Observation, screening, and assessment include processes for gathering, interpreting, applying, and sharing information in a manner that recognizes children's strengths and builds upon their previous experiences. They are important tools for understanding children individually and in groups, and for the purposes of planning environments, curriculum, and other learning experiences. For example, to support effective observation and assessment practice, the CDE has developed a tool called the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP), which is aligned with the preschool learning foundations and the infant/toddler learning and development foundations.
In general, this competency area addresses the knowledge and skills that early childhood educators need in order to conduct responsible, ethical, and effective observation, screening, and assessment of young children and the identification of special needs. It includes an understanding of the goals, uses, benefits, and limitations of various assessment approaches. Also included are the importance of, and strategies for, working with families when using observation, screening, and assessment; principles of developmentally appropriate, culturally and linguistically sensitive, and individually meaningful observation, screening, and assessment; the relationship between observation, screening, assessment, and decision making and planning; program evaluation; confidentiality and privacy; and the role of early childhood educators or other professionals in these processes.
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