These descriptions can help you use different types of assessment in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) effectively. We assess children's progress by analysing our observations and interpreting what they tell us. We also need to find out about children's care and learning needs from their parents; this information helps us to identify the children's requirements, interests, current development and learning.
Assessment for Learning
Assessment is the process of analysing and reviewing what we know about children's development and learning, for example what we observed. We need to ask ourselves: what does our observation and any other evidence of learning we have collected (such as examples of the child's mark-making, information from parents, a photograph we took or video recordings we have made) tell us about the child's learning and development? What was new – something we had not observed before?
When we do this regularly we have evidence of children’s progress over time and we gain insights into children's learning, development and their needs.
Effective assessment involves evaluation or decisions about the child's progress and their learning and development needs, and gives us the information we need to plan for the next steps. This is called Assessment for Learning (AfL): it is the formative assessment, based on observations, which informs or guides everyday planning.
Summative assessment is a summary of all the formative assessment carried out over a long period and makes statements about the child's progress. The EYFS profile is the summative assessment completed by practitioners at the end of the EYFS. It summarises children's progress towards the early learning goals. It can also be formative in that it informs or guides the long- and medium-term planning carried out by Year 1 teachers to support and extend children's learning as they move into Key Stage 1.
Common Assessment Framework
The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) enables effective communication between the various agencies involved with a child about whom there are concerns. (See Principles in Practice card 3.1.)