Transforming Assessment, Evaluation and Documentation in Early Childhood Pedagogy


Lucia Carriera, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Elisabetta Biffi, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Ioanna Palaiologou, University of Bristol, UK


In the field of early childhood education and pedagogy the issues of assessment, evaluation and documentation are having central role in research and practice that are concerned with effective ways of assessing, evaluating and documenting children’s development and learning. Moreover the issues of children’s and parents’ voices, participation, involvement and engagement in these processes are seen as a challenge when early childhood educators try to align effective practices and values with external pressures such as policy, government standards.

In this new SIG faithful to EECERA values, we aim to open the debate about ways where assessment, evaluation documentation, children’s and parents’ voices, participation involvement and engagement can be inter-dependant, inter-connected and woven in a way that forms an ecological thinking so we can develop rigours and systematic ways moving away of attempts to “modelise”, “universalise” assessment, evaluation and documentation and formulate testing as many policies tend to.

Central to the SIG will be the exploration of the potentialities of assessment, evaluation and documentation in early childhood education drawing attention to the pedagogy and open up a discussion of alternative way of thinking about these concepts in early childhood education vs approaches oriented by government policies focused on the notion of academic achievement, attainment and “testology”. The underpinning ideology of this SIC is illustrated in the words of the founder of Reggio Emilia ideology and it will seek :

“A pedagogy that denies children unexpected and ambiguous encounters to the fantastic and imaginative, to the adventurous, to the risky and the improvised” (Malaguzzi lecture November 1993)

Keys aims of this new SIG will be:

  • To examine ways of how an ecological thinking involving all stakeholders’ (early childhood educators-term used collectively to describe all who are involved in a professional capacity with children’s education, parents and children) participation, involvement, dialogic pedagogy in assessment, evaluation and documentation versus testing and laboratory tick boxes assessment processes;
  • To open the discourse of the underpinning ideologies, philosophies, theory/theories, epistemologies of assessment, evaluation and documentation;
  • To explore the potentiality/potentialities of innovative ways and ecological thinking to assessment , evaluation and documentation;
  • To share practices of how we can develop effective and ethical ways of assessing, evaluating and documenting how children are connecting cognitive skills and transversal competences with situations that appear in everyday life, children’s unique strategies and narratives of connecting situations, how children develop skills and try to make sense of the world without trying to apply a universal approach to these processes;
  • To explore alternatives on how we can move away from developmental scales focusing on academic achievements that they are the dominant discourse in many curricula approaches and reduce social stratification and inequality;
  • To engage into discussions on the focus of the assessment, evaluation and documentation (i.e: singularity of the child versus universality, connectivity of situations versus testing)
  • To discuss and potentially extend relevant research and experimentation of assessment, evaluation and documentation in practice and on practice.


Click here to view the 2019-20 report (pdf) Ioanna Palaiologou & Elisabetta Biffi
Click here to view the 2017-18 report (pdf) Ioanna Palaiologou & Elisabetta Biffi

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