Whether early childhood experts like it or not, we will be forced to continue to assess preschool children. As I mentioned in the last entry, I think it is appropriate that we are accountable for helping children with school readiness skills prior to entering kindergarten. One of the hindrances in assessing preschool children has always been the fact that many early childhood educators are poorly paid and poorly prepared educationally to create effective and authentic assessment tools. As long as early childhood programs continue to have low wages, teachers without educational degrees will be filling the positions. This leads to a lack of expertise when it comes to evaluating the progress of individual children. When this happens, assessments that are not developmentally appropriately administered creep into the system. In this day of fairly homogeneous early childhood performance standards, the appropriateness of an evaluation is not in what is evaluated, but how the evaluation occurs within the early childhood setting.
I believe that the beginning of a good preschool assessment system begins with good assessment tools. Using these tools in a developmentally appropriate way is what makes the assessment authentic and accurate.