UBC Graduate Research

Changing Perspectives on Assessment in Early Childhood Education: The Power of Pedagogical Narration Strelaeff, Ellen


This graduating project investigates using the practice of pedagogical narration as a holistic tool for assessment with young children. Pedagogical narration is a practice through which children's learning processes are made visible when educator’s observe, document, and interpret children’s daily experiences and then share these interpretations in a narrative format with the children, their parents, colleagues, and community. While traditional child assessment practices, typically influenced by developmental psychology, rely on using checklists and classifying children into predetermined categories, pedagogical narration makes children's multiple ways of learning open for interpretation and dialogue. A review of the literature supports pedagogical narration as a holistic assessment tool as it is a strength-based approach to assessment that situates the child as a competent contributor to knowledge construction. It focuses on children’s search for meaning and the co-construction of new meaning with the educator and significant others in the child’s community. Based on the review of the literature, I identify four principles that can guide educators as they engage in the process of holistic assessment with pedagogical narration: holding an image of the child as competent, initiating a collaborative process between educators, children, parents, and community to elicit multiple perspectives about the documentation, embarking on a collective search for meaning making/interpretation into, and transparency about the educator’s pedagogy.

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