Authentic Assessment is recommended practice for early childhood educators. It lets them see the big picture of a child’s development. The Authentic Assessment Cycle helps educators get a sense of the skills that the child has acquired and what they have learned. It also helps educators adjust their lesson plans to support children’s progress. (Learn more about how the Authentic Assessment Cycle works in our first Tip Sheet in the series.)
Educators also need to know whether a child is gaining skills and knowledge at a rate that’s typical for their age. To know that, they need to compare the child’s development with a set of guidelines. Our second Tip Sheet in our Authentic Assessment series is called Introducing It: Using the Early Learning Guidelines to Track Development for Assessment. It talks about two different sets of guidelines that educators can refer to: developmental milestones and Early Childhood Indicators of Progress (ECIPs). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer information on developmental milestones. The ECIPs, meanwhile, are from the Minnesota Department of Education. They describe what children should know and be able to do by the time they enter kindergarten.