agendas.

Module 2: Multiple Methods of Assessing Young Children

This unit introduces students to the multiple methods of assessing young children. They will learn about standardized testing, developmental screening, and assessment of young children. They will be introduced to a few standardized tests, to help them understand the concepts of reliability, validity, interpretation of test scores, and the limitations of this approach. The need to conduct assessment in a meaningful way in the children’s natural environments will be emphasized.Play based assessment processes will be discussed in detail.Students will also have the opportunity to learn a number of authentic procedures of assessment such as observation methods, use of checklists, rating scales, rubrics, and play based assessment.They will engage in various assignments which will help them to become familiar with the technical and ethical issues they need to consider during assessments.

Unit 3 Teacher designed strategies;Performance based assessment, and Portfolio assessment: (3 weeks)

Description of Unit 3: This unit describes in detail about the teacher designed strategies for assessing children, focusing specifically on performance based assessment and portfolio assessment of young children in classroom settings.The students will use different assessment strategies to develop a portfolio for a child. They will be able to appreciate the linkages between curriculum, learning, and assessment. They will learn about examination reforms introduced in our country, in the recent times. They will also study the implementation of the comprehensive and continuous evaluation systems in schools and critique it.

Assessment Details with weights:

Assessment Schedule



  1. Reading reflection


Written 10%


  1. Midterm

Written 30%

  1. Child Portfolio

Develop a portfolio of a child using various formal and informal assessment methods. Develop a well organized child study report. Statements must be supported with evidence from formal or informal assessments

a) Report from ASQ

b) Report from SRI

c) Observation notes


d) Based upon the developmental profile recommend some supportive strategies to promote the child’s development.








Total: 40%

4.Presentation on School Assessment Strategy

Gather information on the assessment strategies used in the school where you are placed for your FA. Review the report cards of children. In a group presentation briefly describe the assessment strategies and critique them.


10% Group presentation

5. Class participation which includes attendance and preparation with readings.






Reading List:

  1. Anastasi, A. &Urbina, S. (2017). Psychological Testing (7th ed.). Noida: Pearson India Education Services Pvt. Ltd. (Chapter 17, pp. 402- 417)
  2. Black, P & William, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappa, October, 1- 13. Central Board of Secondary Education (2013). HANDOUT 2- A Concept Note on Conceptual Framework of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), Revised Compendium of ToolsFor Mentoring Of School Based Assessment. (pp. 1-7). Available at:
  3. Developmental Screening, Assessment, and Evaluation: Key Elements for Individualizing Curricula in Early Head Start Programs. Technical Assistance Paper No. 4. (1-12)
  4. Epstein, A.S., Schweinhart, L.J., DeBruin-Parecki, A. and Robin, K.B. (2004). Preschool Assessment: A Guide to Developing a Balanced Approach. Preschool policy brief. National Institute for Early Education Research. (pp. 1-4).
  5. Gipps, C. (1999). Socio-Cultural Aspects of Assessment. Review of Research in Education, 24, 355-392.
  6. Gusky, T.R. (2008). The rest of the story. Educational leadership, 65(4), 28-35.
  7. Losardo, A &Syverson, A.N. (2001). Alternative approaches to assessing young children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. (Chapter 1, pp. 1-11).
  8. National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS/SDE) (2003). Joint Position Statement: Early Childhood Curriculum, Assessment and Program Evaluation. Building an Effective, Accountable System in Programs for Children Birth through Age 8. (pp. 10-16)
  9. Nawani, D. (2013).Rethinking assessments in schools. Economic & Political Weekly EPW, 50 (2), 37-42.
  10. Pathak, A.T. and Khurana, B. (1991). Baroda Development Screening Test for Infants. Indian Pediatrics, 28, 31-37.
  11. Satapathy, M (2009). Psychological tests developed for children in India. A review of recent trends in research, practice and application. In: Clinical Child Psychology. (Eds.) Shyam, R. and Khan, A. (Chapter 14, pp. 3-20).
  12. Sharma, G. (2016). Reversing the twin ideals of right to education. No detention and CCE. Economic & Political Weekly EPW, 51(9), 85-89.
  13. Sternberg, R.J. (2007). Culture, Instruction and Assessment. Comparative Education, Special Issue (33): Western Psychological and Educational Theory and Practice in Diverse Contexts, 43(1), 5-22.
  14. Wortham, S.C. (2008). Assessment in Early Childhood Education. Pearson Prentice Hall.



  1. Dodge, D. T., Heroman, C., Charles, J. and Maiorca, J. (2004). How Ongoing Assessment Supports Children’s Learning and Leads to Meaningful Curriculum. In: Spotlight on Young Children and Assessment, NAEYC, 9-16.
  2. Nair, M.K.C., George, B., Philip, E., Lekshmi, M.A., Haran, J.C. and Sathy, N. (1991). Trivandrum Developmental Screening Chart. Indian Pediatrics, 28, 869-872.
  3. National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Sourcebook on Assessment Classes I-V.
  4. Prochner, L. (2002). Preschool and Playway in India. Childhood. 9, 435- 453.
  5. Shepard, L.A. (1994). The Challenges of Assessing Young Children Appropriately. The Phi Delta Kappan, 76 (3), 206-212