The assessment of early literacy development
The study concerns on the assessment of early literacy development of children aged three to five years. A review of research into the assessment of early literacy, a consideration of purposes of literacy assessment and a survey of practice in schools revealed the need for new measures of literacy development that are in step with current research into literacy development in the preschool years. The study addressed six questions: 1. How is early literacy development currently assessed by teachers? 2. What is the focus of teachers' early literacy assessment? 3. What are teachers' purposes for assessing early literacy development? 4. What are teachers' needs in terms of assessment of early literacy development? 5. How can researchers better assess early literacy development? 6. Can early literacy development assessment instruments developed for researchers also be useful to teachers? Questions 1-4 were investigated through an interview survey of 30 schools. Question 5, the major research question of the thesis, was researched through the development and trialling of a new measure, the Early Literacy Development Profile. Teachers' views gathered during the trial were used to answer question 6. The major outcome of the study is a new measure, the Early Literacy Development Profile. This is intended for those research studies which require a measure which results in a statistical outcome (specifically, experimental studies involving comparison of groups of children, comparison of methods and comparison between age spans). Other outcomes include: a basis for the development of a new measure~ a review of the literature on early literacy assessment and a delineation of the purposes of assessment in this area. Three lines of future research emerge: further development and evaluation of the Profile~ comparisons with other measures; use of the Profile in studies involving comparisons between groups, methods and age spans.