"Many types of standardized tests are available for use with infants and young children. All are psychological tests, whether they measure abilities, achievements, aptitudes, interests, attitudes, values, or personality characteristics (Wortham, 2012, p. 53)".
"When materials and procedures accommodate a child's sensory, response, affective, and cultural characteristics, they are equitable. (DEC Recommended Practices: Assessment, 2005, p. 49".
"Early childhood intervention requires assessment procedures that are designed and field validated specifically for young children with disabilities, capture real-life competencies in everyday routines, help plan individual programs, and document incremental improvements in developmental competencies. Conventional tests and testing, which have dominated measurement in the field, fail to meet early intervention purposes and published professional recommended practice standards (Bagnato, 2005, p. 17)".
Instruction that is assessment-supported refers to the practice of using authentic and naturally occurring assessment data to inform decisions. In contrast, instruction that is assessment-driven focuses more on student progress and program quality which are often misused to make instructional decisions. Assessment-driven instruction often has improved progress scores as its goal and the end result is a scenario in which curriculum becomes a series of unrelated concepts and activities that are presented out of context and that cover material at a surface level. Effective assessment for young children is very different from that of older children. While older children can read and write, preschoolers, toddlers and infants show what they know and are able to do through different means. This difference requires that early childhood educators be extremely capable observers of children (Beaty, 2005).
Educators must be able to document what they see children do and must be able to present that documentation in a manner that is meaningful to parents, candidates, other teachers and to the children themselves. Assessment-supported curriculum refers to an ongoing cycle of assessment to instruction to assessment. While we believe in the importance of multiple means of assessment, including assessment for student progress and assessment for program improvement, we are careful to use data only for those purposes for which it was intended and for which the results are valid and reliable. We believe in the collaborative nature of assessment and data collection (Linder, 2008), and support teachers to be members of transdisciplinary teams who collect assessment data, interpret it, and organize and present it in the form of classroom documentation boards, student portfolios and anecdotal records. The data that we collect supports our understanding of what children know and are able to do and becomes an important consideration in the selection topics, materials, environments and experiences.