This resource is part of a series of 8 practice resources for assessment for children’s learning in early childhood education and care services (ECEC). Each resource is aligned with the Principles of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF V2.0).

About this resource

Before using this resource, read the Introduction: Assessment for children’s learning. The introduction provides insights into the importance of assessment in quality, evidence-based ECEC practice with cultural responsiveness at its heart.

Authentic relationships are central to effective ECEC pedagogy. Effective assessment involves placing relationships at the centre of the assessment process.

Assessment strategies that support this Principle include:

  • Use assessment methods that can be embedded in play-based learning, to enable you to remain ‘present’ with the child and attuned to their progress while participating in the program alongside them. Choose resources that equip you to notice the many types of learning and development that occur during children’s play and routines (such as the early childhood learning trajectories).
  • Create culturally safe learning environments that promote reciprocal learning between the child, their family and the teacher or educator. Engage in ongoing discussions with children and families about how you collect and analyse evidence. Ask for their ideas on what sort of assessment processes they like to be involved with and consider how these approaches can support their learning, development and wellbeing.
  • Make assessment meaningful, playful, collaborative and culturally responsive. Include assessment strategies that enable children to actively participate, such as visual forms of documentation, collaborative discussions and reflection.
  • Actively involve children in analysis of evidence that relates to their learning, development and wellbeing. This supports the inclusion of their perspectives and also provides opportunities for them to recognise and celebrate their own learning.
  • Be mindful of how each child is experiencing the assessment, recognising that children may react to different types of assessment (including being observed during play) in different ways. Learn about factors that can influence children’s ability to show their progress, such as language, stress and cultural positioning.

Reflection questions:

  • How do you balance assessment for children’s learning, development and wellbeing in everyday interactions and play while also maintaining a focus on relationships?
  • How do you include children’s voices, ideas and perspectives in documented assessments?

This practice resource is part of a series of 8 Assessment for children’s learning practice resources:

  • Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships
  • Partnerships
  • Respect for diversity
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives
  • Equity, inclusion and high expectations
  • Sustainability
  • Critical reflection and ongoing professional learning
  • Collaborative leadership and teamwork.

They link to the early childhood learning trajectories suite of resources including the Learning trajectories user guide, Evidence report and the Play-based learning and intentionality practice resources.

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. (2012). Developmental milestones and the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standardhttps://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-02/DevelopmentalMilestonesEYLFandNQS.pdf

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. (2016). Sustainability in children’s education and carehttps://www.acecqa.gov.au/latest-news/blog/sustainability-childrens-education-and-care

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. (2019). Documentation – What, why and howhttps://www.acecqa.gov.au/latest-news/blog/documentation-what-why-and-how

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. (2020a). Guide to the National Quality Framework. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/nqf/about/guide

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. (2020b). Children with disability in ECEC and school age education. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-08/ACECQA-DiscussionPaper-DSEConsultation_1.pdf

Australian Government Department of Education. (2022). Belonging, being and becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia V2.0. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-01/EYLF-2022-V2.0.pdf

Alvernik, K. (2018). Systematic documentation: Structures and tools in a practice of communicative documentation. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 19(1), 72–84. https://doi.org/10.1177/1463949118762147

Arthur, L., Beecher, B., Death, E., Dockett, S., & Farmer, S. (2018). Programming and planning in early childhood setting (7th ed.). Cengage.

Blaisdell, C., McNair, L., Addison, L., & Davis, J. (2021). ‘Why am I in all of these pictures?’ From learning stories to lived stories: The politics of children’s participation rights in documentation practices. European Early Childhood Research Association Journal, 30(4), 572–585. https://doi.org/10.1080/1350293X.2021.2007970

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Bruno, A., Galuppo, L., & Gilardi, S. (2011). Evaluating the reflexive practices in learning experiences. European Journal of Psychology Education, 26(4), 527-543. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-011-0061-x

Commonwealth of Australia, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. (2021). Keeping our kids safe: Cultural safety and the national principles for child safe organisationshttps://www.childsafety.gov.au/resources/keeping-our-kids-safe-cultural…

Cowan, K., & Flewitt, K. (2021). Moving from paper-based to digital documentation in early childhood education: Democratic potentials and challenges. International Journal of Early Years Education. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669760.2021.2013171

Dawson, J., Laccos-Barrett, K., Hammon, C., & Rumbold, A. (2022). Reflexive practice as an approach to improve healthcare delivery for Indigenous people: A systematic critical synthesis and exploration of the cultural safety education literature. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(11), 6691. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116691

Department of Employment Education and Workplace Relations. (2009). Belonging, being and becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-02/belonging_being_and_becoming_the_early_years_learning_framework_for_australia.pdf

Department of Employment Education and Workplace Relations. (2010). Educators’ guide to the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/acecqa/files/National-Quality-Framework-Resources-Kit/educators_guide_to_the_early_years_learning_framework_for_australia_2.pdf

Dockett, S. (2011). Ethical assessment. Every Child, 17(3), 7–8.

Edwards, S., & Nuttall, J. (2009). Introduction. In S. Edwards & J. Nuttall (Eds.), Professional learnings in early childhood settings (pp. 1–8)Sense Publishers.

Elliot, S. (2019, May 1). Education for sustainability. The Spokehttps://thespoke.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/education-for-sustainability/

Elek, C., Gibberd, A., Gubhaju, L., Lennx, J., Highfold, R., Goldfeld, S., & Eades, S. (2022). An opportunity for our little ones: Findings from an evaluation of an Aboriginal early childhood learning centre in Central Australia. Early childhood Education Journal, 50, 579–591. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-021-01174-5

Epstein, A. (2014). The intentional teacher: Choosing the best strategies for young children’s learning. The National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Flottman, R., Stewart, L., & Tayler, C. (2012). Practice Principle 7: Assessment for learning and development (Evidence Paper)University of Melbourne and Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. https://www.education.vic.gov.au/documents/childhood/providers/edcare/pracassess.pdf

Hallahan, G. (2021, September 15). The assessment bias trap: What the TAGs taught us. TES Magazine. https://www.tes.com/magazine/news/secondary/assessment-bias-trap-what-tags-taught-us

Harrison. L., Bull. R., Wong, S., Elwick, S., & Davis, B. (2019). NSW assessment study: Review of formative assessment practices in early childhood settings. NSW Department of Educationhttps://education.nsw.gov.au/content/dam/main-education/early-childhood-education/working-in-early-childhood-education/media/documents/formative-assessment/nsw-preschool-assessment-study-review-of-formative-assessment.pdf

Hart Barnett, J., & O’Shaughnessy, K. (2015). Enhancing collaboration between occupational therapists and early childhood educators working with children on the Autism spectrum. Early Childhood Education Journal, 43(6), 467–472. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-015-0689-2

Hedges, H., Cullen, J., & Jordan, B. (2011). Early years curriculum: Funds of knowledge as a conceptual framework for children’s interests. Curriculum Studies, 43(2), 185–205. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2010.511275

Indigenous Allied Health Australia (2019). Cultural responsiveness in active framework. https://iaha.com.au/workforce-support/training-and-development/cultural-responsiveness-in-action-training/

Kennedy, A. (2018, July 10). Reflective practice: Making a commitment to ongoing learning. The Spoke. https://thespoke.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/reflective-practice-making-commitment-ongoing-learning/

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McMullen, M. (2018). The many benefits of continuity of care for infants, toddlers, families and caregiving staff. Young Children, 73(3),38–39. https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/yc/jul2018/benefits-continuity-care

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Keywords: educator reflection, educator professional development