edTPA Early Childhood Assessment Handbook
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children as they work or perform. Formal assessments may include, for example, samples of
children’s writing, drawing, painting, photos, project work, and performance tasks.
assets (knowledge of children):
personal: Refers to specific background information that children bring to the
learning environment. Children may bring interests, knowledge, everyday
experiences, family backgrounds, and so on, which a teacher can draw upon to
cultural: Refers to the cultural backgrounds and practices that children bring to the
learning environment, such as traditions, languages and dialects, worldviews,
literature, and art, that a teacher can draw upon to support learning.
community: Refers to common backgrounds and experiences that children bring
from the community where they live, such as resources, local landmarks, and
community events and practices, that a teacher can draw upon to support learning.
central focus: A description of the important understandings and core concepts that you
want children to develop within the learning segment. The central focus should go beyond a
list of facts and skills, align with content standards and learning objectives, and address the
developmental and subject-specific components in the learning segment. The subject-
specific components for an Early Childhood central focus are: developmentally appropriate
practices to promote language and literacy development in an interdisciplinary context that
take into consideration the active and multimodal nature of young children’s learning. Within
an Early Childhood context, the unit of instruction may center on a theme (e.g., birds or
insects) or a particular aspect of language and literacy development (e.g., making how-to
books, poetry, genre study). However, the central focus of the learning segment might be
rhyming sounds or poetry made up of 3–5 learning experiences that are developmentally
appropriate, take into consideration the active and multimodal nature of young children’s
learning, and take place in an interdisciplinary context. For example, a central focus on
poetry might include developmentally appropriate, interdisciplinary, active, and multimodal
learning experiences on a rhyming poem, haiku poem, and picture poem; or a learning
segment on how-to books might include similar learning experiences on reading a how-to
book, focusing on parts of the book—title, author, illustrator, table of contents. Or a central
focus on learning to express “feelings” through words might include reading a book about
feelings, making a chart about different feelings, and drawing a picture about feelings.
commentary: Submitted as part of each task and, along with artifacts, make up your
evidence. The commentaries should be written to explain the rationale behind your teaching
decisions and to analyze and reflect on what you have learned about your teaching practice
and your children’s learning.
engaging children in learning: Using instructional and motivational strategies that promote
children’s active involvement in learning tasks that increase their understanding, knowledge,
skills, and abilities related to specific learning objectives.
evaluation criteria: Performance indicators or dimensions that are used to assess evidence
of children’s learning. They indicate the qualities by which levels of performance can be
differentiated and that anchor judgments about the learner’s degree of progress as indicated
by the assessment. Evaluation criteria can be represented in various ways, such as a rubric,
a checklist of different levels of performance/development, or rules for noting full versus
partial accomplishment. Evaluation criteria may examine at what stage along a continuum of
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