Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Miriam K. Hirschstein
ECFS 400
Seattle Campus

Child Observation and Assessment

Focuses on observation and other methods used to study and understand young children in the context of families and society. Develops observation skills in order to understand children's behavior in learning environments. Examines various approaches to and purposes for assessment of young children and documentation of their development and learning. Explores approaches to assessing early learning environments. Offered: A.

Class description

This course is intended to help students grow in their ability to plan and carry out observations and assessments of children 0-5, for the purpose of informing teaching and improving interactions and instruction in early childhood settings. In this course, we will learn strategies to plan, prepare, and implement a system of continuous assessment of children’s learning. Specifically, we will examine and practice methods of ongoing systematic assessment to inform teaching interactions, our goal being advancement of children’s learning and thinking. We will also read about, discuss, and practices strategies for individualizing assessment of children who are dual language learners and who have special needs. We will practice strategies to communicate effectively about results of observation and assessment with families and teaching colleagues, and consider larger contexts and implications associated with understanding and using assessment tools.

Student learning goals

1.Students will describe purposes for conducting ongoing child observation and assessment.

2.Students will demonstrate appropriate selection and use of ongoing child observation and assessment tools for the purpose of improving teaching and learning.

3. Students will select, conduct, and modify observation and assessment strategies so they are developmentally, linguistically, and culturally appropriate for individuals and populations served.

4. Students will demonstrate effective collaborative practices with families by how they convey observation and assessment information and explain their purpose, process, and results

5.Students will seek information about the technical adequacy of commercially available assessments

6. Students will reflect on their experience as observed, assessed learners, and demonstrate critical thinking about meaning and use of assessment tools

General method of instruction

Use of powerpoint, videos, discussion, and small and large group activities

Recommended preparation

Think about your earliest classroom experiences and interactions.

Class assignments and grading

Homework will involve planning assessment, collecting and interpreting information from observation and assessment tools, making sure tools fit children you observe, and demonstrating effective communication with parents about assessment. All assignments involve critical thinking and reflection on the experiences of learner and teacher.

Class attendance Class participation Timely completion of homework assignments


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Miriam K. Hirschstein
Date: 09/12/2013