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Pre-school Assessment: Brigance vs. High-Scope Essay

When analyzing the assessment plans of High-Scope and Brigance, one finds similarities and differences. While both focus on correlating their material with Head Start objectives, High-Scope appears to have more focus on experiences, emphasizes parent involvement, and observation, while Brigance aligns well with state and federal mandates regarding testing. The similarities of the two programs certainly can be observed in their correlations to the guidelines professed by Head Start.

Head Start was created to help low-income pre-school students prepare for the rigors of their public school education. The program not only outlines developmental learning goals but physical and social skills to be acquired as well. These can vary from jumping, manipulation of objects, object identification, and self-expression. Both High-Scope and Brigance programs run down a list of skills to be acquired at the completion of the program and openly state that their programs are closely correlated to Head Start. Both also state that they seek to improve overall program quality for Head Start.

Some of the mutual benchmarks for the two programs are: language acquisition, fine and gross motor skills, number concepts, visual discrimination, dressing skills, play skills and social behaviors. Both programs acknowledge that the acquisition of these skills is critical for success in school. There is one notable difference in Brigance in that it discusses its ability to identify children who are either gifted or have learning disabilities. It would appear that this screening application makes that tool popular among pre-kindergarten programs.

High-Scope differs in their philosophy in this regard stating that observation is the better Student 2 method for obtaining information regarding the success and proficiency of students. Brigance also claims to align itself with No Child Left Behind. This probably explains its tendency to rely on testing and screening as the preferred mode of assessment. Brigance also seems to emphasize the compilation of data concerning assessment. This data is then to be interpreted and communicated in parent-teacher conferences. It would appear, given the emphasis on data, that Brigance is designed with NCLB in mind.

High-Scope, rather than emphasize testing, emphasizes parent involvement. High-Scope states that, “Parent involvement has long been recognized as central to children’s growth, to the development of parenting skills, and the enhancement of family self-sufficiency” (www. highscope. org 6). Parents are encouraged to volunteer in classrooms, attend meetings and workshops, serve on committees, and discuss their child’s progress. High-scope also says that their program attempts to be sensitive to the needs of the children, but the parents as well.

High-Scope also seeks to give the parents significant roles when assisting the class rather than peripheral ones. This focus seems to contrast sharply to Brigance where the parents might merely be seen as the receivers of information. High-Scope also stresses the need for key experiences. Rather than procure a checklist of developmental outcomes, High-Scope designs experiences in ten areas that enhance a child’s interaction with the world. Teachers then use these experiences as the foundations upon which learning is built. The emphasis here is on thinking and reasoning and not just rote memorization.

The result would suggest learning that long-term in that it is tied to the experiences of the child. Student 3 High-Scope also differs with Brigance in that it emphasizes observation as a primary assessment mode. While Brigance utilizes screening tools and tests for the collection of data, High-Scope suggests that observation is the most authentic way of determining a child’s progress. The teachers use daily notes that actually rely on what the children do and say. Teachers keep a log of these notes regarding the child and then use them to complete the High/Scope COR.

This then produces information to be shared with parents, teachers, and administrators to evaluate the child’s progress and offer recommendations or remedies if needed. The two assessment programs differ in many ways. It would seem that the High-Scope model with its importance placed on parent involvement, experience, and observation would be preferred by educators because its intention seems to be the creation of meaningful learning. Children in this program would appear more likely to retain information for extended periods of time and be able to apply that information to a variety of environments and contexts.

This model also eliminates test-anxiety and possible cultural testing biases which could serve to disproportionately skew results. The outcome is a program which is both comprehensive and profound, seeking to produce children with true learning. Nonetheless, since it is not a tool that seems to align closely with the testing mandates in NCLB, it may not often be employed in public school’s because of the law’s mandated testing programs. Teachers wanting to utilize such a program as High-Scope may not be encouraged to implement due to the fact that it does not endorse the method preferred by the NCLB legislation – testing.

However, if Student 4 teachers were given the option to freely choose between the two, the would undoubtedly desire a program that would create long-term learning and not regurgitation. Student 5 Works Cited “Assessment. ” Curriculum Associates. 10 October 2006. <www. curriculumassociates. com>. “Head Start. ” U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families. 10 October 2006. <http://www. acf. dhhs. gov>. “Early Childhood Assessment. ” HighScope Educational Research Foundation. 10 October 2006. <www. highscope. org>.


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