CD325.02     Robert S. Miller
Child Observation and Assessment   024 Rounds
Fall, 2001      Office Hours:
        MWF  11:00-12:00
        TTh 9:30-10:45
       Phone:  2953

Catalog Description:

Methods and techniques of educational measurement as evaluation.  Construction and consideration of teacher-made tests.  Selective uses and interpretation of standardized tests.  Techniques of self-appraisal.  Techniques of observation and inquiry.  Prerequisite:  CD317 or CD 319 or PS205 or PS317.

Required Reading:

Linn, R.L. & Gronlund, N.E. (2000).   Measurement and Assessment in Teaching, Eighth Edition.  Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Merrill.  (Referred to in schedule of assignments as "Linn and Gronlund.")

Bentzen, W.R. (2000).  Seeing Young Children:  A Guide to Observing and Recording Behavior, Fourth Edition.  Albany:  Delmar.   (Referred to in schedule of assignments as "Bentzen.")

Relationship to Conceptual Framework:

 This course has been designed to support the conceptual framework for Teacher Education at Plymouth State College, the five components of which are summarized in the acronym CHECK. Students will gain KNOWLEDGE of the various observational and assessment methods that can be used to know children and evaluate their learning.  Methods of observation and assessment and professional writing will be practiced, as well as examined, thus providing students with EXPERIENCE using these skills. The HOLISTIC approach will be taken at all times in that the course will emphasize the need to integrate varied observations and assessments in order to gain insight into the whole child. Students in the course are expected to display COMMITMENT by regular class attendance and faithful and timely completion of all assignments and COLLABORATION by being supportive of one another as learners and by participating thoughtfully in class discussions.


1. To come to understand the role of measurement and assessment in the instructional process.
2. To learn to communicate the results of observation and assessment in a clear and professional way.
3. To gain familiarity with the general principles of observation of children and with specific observational methods.
4. To learn to define instructional goals and objectives in ways that facilitate the construction of appropriate assessments.
5. To develop the ability to construct classroom assessments that measure a variety learning objectives from simple to complex.
6. To understand the concepts of reliability and validity and their role in the construction, selection, interpretation, and use of tests and other performance assessments.
7. To learn to interpret assessment results with awareness of limitations imposed by error of measurement.
8. To learn to interpret and use the results of standardized tests.
9. To learn to critique standardized tests on the basis of published reports about them and to use such information to select those which are appropriate to a given purpose.
10. To understand ethical and legal issues of assessment.

Performance-based Assessment/Activities:


 There will be two hour exams and a final exam.  The hour exams are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, October 16 and Tuesday, November 13.  The final exam will cover material from the final unit of the course only.  Your grade on each of these three exams will count as 1/7 of your course grade.


 There will be three projects one based on each unit of the course.  Each will count as 1/7 of your course grade.

Project 1 will be an Observational Methods Project.  It will require you to practice several of the specific observational methods we will learn by observing two children (one boy and one girl) in a classroom environment.  You will be expected to find your own placement for this project.  The project will involve about 9 hours of observation to be conducted during the three-week period from October 4 to October 24.  A written report (which will give you practice writing about your interpretations of observations in a professional manner) will be due October 25.

Project 2, an Assessment Construction Project,  will be an opportunity to practice what we learn in the second unit about construction of planned assessments (for example, but not exclusively, classroom tests).  You will be asked to describe in detail a curriculum unit you might teach and the various assessments you would use during and after the unit to evaluate student learning.  What will be especially important will be proper application of what you learn in the second unit of the course about construction of assessments.  This project will be due November 20.

Project 3 will  be a Standardized Test Critique.  In the final unit of the course we will learn how to choose and interpret standardized tests.  An important aspect of this will be to learn the library skills needed to locate information about standardized tests in reference sources.  You will be asked to apply these skills by investigating and critiquing a particular test.  This project will be due December 13.

Attendance, class participation, and homework:

 The remaining 1/7 of your course grade will be determined by my estimation of your class participation. The most important and basic component of participation is attendance.  Participation also depends on preparation in the form of completing reading and other homework assignments on time. Reading assignments will appear on the syllabus.  Other homework assignments (such as specific exercises in the textbook) will be announced the class before they are due and through email to your Plymouth account.

Schedule of Topics and Assignments:

Th Sep. 6    Introductions

T  Sep. 11    Assessment and Teaching I
  Assignment due: Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 1

Th Sep. 13     Assessment and Teaching II
  Assignment due: Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 2

T  Sep. 18 Guidelines for Observing Children
  Assignment due: Bentzen, Chapters 1 and 3

Th Sep. 20 General Methods for Observing Children
  Assignment due: Bentzen, Chapters 4 and 5

T  Sep. 25   Specific Observational Methods
  Assignment due: Bentzen, Chapters 6, 7, and 8

Th Sep. 27 More Specific methods
  Assignment due: Bentzen, Chapters 9. 10, 11, and 12

T  Oct.  2     Interpreting Observations
  Assignment due: Bentzen, Chapters 13 and 14

 Th Oct.  4 Observing School Age Children
Assignment due: Bentzen, Chapter 19; Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 11

T  Oct.  9 Porfolios as Assessment
  Assignment due: Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 12

Th Oct. 11 Peer and Self Assessment
  Assignment due: Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 13

T  Oct. 16 HOUR EXAM #1

Th Oct. 18 Instructional Goals and Learning Objectives
  Assignment due:  Linn and Gronlund, Chapter  3

T   Oct. 23 Planning Classroom Assessments
  Assignment due:  Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 6

Th Oct. 25 Objective Tests:  Simple Forms
  Assignment due:  Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 7;  PROJECT 1

T  Oct. 30 Objective Tests:  Multiple Choice
  Assignment due:  Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 8

Th Nov.  1 Interpretive Exercises and Essay Questions
  Assignment due:  Linn and Gronlund, Chapters 9 and 10

T  Nov.  6 Administering and Appraising Classroom Tests
  Assignment due:  Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 14

Th Nov.  8 Grading
  Assignment due:  Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 15

T  Nov. 13 HOUR EXAM #2

Th Nov. 15 Using Standardized Tests
  Assignment due:  Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 18

T  Nov. 20 Locating Information about Standardized Tests
  Assignment due:  PROJECT 2

Th Nov. 22 No Class ? Thanksgiving

T  Nov. 27 Statisical Concepts Used in Testing
  Assignment due:  Linn and Gronlund, Appendix, pp. 515-525 only.

Th Nov. 29 Validity I
  Assignment due:  Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 4

T  Dec.  4  Validity II

Th Dec.  6 Reliability I
  Assignment due:  Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 5

T  Dec. 11 Reliability II
  Assignment due:  Linn and Gronlund, Chapter 19

Th Dec. 13 Interpreting Standardized Test Scores
  Assignment due:  PROJECT 3

FINAL EXAM:  Thursday, December 20, 8:00-10:30 a.m.