LIMITATIONS OF THE NATIONAL ASSESSMENT PORTFOLIO FOR PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN’S LEARNING PROGRESS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
The problem of the research:
Scientific research works demonstrate that the assessment of child’s progress in pre-school institutions is important; however, there is a lack of information on effectiveness of means and methods of the monitoring of the progress. The portfolio method being employed in various countries allows providing the conditions for monitoring child’s progress; nevertheless, it has some limitations whose disclosure would allow developing recommendations for the designers of assessment methods concerning perfection of the monitoring of the progress. The problem question is how it could be possible to improve the portfolio for assessment of child’s achievements so that it would enable collecting more reliable evidence for the improvement of child education quality?
The research aim is to reveal the limitations of the portfolio for the assessment of child’s achievements used in pre-school education institutions so that it could be possible to ground on arguments when searching for more effective means to ensue and improve the quality of education of children at the national level.
Qualitative research employing the portfolio to collect and analyze the data is the research method. The portfolios (it is a document which comprises child’s fine art pieces, photos, child’s speech written down by a pedagogue and child’s other attainments) containing achievements of children from two groups of the X kindergarten were analyzed. Pedagogues fill in the portfolios twice per year – in autumn and spring, while watching the manifestation of children’s abilities and competences in 18 fields: e.g. creativity, artistic expression, relationships with adults and peers. Those groups of children which underwent the largest amount of monitoring were selected for the research in order to conduct a more in-depth analysis. The data was analyzed by employing the method of content analysis. The presented tables introduce the categories and sub-categories, characteristic examples, reflexive comments proving the strengths and weaknesses of the portfolio.
The portfolio containing children’s achievements, which is compiled on the basis of the national document, the Descriptor of Achievements of Pre-school Children, is a suitable means to accumulate data for the analysis of pre-school children’s achievements and progress. The portfolio provides conditions for pedagogues to know the children, to more purposefully plan the process of their (self-)education. The analysis of assessment portfolios revealed that, during almost every assessment, children’s achievements and progress increased, and, in the final stages of their assessment, the amounts of assessed children grew. However, there are some limitations to the methods under discussion. First, data collection to form a portfolio is limited because the assessment of children’s achievements depends not only on pedagogue’s competences but also on attendance of children. Second, children are less assessed in assessment stages I and II. This means that either children were ill more often and there was no possibility to assess their achievements during classes, or there was a high load for a pedagogue, one had no time to observe suitable features of achievements and record them. This is linked to the third drawback of the portfolio compilation: there are fields that are hard for a pedagogue to assess.