Measuring cognitive development in early childhood learning environments

Campbell, Claire, and Bond, Trevor G. (2011) Measuring cognitive development in early childhood learning environments. In: Cavanagh, Robert F., and Waugh, Russell F., (eds.) Applications of Rasch Measurement in Learning Environments Research. Advances in Learning Environments Research, 2 . Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 301-324.

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Discussions of the transition from prior-to-school settings to more formal year one learning environments often involve the concept of children's school readiness. A Piagetian perspective suggests that the presence and use of particular operatory structures indicative of the concrete operational stage of cognitive development are requisite for a child to achieve successful learning outcomes in the new formal environment of primary school. In any case, the non-standardised skills-based checklists used by many early childhood educators to infer children's levels of readiness for year one seem inadequate as the debate surrounding 'unready' children and under-achievement persists. This paper presents the findings of a study in which forty-two children in a preschool learning environment were administered a Piagetian conservation of number task using the Genevan méthode clinique as outlined in Piaget and Szeminska's The Child's Conception of Number (1941/1952). Participants were also assessed routinely by their teachers using the teacher-developed Key Indicators of Readiness for Year One (KIRYO) Checklist, and then judged qualitatively on their preschool and early year one achievement by the respective teachers. Children's performances on each of the above-mentioned indicators were scored quantitatively using comprehensive performance criteria derived from each item’s source. Analysis using the Rasch Partial Credit Model indicated that concrete operational thinking, rather than mastery of the KIRYO checklist indicators, was more closely aligned with teachers' perceptions of success in the year one learning environment. The implications for professional discussion and decision-making, as well as insights for teachers of early childhood sectors are canvassed.

Item ID: 34573
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-94-6091-493-5
Keywords: Rasch measurement, early childhood, learning environments
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Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2014 05:03
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1301 Education Systems > 130102 Early Childhood Education (excl Maori) @ 50%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation @ 50%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930101 Learner and Learning Achievement @ 50%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930199 Learner and Learning not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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