Descriptor Details

  • Observation and Assessment
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  • 200
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  • 3.0
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  • Uploaded: 7/18/2022 10:16:21 PM PDT

Introduces the appropriate use of assessment and observation tools and strategies to document young children’s development and learning. The use of findings to inform and plan learning environments and experiences are emphasized. Recording strategies, rating systems, portfolios, and multiple assessment tools will be discussed, along with strategies for collaboration with families and professionals.




  1. Observation and Assessment Based on Theories of Child Development and Learning
    1. California Infant-Toddler Learning and Development Foundations
    2. California Preschool Learning Foundations
  2. Tools of Observation and Assessment
    1. Purpose and use
    2. Current and historic
    3. National tools such as the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS), Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), and Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS)
    4. State tools such as the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP), and the resources of the California early care and learning systems.
  3. Observation and Reporting
    1. Formal and informal
    2. Legal and ethical responsibilities
    3. Confidentiality
    4. Data collection methods such as:
      1. Direct observation
      2. Time and event samples
      3. Interviews
      4. Questionnaires
      5. Rating scales
    5. Reporting methods such as:
      1. Anecdotal records
      2. Running records
      3. Checklists
    6. Subjective and objective reporting
    7. Qualitative and quantitative
    8. Documentation
      1. Types
      2. Purposes
  4. Impact of Situational Factors in the Process of Observation and Assessment
    1. Factors outside of the school setting
    2. Demographics, cultural background, and perspectives of the children and families
    3. Observers’ cultural perspectives, expectations, and personal bias
  5. Use of Observation and Assessment to
    1. Monitor children’s health, well-being, development, and learning
    2. Determine, plan, and adjust teaching strategies and curriculum to meet
      1. Various content and curriculum purposes
      2. Child’s interests, skills, and abilities
      3. First and dual-language learners
      4. Environmental design needs
      5. Guidance and behavior needs
    3. Inform referral and intervention
  6. The On-Going Cycle of Curriculum Development
    1. Observation
    2. Planning
    3. Implementation
    4. Assessment
    5. Reflection
  7. Collaboration with Families and Professionals
    1. Use of assessment data
    2. Promoting family involvement
    3. Referral processes
    4. National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Code of Ethical Conduct
    5. Recordkeeping
    6. Rights of children and families


At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Differentiate between various observation and assessment tools according to their purpose and validity.
  2. Demonstrate basic formative and summative assessment techniques.
  3. Apply knowledge of development and other influencing factors to interpret observations and assessments.
  4. Use standardized observation and assessment tools to evaluate quality in environments, interactions, and curriculum.
  5. Discuss logistical challenges, biases, and preconceptions about observing and assessing children.
  6. Demonstrate how observation and assessment are used to plan for and adjust learning experiences.
  7. Describe legal and ethical responsibilities in relation to observation, assessment, documentation, and recordkeeping.
  8. Discuss the role of partnerships with families and other professionals in utilizing interpretations of observational and assessment data.

  1. Portfolios or other methods of documentation which demonstrate the student's ability to effectively collect data on groups of children and apply theories of development.
  2. Exams which demonstrate the student's ability to interpret various ideas and theories presented in the course.
  3. Written paper that demonstrates the student’s ability to interpret observation and assessment data.

Seeing Young Children: A Guide to Observing and Recording Behavior, Bentzen, current edition, Delmar Cengage Learning

Observing and Understanding Child Development, Ahola & Kovacik, current edition, Delmar Cengage Learning

Week by Week, Plans for Documenting Children's Development with Professional Enhancement Booklet, Nilsen , current edition, Delmar Cengage Learning

California State Preschool Learning Foundations, Available at:

California State Infant/Toddler Learning & Development Program Guidelines, Available at: 

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  • Materials adopted by the Early Childhood Curriculum Alignment Project (CAP) in 2007 for use by all California Community Colleges. Endorsed by the California Community College Early Childhood Educators (CCCECE).

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  • child, childhood, development, education, observation, assess