Assessment in Early Childhood Settings: Learning Stories

Author(s): Margaret Carr


This book shows that an early childhood setting can be described as a learning place in which children develop learning dispositions such as resilience in the face of uncertainty, confidence to express their ideas, and collaborative and thoughtful approaches to problem-solving. These dispositions provide the starting point for life-long learning. The author asks: How can we assess and track children's learning in the early years in a way that includes learning dispositions and avoids the pitfalls of over-formal methods, whilst being helpful for practitioners, interesting for families, and supportive for learners?
The book

  • describes a way of assessment that stays close to the children's real experiences and provides an alternative to mechanistic and fragmented approaches,
  • shows how practitioners can assess what really matters: those learning dispositions (interest, involvement and perseverance for example) that provide a foundation for life-long learning.

The book is about weaving theory and practice: theorizing development and learning as reflected in assessment practice. The author also argues that unless we find ways to assess complex outcomes in early childhood they will be excluded from the teaching and the learning. Simple and low level outcomes and goals will take their place. The theoretical ideas and arguments are illustrated throughout by transcripts and stories of children in a range of early childhood settings. At every turn in the journey it asks: How is this reflected in a real life context? It documents the voices of children, practitioners and parents as the learning story develops.


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'I would recommend this book to practitioners interested in reflecting on their own practice and approach to assessment. The insights provided are thought-provoking and promote a practical and positive approach to early years assessment' - Early Talk 'This is an inspiring book from bilingual, bicultural New Zealand about revolutionizing the assessment of young children's learning and progress... I hope this book inspires United Kingdom practitioners to set out on learning story journeys' - Nursery World 'I found Margaret Carr's book fascinating! the ideas and arguments put forward are well worth mulling over' - Early Years Educator 'This book manages to blend recognized theory and recent research with practice. I found it easy, and sometimes enjoyable, to read; it provided plenty of "food for thought" as well as references on "how to". I would recommend it to all early childhood practitioners, not just those considering their current assessment procedures, as the chapters focusing on the child as a learner are of value on their own' - Julia Browne, Goldsmiths Association for Early Childhood

Margaret Carr is the co-author of the innovative national early childhood curriculum, Te Whariki, which has been of considerable interest in the UK, USA, and elsewhere.

A Folk Model of Assessment - and an Alternative Learning Dispositions Interest and Involvement Persisting with Difficulty and Uncertainty Communicating with Others and Taking Responsibility Learning Stories Describing Discussing Documenting Deciding The Learning Story

General Fields

  • : 9780761967941
  • : SAGE Publications Ltd
  • : Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd
  • : June 2001
  • : 234mm X 156mm X 13mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Margaret Carr
  • : Paperback
  • : 372.1264
  • : 224
  • : Examinations & assessment; Primary / junior schools; Pre-school & kindergarten
  • : Illustrations