As of 15th May 2013, we have slightly changed the method of adding EYFS assessments, to enable the inclusion of refinements. We have also added the ability to record Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL). This tutorial describes how to add all three to your observations.
Clicking the 'Add observation' button takes you to a page, where you need to add the information necessary to complete an observation for one or more children. It includes information such as the child you wish to add and the title of the observation (both obligatory fields - ie you can't leave these blank). It then moves on to optional fields which can be regarded as the main content of the observation - notes, media (photos or video) and then EYFS assessments and Characteristics of Essential Learning (CoEL).
Any or all of these fields can be left empty - if you're in a hurry, for instance, you need only to assign the observation to a child and give it a title, then save it. You can then edit the observation later to add EYFS assessments, CoEL judgements, notes etc.
The EYFS assessments and CoELs are towards the bottom of the page and look like this when you first see them:
Note for weavers using Tapestry before 15th May 2013: You'll note that the EYFS assessments layout has changed slightly. This is necessary to enable refinements to be added, and also to make it more intuitive to remove assessments where you have changed your mind.
To add an EYFS assessment, you should choose the area of learning and aspect you want to record, then select an age band. As you do this, an extra row appears to show the selection. For example, in the graphic below, I've clicked on L (Literacy) then reading, and selected the age band 22-36 months:
You'll notice the extra band appearing beneath the EYFS assessment chooser. To the left it gives the selected area of learning and aspect. Further to the right it gives the option to select a refinement.It shows the age band selected and how many statements have been selected (initially none of course). If you click the 'Select Statements' button you'll find an option to assign statements to the EYFS assessment appearing:
Select one or more of these and they will appear in the completed observation.
At this stage you may realise that you've allocated an aspect inaccurately. There are two ways to remove this. The first is to click the red 'remove' button, and the second is to click the 'not assessed' radio button above the age bands. You'll find the selected aspect bar below the main assessment picker disappears.
You can repeat this process for different areas of learning and aspects, assigning statements or simply age band assessments. You can only select one age band per aspect per observation. Obviously the idea is that you're judging a child to be achieving at a certain level at a certain point in time (or at least during a certain observation) and it makes no real sense to say that he is performing at this age band and also that age band - you select the highest level that s/he is performing at.
At this stage you might like to select a refinement of this age band judgement. Much has been written about the use of refinements in the PRAMS forum and elsewhere, but fundamentally it enables the assessor to decide whether a child is fully competent within a specific age band, is developing well within that age band, or is perhaps just moving into the age band.
Sometimes it has been tempting to tick off one or more of the statements associated with particular age bands, deciding that they need to achieve a full complement before moving onto the next. We (in line with EYFS recommendations) believe that this 'tick-box' approach is to misunderstand the purpose of the statements, and to make the EYFS framework rigid and bureaucratic. Instead we take the view that the statement are simply examples of the sort of behaviours that would show a child is working within that age band - that it's not in fact necessary to observe any of them specifically in order to decide that a child is achieving at that level.
The refinement options enable providers to use their professional judgement to decide where within an age band a child falls.The age bands are very broad (22-36 months, for example) so sometimes it can be difficult within a single year to be confident that a child is progressing well if they are assessed as operating within the same age band for the whole year - even if their actual age remains within that age band.
So refinements are offered as an option to show that although a child may not have moved into a different age band, they are still progressing very satisfactorily, by demonstrating greater competence in the behaviours you would expect from a child of that age.
(that's the end of the lecture - for the experienced amongst you, apologies for teaching my grandmother to suck eggs...)
Moving on to Characteristics of Learning. The selection of a CoEL is very similar to the EYFS assessment picker. The difference in practical terms is that CoELs don't involve an age-band style set of levels to achieve; they are simply an observation of certain characteristics that the child is displaying. So, if you make a selection from one of the three Characteristics shown in the graphic at the top of this tutorial (in the following graphic I've picked 'Active Learning' and the sub-heading 'Keeping on Trying', and the specific behaviours 'showing a belief that more effort or a different approach will pay off' and 'bouncing back after difficulties') you'll end up with something like this:
The box underneath shows what you have selected for CoEL. It will extend as you add more selections to it. Changing your mind and removing at each level is very easy - simply click the red 'x' to the left of each choice takes things out at that level (and every choice below it) and it will disappear.
So you can create a 'tree' of CoEL selections and then edit them out as seems fit.
Once you've completed your observation, click the 'Save' button at the bottom of the page and your EYFS assessments and CoELs will be saved and visible to view with the rest of your observation. They will also build up into a summary of progress and levels of achievement that you can view from within the 'Analysis' area of Tapestry, some of which is described here.
Edit: oops, forgot to show you how it looks after you've saved the observation. You can see how the refinements are highlighted and how the various assessments and Characteristics are displayed here:
Hope that's been helpful - as ever we're happy to hear suggestions and comments from you!