Assessment for learning in infant and toddler education and care : a study of teachers' talk and practice at one centre
The introduction of Te Whariki (Ministry of Education, 1996b) to the early childhood sector in New Zealand created a move to viewing children's learning through a socio-cultural lens. With this change Carr (1998a) introduced the early childhood sector to learning dispositions and a new format for assessing children's learning. This study focuses on how teachers in an infant and toddler centre connect key ideas from Te Whariki (Ministry of Education, 1996b) into assessment practices. A case study is used to analyse data gathered from centre policy documents, a group interview, and several children's profile books. Three focus ideas are presented including, parental contribution in their child's profile books, terminology used in the documents and how the centre is adapting to taking up a sociocultural approach to assessment. Findings show parental contributions to the profile books are in fact one aspect that is linking the family and community to the centre. Terminologies used in the centre's documents show a mixture of developmental and socio-cultural terms and reflect the language used by the teachers who are interviewed. The teachers' approach to a socio-cultural understanding about assessing children's learning is revealed to be developing through professional development run at the centre. Ultimately, the study shows the teachers to be in the early stages of a transition from developmental based practices to a socio-cultural approach to assessment.