Current Early Educator Knowledge, Practice, and Needs Regarding Informal Assessment


  • Audra I. Classen The University of Southern Mississippi
  • Jean Kang University of North Carolina - Greensboro
  • Gregory A. Cheatham The University of Kansas


Informal Systematic Assessment, Head Start, ECSE Preschool


Early educators are urged to use authentic assessments which assess young children's development using systematic observation of real-life experiences and activities (Susman-Stillman, Bailey, & Webb, 2014). However, only a limited number of studies are available regarding early educators' current practices and needs associated with systematic informal assessment (Early et al., 2007; Madaus, Rinaldi, Bigaj, & Chafouleas, 2009; Pretti-Frontczak, Kowalski, & Brown, 2002). Researchers provide a framework for this study by dividing the DEC recommended assessment practices (2014), and NAEYC assessment indicators of effectiveness (2003) into four themes: choosing assessment methods, collecting data, collaborating with families, and analyzing data. The framework was then used to design the survey instrument for the purpose of determining early educators' current: (a) use of informal assessment methods, (b) knowledge and beliefs about the effectiveness of informal assessment methods, and (c) needs for training related to using informal assessment methods. Results indicate that early educators working in settings other than Head Start revert to using two informal assessment methods (i.e., anecdotal notes, event/frequency) which match most teachers' self-rating of their knowledge regarding anecdotal notes. Finally, early educators in the current study reported needing additional training related to all informal assessment methods except for anecdotal notes.

Author Biographies

Audra I. Classen, The University of Southern Mississippi

School of Education Assistant Professor

Jean Kang, University of North Carolina - Greensboro

Assistant Professor

Gregory A. Cheatham, The University of Kansas

Special Education Department Associate Professor