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The entire portfolio contains selected drawings, writings, HyperStudio stack samples, and a sequence of photographs of Broderick, a preschool child whose speech and language are delayed.
Another component of the assessment process is the documentation of children's literacy behaviors as they use the reading, writing, art, and computer centers.
AlphaSmart is a portable keyboard that can be used for recording observations in the classroom. Files are later downloaded onto a Macintosh or PC computer. Children also enjoy pushing the keys to make letter on the display. Many of them try to find the letters in their name. In this way the keyboard becomes a literacy tool for children too.
Children's literacy and computer skills are assessed through use of two Project-developed instruments used at the beginning and end of the year.
Informal Literacy Assessment (ILA) is based on elements of other literacy measures.
The teacher observes children being read to and reading to themselves and peers. The ILA measures:
The Universal Behavior Interaction Tool (BIT) is used to assess children's behaviors at the computer. The BIT measures three types of interactions:
A variety of skills, such as cognitive, fine motor, social, and communication, are assessed while the child uses software with another child. Again these scores are compared with those obtained early in the year to note children's progress in interaction behaviors at the computer.
The ITLC model uses an array of tools and various processes to assess children's literacy skills. The process allows for differences in children's styles and rates of learning, supports children's development, and focuses on children's strengths. Children will be assessed through observation and documentation in a variety of circumstances and during typical and real activities. Teachers will be provided with useful information as a result of the assessment process.
Having literacy assessment procedures in place ensures that teachers and families have the needed information on children's abilities in order to make decisions on suitable activities to promote emergent literacy. Portfolio collections, observation and record-keeping techniques, the use of HyperStudio as literacy documentation, and the use of two assessment instruments have been found to be effective in helping plan curriculum. Through developmentally appropriate curriculum which is based on sound assessment strategies children in early childhood programs will be given the best opportunities to develop early literacy skills.
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