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The moral dimensions of assessment in early childhood education


This article conceptualizes assessment in early childhood education as a moral practice using Amartya Sen’s capability approach and Thomas A Schwandt’s practical hermeneutic approach to assessment and evaluation. After describing the moral connection Sen makes between development and assessment, Schwandt’s conceptualization of evaluation is presented as reframing it from a technical practice to one based on practical moral knowledge, having moral significance for teachers and children. Assessment as a moral practice must be done from two perspectives: from the learner’s perspective to assess children’s agency in guiding their own learning, and from the environment’s perspective to assess the opportunities for learning afforded children by the environment. Balancing assessment from these two perspectives is a moral challenge for teachers. The final section examines the recent work by Margaret Carr and Jennifer Keys Adair, who offer new approaches to assessment in early childhood that incorporate methods consistent with the capability approach and Schwandt. The goal of the article is to outline a moral practice of assessment in early childhood education. (author abstract)

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United States

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