Research regarding the effects of positive early childhood experiences on long term learning and success is drawing more attention to early childhood education programs than ever before. Promises on the federal and state level of better pay for early childhood educators and ‘high quality’ publicly funded early childhood education programs is an exciting and long-awaited vision by both families and early childhood educators. However, with federal and state funding comes the need for justification of those funds through different measurement structures. One of the widely used measurement structures is the Teaching Strategies GOLD® preformatted, portfolio style assessment system. Teaching Strategies GOLD® is an assessment system in which early childhood educators enter observations and documentation of children’s work and connect them to 38 pre-established, generic learning objectives to track children’s learning and development.
The implementation of assessment systems such as Teaching Strategies GOLD® follows the Department of Education’s continuing aspiration of consistency and fidelity in publicly funded schools and education programs. There is considerable research that supports the use of the Teaching Strategies GOLD® assessment system as a valid and consistent way to rate young children’s growth and development. Yet there is a significant absence of the voices of the early childhood educators that are required by their place of practice to use the Teaching Strategies GOLD® assessment system. In this research, I explored the experiences of self-identified constructivist early childhood educators who are required by their place of practice to use the Teaching Strategies GOLD® assessment system through the use of narrative inquiry, by giving these early childhood educators a chance to share their experiences in working with this system.
Data and findings included a series of interactions including interviews, and reflective conversations with the three participants as well as an observation completed in their work space. Data was interpreted using Clandinin and Connelly’s (2000) three commonplaces of narrative inquiry; the temporal commonplace, the sociality commonplace and the place commonplace. Conclusions drawn from this research indicated that practicing the Teaching Strategies GOLD® assessment system in early childhood programs can have a problematic impact on some of the ways in which self-identified constructivist early childhood educators worked with young children. These effects were most strongly noted during times in which Teaching Strategies GOLD® checkpoint dates were approaching for the educators. Additional conclusions signified that using Teaching Strategies GOLD® in early childhood programs affected the professional development opportunities offered by the programs. The professional development opportunities became centered on the use of Teaching Strategies GOLD®. Issues arose with early childhood educators’ perceptions of themselves as professionals.
|Commitee:||Nimmo, John, Anderson, Ingrid, Meinhold, Jana|
|School:||Portland State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Oregon|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/6(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Early childhood education, Pedagogy|
|Keywords:||Collaborative narrative inquiry, Early childhood education, Teaching Strategies GOLD®|
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