Thursday, September 3, 2009

Learning stories / Narrative assessment

Learning stories
This document by Professor Susan Hill, Associate Professor in Early Childhood Education, University of South Australia describes the use of learning stories in capturing the context of the learning environment that appears to be enabling or constraining learning.

Learning and Teaching Stories: New Approaches to Assessment and Evaluation
Podmore V. & Carr M. 1999. Paper presented at the AARENZARE Conferenceon Research in Educaion, Melbourne, December.
This document outlines the research in New Zealand on using Learning stories for assessment and evaluation and details the frameworks and procedures used.

An ABCD of Developing Curious Minds
2007 Conference on Thinking: Curious Minds Think and Learn by Exploring the Unknown
Norrköping, Sweden
Margaret Carr (University of Waikato, New Zealand)
Wendy Lee (Educational Leadership Project & University of Waikato
In this short paper Margaret and Wendy discuss their interest in the ways in which teachers notice, recognise, respond to, record and re-visit episodes of learning, including curiosity in action. In particular, they look at how early years teachers in New Zealand are writing ‘Learning Stories’ as formative assessments to encourage an orientation towards exploration, curiosity, and resilience in the face of failure.
Mark Bailey, 2004
This paper focuses on the use of Digital Learning Stories (DLS) as an approach for constructing and presenting understanding . Student-documented DLS tend to be more effective with children who are a bit older and therefore more capable of documenting their learning, and reflecting on the process and contents.

Learning Story template
The Learning Story template is intended to allow LEOTC providers and schools to create their own Learning Stories. The template has been developed on the basis of best evidence of learning research in LEOTC environments both nationally and internationally. It has been widely circulated for comments and feedback, and formatted with the teachers and students (the end users), meaningfully taken into account.

Examples of learning stories
These Learning Stories have been produced using the Learning Story template in full or by adapting the template and creating short films. The venues were chosen to show best practice, and a range of curriculum learning areas and student age groups. The 'teacher’s voice' is from the teacher responsible for the visit. This may not always be the person who arranged the LEOTC visit but will be the teacher responsible for the management of the visit on the day.

Using children’s learning stories to assess their mathematics learning in preschools and schools
Elspeth Harley Bob Perry Nicole Hentschke, AARE.
This paper reports work done with preschool educators ,tracing how powerful ideas in mathematics were identified in current preschool practice, how they were linked to the Developmental Learning Outcomes in the mandatory curriculum documents and how the technique of learning stories (narrative assessment) was established as a valid assessment regime compatible with key principles of preschool education.

Learning Stories and Children's Powerful Mathematics
The professional development focus on children’s powerful mathematical ideas, combined with action research that encouraged educators to identify these ideas within children’s experiences and to document these through learning stories, form the basis of this paper.

The stories we share: Using narrative assessment to build communities of literacy participants in early childhood centres
Ann Hatherly
AJEC, Vol. 31 No. 1, March 2006, pp. 27-34.
This article draws on data collected as part of the development of Kei Tua o te Pae, Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars (Ministry of Education, 2004), a New Zealand resource designed to engage teachers in reflection about assessment practices within the framework of Te Whāriki. It tells the story—the author’s story—of the ways in which documented assessment, using techniques more associated with storytelling than with observation, invites participation of children, families and teachers and thereby becomes the means through which a community of literacy-learners and participants is developed. It is argued that, given the increasing pressure on centres to provide for literacy, documented assessments offer many possibilities for not just describing but also constructing literacy learning in meaningful contexts.

Connected learning stories: mathematics
Provides example stories of successful classroom practice the Mathematics KLA illustrate a range of approaches and strategies for incorporating information and communication technologies (ICT) into teaching and learning.

Using children’s learning stories to assess their mathematics learning in preschools and schools
Elspeth Harley Bob Perry Nicole Hentschke, AARE
This paper reports work done with preschool educators as part of the Southern Numeracy Initiativ. It traces how ‘powerful ideas’ in mathematics were identified in current preschool practice, how they were linked to the Developmental Learning Outcomes in the mandatory curriculum documents and how the technique of learning stories (narrative assessment) was established as a valid assessment regime compatible with key principles of preschool education.

Narratives for learning: Sharing giftedness through learning stories
Valerie Margrain, Massey University
Paper presentation to Reaching Forward: National Conference on Gifted Education, Rotorua, March 13-15, 2009.
Learning stories, as a narrative assessment method, provide rich opportunities for documenting and sharing examples of giftedness in social contexts. The documentation method is one that it accessible to teachers, parents and students, and able to capture broad multicategorical aspects of giftedness, including creative, cultural and leadership domain, and dispositions for learning. Examples of two learning stories of 4-year old precocious readers are included in this paper to illustrate assessment for learning and to make learning visible.

Narrative Assessment: identity and equity for disabled students
Geoff Moore, Sue Molloy, Missy Morton, Keryn Davis
University of Canterbury, UC Education Plus, College of Education, New Zealand.
Assessment that is student-referenced and related to the learner’s dispositions, (competencies) is a hopeful way forward for these students. This project is highlighting how the use of narratives (Learning Stories), enables teachers to capture rich descriptions of learning in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies and learning areas, in the context of culturally responsive pedagogy (Bishop & Glynn, 1999). Learning Stories not only look back, but they are constructive and forward looking through providing teachers and learners a process of seeking and interpreting evidence to open up possible learning pathways. They are also enabling teachers to view the students as mindful and competent in learning contexts; able to access learning in and through The New Zealand Curriculum.

Curriculum accountability in the early years
From August 2005–July 2006, sixteen preschools engaged in a practitioner research project to critically examine and investigate the interweaving of learning and pedagogical objectives, and to document children’s learning and development against the DLOs, using narrative assessment called ‘Learning stories’. As part of the project, a draft matrix underpinned by a social pedagogical approach, was developed for piloting. The matrix has a focus on educational effort and commitment, shifting from expectations in terms of output to expectations in terms of inputs for each child.

Exploring narrative assessment to promote empowerment of educators and parents of children with special educational needs
The use of narrative assessment by early intervention teams is explored in two case studies in New Zealand where early intervention provisions are guided by an inclusive special education policy. Team members, including parents and teachers, received professional development on the use of learning story assessment, and shared their learning stories at planning meetings. The project highlighted the empowerment of parents and educators through the use of learning stories for assessment and planning. Challenges to the adoption of narrative methodologies in inclusive early intervention contexts are identified.

Selected Books

Developing early literacy: assessment and teaching
Susan Hill 2006
Held CEO 428.0071 HIL

Patterns of narrative discourse: Multicultural life span approach
Alyson McCabe
Held CEO 401.41 MCC

From observation to reflection: A practitioners guide to programme planning and documentation
Joy Lubawy, 2008.
This book provides practical examples at how to observe learning, how to document this in a learning story framework and then connecting your reflections and understandings with the curriculum and your program. Joy’s work in this book has drawn inspiration from the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum document Te Whariki, the theories og Multiple Intelligence by Howard Gardner and the work of Reggio Emilia.
Held CEO

Assessment in early childhood settings.: learning stories
Margaret Carr 2003

Programming and Planning in Early Childhood Settings (4th Edition), Thomson Learning
Arthur L (2008)
Held CEO

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