Planning for assessment of young children should include criteria to ensure both quality and fairness.
High quality can be ensured by application of the Guidelines for Appropriate Curriculum Content and Assessment in Programs Serving Children Ages 3 through 8 (National Association for the Education of Young Children & National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education, 1990) and the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Psychological Assiciation, 1985). Thus, quality assurance derives from assessment procedures that:
Fairness in assessing what children know and can do depends upon their opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities. For children from minority language and ethnic backgrounds, fairness requires that they be allowed to use the response modalities, including language, in which they are most comfortable. Further, the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (1990) note:
"Assessment recognizes individual diversity of learners and allows for differences in styles and rates of learning. Assessment takes into consideration children's ability in English, their stage of language acquisition, and whether they have been given the time and opportunity to develop proficiency in their native language as well as in English." (p. 14)
Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Psychological Association, 1985) gives special attention to challenges in assessing those for whom English is a second language and those whose sensory disabilities and handicapping conditions require modifications of assessment conditions.