April Showers Bring May Flowers… and Assessments

The 2016-17 school year will be coming to an end in just a few weeks. This is a significant milestone for children completing preschool and beginning transitional kindergarten or kindergarten in the fall. In state and federally funded preschool programs, the DRDP (2015) will be given to each of the children and will allow parents and educators to see an indication of their growth from the beginning to the end of the school year. In addition, ratings by the teacher will be noted indicating each child’s progress through the following levels: Responding, Exploring, and Building and Integrating (with Integrating being at the highest level in the DRDP continuum).

Wait! So what is the DRDP (2015)? The acronym stands for the Desired Results Developmental Profile. It is a formative assessment instrument developed by the California Department of Education for early learning teachers to assess young children. The DRDP results allow teachers to design informed instruction and tp continue program development. It is administered in natural settings through ongoing teacher and family observations, and includes examples of children’s work. The assessment is designed for use with children from early infancy up to kindergarten entry, including children with Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). It aligns with the California’s Infant/Toddler and Preschool Learning and Development Foundations, the Common Core Standards, and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. The DRDP measures eight domains important to early childhood development. Within the math domain, seven measures are assessed:

  1. Spatial Relationships may include how a child selects puzzle pieces that are approximately the right size and shape to fit into a puzzle.
  2. Classification may include associating a child with a parent, or sorting items by colors or shapes.
  3. Number Sense of Quantity may include demonstrating awareness of quantity, using number names, reciting the number words, or having one-to-one correspondence.
  4. Number Sense of Math Operations is closely associated with the Number Sense of Quantity, with the additional developmental level of adding objects to a group to make more, make a new number of objects, or solve simple addition or subtraction word problems.
  5. Measurement assesses the increasing understanding of properties such as size, length, weight, volume, and how to quantify those properties such as measuring two cups during a cooking activity or counting the number of steps to measure the length of a rug.
  6. Patterning will show the increasing complexity from opening and shutting the hands to making clapping patterns and color patterns.
  7. Shapes measures the increasing knowledge of shapes from exploration, to finding certain shapes, to communicating the characteristics of the shape.

Some may wonder why assessments are necessary for young children? And why is observation an important form of assessment? The main objective of the DRDP is to note where the child is in the continuum of each measure and to develop a roadmap for areas to develop. Teachers who observe, listen to children, and recognize that children do not think the way adults do are better prepared to modify experiences and expectations to meet children’s needs. The combination of physical and mental development, along with the critical component of having opportunities to explore concepts in a natural play environment will benefit the child to move forward towards the integrating level.

How does this relate to our theme at the AIMS Center of believing in children’s knowledge? The DRDP can be a helpful tool since it can allow for teachers’ professional noticing of children’s thinking in the area of mathematics. Teachers are able to note that children are at different levels of mathematical understanding, and with increased teacher knowledge experiences can be strategically modified for children. The DRDP can help early learning educators maximize opportunities for mathematics learning in the classroom by using what they observe and interpret to create lesson plans and design activities. In addition, parents may work in tandem with the teacher to interact with the child in engaging conversation and daily opportunities to “mathematize” their environment.

Enjoy the great spring weather and whatever you do, “remember to do the math.

2 Responses to April Showers Bring May Flowers… and Assessments

  1. Great post Wilma, and thank you for your description of the DRDP and the importance of observation in early childhood classrooms. Math is so important to the daily development of our young children!

    • Thank you, Shera! The DRDP is a great tool to identify where the children are in their continuum of learning. The next step is to provide opportunities to develop skillsets to move them to the next level while building on their existing knowledge. Early learning is so important for developing early math skills—I’m so glad you are sharing your ECE passion with CCAEYC members and other educators across the state. You are amazing.

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