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Observation as an assessment tool in early childhood education: a phenomenological case study of teacher views and practices

Turupcu, Aysun
The aim of this study is to determine the early childhood teachers’ views about observation as one of the informal assessment methods in young children’s education. The study was conducted with six early childhood teachers who worked at a private kindergarten in Ankara. In this study, phenomenological case study was used. In order to examine the views of early childhood teachers on observation, most appropriate data source in qualitative study, one-to-one interview was conducted with participants. Additionally, three teachers among the participants were observed in their classrooms to determine how they applied observation in their classroom. According to the responses of early childhood teachers, assessment in early childhood education is a process-based issue and teachers mostly prefer observation because they believe that observation is the basis of the whole assessment progress. During observations, teachers pay attention to the children’s needs and interests and their problematic behaviors. There is a consensus on teachers’ views that the main contribution of observation is to children. Futhermore observation data contribute teachers to do self-assessment. Finally, the main obstacles faced during observation were defined as class-size and documentation in a systematic way. In order to deal with these obstacles, teachers offered grouping of children in classroom during observation. Moreover, there might be more teacher- training provided by experts about assessment to enhance teachers’ knowledge about young children’s assessment.