According to Neisworth, & Bagnato (2004), young children are being mismeasured if formal assessments are used against them. The authentic assessment alternative for infants and young children, they said, should not be those conventional, norm-referenced testing practices which can be detriment to young children.
At play-based schools for young children, teachers and Stanford psychologists conclude that the play is the thing (Firth, 2006). The rationale is that in a play-based environment, curiosity and learning are best encouraged because children can choose from a broad range of developmentally appropriate activities.
It is wrong to imagine that classes at play-based schools have no structure - the reason for the adamant stance of policy makers to recognize informal assessments (Firth, 2006). Apparently, the word "play" simply invokes mindless movements and killing time initiatives to those un-initiated, which may explain what people thought of as devoid of assessment. Against this backdrop is the fact that the traditional dichotomy between the public-school system and early education has typically meant that play-based curricula have not been practiced by educators within the public-school system, the locus of most policy makers (Erwin & Delair (2004). In most play-based schools, however, where a typical session in the morning or afternoon in two to three sessions per week, a choice is offered among painting, clay, building with blocks, making a book, carpentry (with wood, hammers and real nails), dressing up, working in the sand, or simply racing around or swinging (Frith, 2006).
Schools today are under threat by the NCLB law (New York Times, February 14, 2005). Everywhere, there are protests from states where teachers try to protect their beliefs about teaching. The foremost obligation of educators then, according to Morrison (2006), is to reconcile standards with play-based practice. However, he said, in doing this, the following age-old theories and precepts propounded by educational philosophy should be recognized.
For example, teachers believed Piaget (1962) who said play promotes cognitive development and enables children to construct knowledge; they have long recognized Montessori (1912) who said play is children's work; respect had long been granted Vygotsky (1978) who opined that social interactions during play are essential to children's cognitive and emotional development; and they had paid tribute to Erikson (1950) who maintained that play enables children to become partners with their futures.
At kindergarten level, the developmental areas to be measured may be on levels of cognition, language or communication, motor, social/emotional adjustment, self-help and adaptive skills at (ERIC clearing house, 1999) but they do not necessarily preclude play as locus of measurements.
How could you bring something into the kindergarten setting that would satisfy your AP's need for definitive scores and accountability while still maintaining an appropriate learning environment for the children
Culled from the National Science Teachers' Association (NSTA) WebNews Digest from 2004 up to the present are what could shed light into the case of formal assessment: 1) Some 68 percent of Americans were not aware or had minimal knowledge of the federal