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EDC 218


Spring 2022

NAEYC Standard 3: Observing, Documenting, and Assessing to Support Young Children and Families

Child Study by Documenting and Assessing a Focal Child’s Language and Literacy Development

In order to apply ideas and concepts addressed in the course, you will develop a study of a young language learner, a child who is an English learner or an emergent bilingual. For the child study and plan, you will focus on a child’s communication, language, and emergent literacy experiences (broadly defined, since the children you will work with are primarily within the birth through age four range). You will collect observations and various data to document how the child uses and experiences language with the objective of assessing and understanding one child’s process of learning language. Through data collections, you will understand the multiple purposes of formative assessment, become familiar with several assessment strategies and tools, be ware of the potential uses, values, and limitations of each to achieve specific assessment goals, and be aware of relevant research literature on language development and assessment in general. 

Throughout the process, you will constantly make connections between your child study participant and course readings and discussions with the goal of understanding how assessment can inform curriculum making. 

Part 1 [15 points]

3a: Understanding the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment

3b: Knowing about and using observation, documentation, and other appropriate assessment tools and approaches

3c: Understanding and practicing responsible assessment to promote positive outcomes for each child

For Part 1 please respond to these questions:

  • What are you learning about how children in general learn to communicate and use language, including a second language? 
  • What are you learning about one language learner, that is, your child study participant? In what kind setting are you documenting and assessing her/him? (3b)
  • Because we know that language learning is part of a complex social and cultural process, you should focus on the social environment as well:
  • What are you learning about the child as a social being who interacts individually with adults or children and as a participant in groups?
  • What are you learning about and assessing his or her relationships with peers? (These answers should be based on careful note-taking across varied situations, or as many as you can observe in the weeks before Part 1 is due.) (3a, 3b, 3c)
  • What connections can you make between what you have observed about your child participant and your readings and other EDC 218 resources? In other words, what are you learning about and assessing her or his communication and language? Cite at least 6 different readings or other sources in Part 1. Please do not list the same author more than twice in your list of different sources. (3a)
  • Part 1 should include a copy of 3 pages of your observational notes. These may be legibly hand-written and included as an appendix at the end of your paper (please make sure notes are dated and organized chronologically). 
  • Part 1 should be presented in essay form. You should be responsive to EACH of the questions bulleted above, although you do not have to answer them in the order in which they are listed.

Length: no more than 8 double-spaced pages, typed (excluding appendix and observation notes, which must be added as an appendix–clearly labeled and organized chronologically).

For Parts 1 and 2: Providing documentation for yourself: Keep a journal or “log” of notes, ideas, and questions about readings and other content, such as class discussion, which will remind you of how and what you’re learning. Include reflective notes that show you’re stepping back and analyzing yourself as a learner (participant in class discussions, inquirer, reader, listener, etc.) as well as how you are making connections between readings and your child study participant. 

Part 2 [30 points]

3a: Understanding the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment

3b: Knowing about and using observation, documentation, and other appropriate assessment tools and approaches

3c: Understanding and practicing responsible assessment to promote positive outcomes for each child

3d: Knowing about assessment partnerships with families and with professional colleagues

Part 2 builds on Part 1. Part 2 should also be presented in essay form, although you may incorporate quotations or excerpts of dialogues involving your child participant and others. Respond more fully to the 3 questions for Part 1, and add these two:

  • Think in terms of making curriculum for your child study participant. If you had the opportunity, what specific things would you like to do next to enhance her or his learning of language? Create two curricular engagements to demonstrate what you would plan for her/him if you could (see engagements below for more detailed information). One lesson should be an individual lesson while the other should be a small or large group lesson that demonstrates how you will address individual needs within the classroom context. (The lesson plan can be general, like an overview, not highly detailed.) Since you are focusing on a child who is an emergent bilingual, what would you do to enhance her/his bilingualism and biliteracy development? How are your recommendations, engagements, and lessons supported by your observations and your course reading/learning? (3a, 3c)
  • What have you learned about yourself as a learner, listener, reader, and writer? Do you learn more from listening or reading, for example? Or more from writing than listening, etc.? What helped you learn about yourself: talking with colleagues, reading specific pieces, working with children, etc.? This question is based on the assumption that awareness of your own learning processes helps you to become aware of children’s varied language learning processes. (3d)
  • Observation notes
  • Throughout the semester (September-December), you will be recording your observations through notes (which may include copy of artifacts, photographs, etc.). These observation notes must be included as an appendix. Please be sure that they are clearly labeled, dated, and organized chronologically, showing your observation and interactive hours with your focal child. (3a, 3b, 3c)
  • Letter to parents
  • Synthesize all of the information you have gathered about the children as readers, writers and persons to write the children’s parent/s a letter. In addition to including a copy of this in your Child Study, you will give a copy to the child’s family, if this appropriate. The letter should be no more than two double-spaced typed pages. (3d)
  • Wordless book about child
  • Create a wordless book featuring and representing your child participant, child study process, and/or your learning regarding the process of language and literacy development. The book will demonstrate your understanding of the children and your experiences together as they relate to language and literacy learning. As you work with these children, you will learn more about them. We will be displaying and sharing these on the last night of class. Be creative! In addition to including a copy of this in your Child Study, you will give a copy to the child’s family. (3c)
  • Two engagements (with one videotaped; the link of the videotaped engagement should be inserted in your paper.)
  • Throughout the semester, you will be in a classroom for a number of hours each week. You will engage in a language and/or literacy classroom practice. If needed, you will modify the classroom environment to enable two activities involving language and/or literacy as broadly conceived (e.g., oral storytelling, role playing, singing, conversations). You will design your own classroom literacy area or activity. When designing your language and literacy engagement, you are to reflect on the activities and procedures children are including in terms of this question: How does your engagement take into account/provide for authenticity, meaning-orientation, collaboration, apprenticeship, and individuality? You will document the process via RTCs (Responsive Teaching Cycles) as you engage in responsive and thoughtful experimentation with early language and literacy practices. This will allow you to assess your activities and to start developing as a responsive teacher who closely watches and pays attention to the children/child. Artifacts, RTCs, reflections, and any other relevant materials are to be arranged chronologically and clearly labeled. (3a, 3b, 3c)