In your work as an early childhood professional, you can use personal evaluation data to reflect on your practice and make changes as needed. Take some time to review these resources and then reflect on how you use data to improve your practice.
This tip sheet provides ideas about how to use data to improve practice.
This decision-making flow chart can help you decide how to use data to inform your practice.
Helpful Resources - Using Data to Inform Teaching
These resources, complied by the Office of Head Start, National Center on Quality Teacher and Learning (NCQTL@UW.EDU or 877-731-0764), provide helpful resources for using data to make decisions about your practice. The web resources have been updated.
Dodge, D. T., Heroman, C., Charles, J., & Maiorca, J. (2004). Beyond outcomes: How ongoing assessment supports children’s learning and leads to meaningful curriculum. Young Children, 59(1), 20–28. This is an article about gathering data and using the information to plan curriculum.
Harris, M. E. (2009). Implementing portfolio assessment. Young Children, 64(3), 82–85.
This article discusses how portfolios and other methods of assessment can be used to compare child progress to classroom expectations. Different assessment methods are also described as useful in future curriculum planning.
Heidemann, S., Change, C. J., & Menninga, B. (2005). Teaching teachers about assessment. Young Children, 60(3), 86–92. This article includes different ways to interpret evaluation data, and how teachers can link assessment data to planning, goal setting, and problem-solving in the classroom.
Seitz, H. (2008). The power of documentation in the early childhood classroom. Young Children, 63(2), 88–93. This article includes different ways to track children’s progress, and emphasizes the importance of reflecting on effective teaching practices.
Books and Chapters
Bredekamp, S. (2011). Assessing children’s learning and development. In S. Bredekamp (Ed.), Effective practices in early childhood education: Building a foundation (pp. 327–356). Boston, MA: Person Publishing Co. This chapter highlights using data to inform teaching as an effective practice in early childhood education.
Dichtelmiller, M. L. (2011). The power of assessment: Transforming teaching and learning. Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies. This book includes several chapters on different methods of assessment. Chapter 10, Interpreting Assessment Data, describes how to appropriately interpret assessment data in order to look for patterns, focus on curricular goals, and identify children’s progress compared to program expectations.
Gronlund, G., & James, M. (2005). Focused observations: How to observe children for assessment and curriculum planning. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press. This is a comprehensive resource on observation in early childhood classrooms. It provides guidelines and examples of how to make observation an integral part of teaching, and how to use observation to inform instruction.
Jablon, J., Dombro, A. L., & Dichtelmiller, M. L. (2011). The power of observation: Birth to age 8 (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies, Inc. This practical resource for early childhood educators makes the link between observation and effective teaching
strategies. The book provides guidelines for effective observation, and for using assessment information for responsive teaching.
McAfee, O. & Leong, D. J. (2011). Using assessment information. In O. McAfee & D. Leong (Eds.), Assessing and guiding young children’s development and learning (5th ed.) (pp. 138–155). Boston, MA: Pearson Publishing. This chapter outlines how to plan and use assessment strategies. Strategies can be used for individual children and groups, and the author includes classroom and curricular modification strategies for teachers.
Web Resources (updated)
Data in Head Start and Early Head Start: Creating a Culture that Embraces Data - Resources
https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/program-planning/article/data-head-start-early-head-start-creating-culture-embraces-data-resources. Contains toolbox and videos to help guide your use in data in your program
Learning from Assessment Toolkit
https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/child-screening-assessment/learning-assessment-lfa-toolkit/learning-assessment-lfa-toolkit. Learning from Assessment (LFA) Toolkit (2018). Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation: Washington, D.C. This is an updated collection of presentations, handouts, guided practice exercises, and descriptions of additional resources designed to support Head Start staff in enhancing, conducting, and interpreting child assessments.