For many of us, the first assessment checkpoint period is right around the corner. With this in mind, I’d like to share one of my favorite strategies for gathering documentation. I call it “Quick Review,” and if you’re using GOLD® or another observation-based assessment system, I think you’ll find it helpful.
“Quick Review” is a simple process that can help you reflect on an individual child or two in a short period of time. Remember that not all documentation has to take place in the moment that an activity occurs. With “Quick Review,” documentation happens later, when you have time to take a few minutes to review the objectives and dimensions for a child.
Why review the objectives and dimensions?
Because it can help to jog your memory. Don’t spend too much time reading and thinking. Just consider one or two children and what you’ve seen them do recently, and quickly browse the objectives, dimensions, and even the indicators. You may be surprised by how many quick pieces of documentation you come up with!
If you’re worried that you’ll get too wrapped up in your review, set a timer for 5, 10, 15 minutes—however much time you can spare. Then see what you remember during that time.
What does a “Quick Review” look like?
I was helping out in a kindergarten class recently. I’m going to think about two children who I worked with and review the objectives for development and learning from the GOLD® assessment system. Let’s see what I document as I browse through the dimensions and indicators. I’ll give myself 5 minutes.
- A. said, “No pushing. Pushing hurts my body!” when a child pushed him in line.
- S. kept writing when the clean-up song began playing, but stopped when I touched her back and said, “The clean-up song is on.”
- After hearing that I liked dogs, S. brought me a book about dogs in the library the next day.
- A. approached a group of children building, complimented their work (calling it “cool”), and asked to help.
- A. and S. both typed their names accurately using a keyboard.
- While drawing, A. used a three-point finger grip at the very tip of his pencil. He stopped, used the other hand to push the pencil so his grip was in the middle, and then started drawing again.
Okay, so I got through two areas of development and learning: social–emotional and physical. Honestly, I never would have documented the keyboard typing in the moment, but seeing the indicators for Objective 7a reminded me about small, precise finger and hand movements (level 8) and typing is provided as an example of that indicator. And while I couldn’t remember A.’s exact words when he approached the group of children building, I was able to document the occurrence.
“Quick Review” is a simple way to squeeze documentation into a hectic day and get great observation data to help increase the accuracy of your assessment decisions. Plus, every time you read through the objectives, you get more and more familiar with their dimensions, indicators, and examples, which will make future documentation even easier.
For more tips and ideas for supporting your classroom practice, please check out our web site.