Cultivating Assessment Knowledge, Perspectives, and Competencies of Early Childhood Education Preservice Teachers



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Learning to use assessment for diverse young learners is a challenging process. Early childhood education preservice teachers (PSTs) are required to learn how to design and implement assessments that are meaningful, appropriate, and fair to all children. This study investigates how an early childhood education assessment course involving coursework and field experiences influenced PSTs’ knowledge, perspectives, and competencies regarding the assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) children.A qualitative case study was conducted to offer “an in-depth description and analysis of a bounded system” (Merriam, 2009, p. 40). Seven PSTs were selected for this study through purposeful sampling (Flyvbjerg, 2006; Patton, 2015; Reybold et al., 2013). PSTs were enrolled in a 3-credit masters-level assessment course in an ECE program at a university in the mid-Atlantic region. The course required a 15-hour field experience where the PSTs completed a self-selected set of five assessments to gain insight into one child’s development across developmental domains. Data were collected from each participant through a questionnaire, semi-structured interview, and artifacts produced by PSTs as part of the course experiences. This study provides valuable insights into the importance of providing coursework and field experiences designed to develop PSTs’ equitable assessment practices for young children who bring cultural and linguistic diversity to the classroom. While engaging in the coursework and field experiences, the PSTs in this study developed and (re)shaped their assessment perspectives by learning various assessment purposes and methods in early childhood education. Additionally, the PSTs considered individual children’s linguistic and cultural experiences and interests when implementing assessment during their field experiences, especially, with children from diverse backgrounds. By utilizing their newly gained assessment knowledge and skills with CLD children, PSTs increased their confidence in assessment and developed their professional roles as assessors. Their growth in confidence as assessors encouraged novice teachers to continue to expand, improve, and refine their assessment practices. The findings presented in this dissertation have implications for teacher education programs on ways to support early childhood education PSTs as they prepare to use fair and equitable assessment with children who bring diverse cultural and linguistic knowledge into the classroom.



Assessment, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children, Early Childhood Education, Preservice Teachers