This resource is part of a series of 8 practice resources for assessment for children’s learning in early childhood education and care services (ECEC). Each resource is aligned with the Principles of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF V2.0).

About this resource

Before using this resource, read the Introduction: Assessment for children’s learning. The introduction provides insights into the importance of assessment in quality, evidence-based ECEC practice with cultural responsiveness at its heart.

Documenting evidence and making children’s learning, development and wellbeing visible is essential to effective assessment practice. Using sustainable ways to gather, record and store evidence about each child’s progress, and being thoughtful about the choice of materials and resources is crucial. It promotes shared appreciation and care for the environment and economic sustainability.

Assessment for learning also includes a focus on social sustainability by promoting inclusion and living peacefully, fairly and respectfully together in resilient local and global communities (EYLF V2.0, p. 17).

Assessment strategies that support this Principle include:

  • Adopt and embed sustainable ways to collect and present evidence of children’s learning, development and wellbeing. Reflect on the ways assessments are captured, the quality and quantity of information, and whether alternative, more sustainable ways could be explored.
  • View the early childhood learning trajectories and other resources as useful professional learning tools that build your own knowledge of children’s learning, development and wellbeing. These materials can be accessed online and do not need to be part of each child’s documentation.
  • Promote a shared understanding about the environment and sustainability through every step of the assessment practice. Involve children in selecting environmentally friendly materials and resources to create and display their work. Talk about the importance of reducing, re-using, recycling, respecting and other elements of sustainability in everyday practice.
  • Embed opportunities for children to investigate and explore elements of sustainable communities. Adopting an assessment-as-learning approach such as this can assist children to consider environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability and provides opportunities to engage with concepts of social justice, democracy and citizenship.
  • Practice cultural responsiveness throughout the assessment-for-learning process and actively advocate for approaches that will support the cultural integrity of children and families at the service.

Reflection questions:

  • How do you currently document and communicate evidence about children’s progress? How do you balance quality with quantity?

This practice resource is part of a series of 8 Assessment for children’s learning practice resources:

  • Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships
  • Partnerships
  • Respect for diversity
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives
  • Equity, inclusion and high expectations
  • Sustainability
  • Critical reflection and ongoing professional learning
  • Collaborative leadership and teamwork.

They link to the early childhood learning trajectories suite of resources including the Learning trajectories user guide, Evidence report and the Play-based learning and intentionality practice resources.

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. (2012). Developmental milestones and the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standardhttps://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-02/DevelopmentalMilestonesEYLFandNQS.pdf

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. (2016). Sustainability in children’s education and carehttps://www.acecqa.gov.au/latest-news/blog/sustainability-childrens-education-and-care

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. (2019). Documentation – What, why and howhttps://www.acecqa.gov.au/latest-news/blog/documentation-what-why-and-how

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. (2020a). Guide to the National Quality Framework. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/nqf/about/guide

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. (2020b). Children with disability in ECEC and school age education. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-08/ACECQA-DiscussionPaper-DSEConsultation_1.pdf

Australian Government Department of Education. (2022). Belonging, being and becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia V2.0. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-01/EYLF-2022-V2.0.pdf

Alvernik, K. (2018). Systematic documentation: Structures and tools in a practice of communicative documentation. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 19(1), 72–84. https://doi.org/10.1177/1463949118762147

Arthur, L., Beecher, B., Death, E., Dockett, S., & Farmer, S. (2018). Programming and planning in early childhood setting (7th ed.). Cengage.

Blaisdell, C., McNair, L., Addison, L., & Davis, J. (2021). ‘Why am I in all of these pictures?’ From learning stories to lived stories: The politics of children’s participation rights in documentation practices. European Early Childhood Research Association Journal, 30(4), 572–585. https://doi.org/10.1080/1350293X.2021.2007970

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Cowan, K., & Flewitt, K. (2021). Moving from paper-based to digital documentation in early childhood education: Democratic potentials and challenges. International Journal of Early Years Education. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669760.2021.2013171

Dawson, J., Laccos-Barrett, K., Hammon, C., & Rumbold, A. (2022). Reflexive practice as an approach to improve healthcare delivery for Indigenous people: A systematic critical synthesis and exploration of the cultural safety education literature. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(11), 6691. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116691

Department of Employment Education and Workplace Relations. (2009). Belonging, being and becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-02/belonging_being_and_becoming_the_early_years_learning_framework_for_australia.pdf

Department of Employment Education and Workplace Relations. (2010). Educators’ guide to the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/acecqa/files/National-Quality-Framework-Resources-Kit/educators_guide_to_the_early_years_learning_framework_for_australia_2.pdf

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Edwards, S., & Nuttall, J. (2009). Introduction. In S. Edwards & J. Nuttall (Eds.), Professional learnings in early childhood settings (pp. 1–8)Sense Publishers.

Elliot, S. (2019, May 1). Education for sustainability. The Spokehttps://thespoke.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/education-for-sustainability/

Elek, C., Gibberd, A., Gubhaju, L., Lennx, J., Highfold, R., Goldfeld, S., & Eades, S. (2022). An opportunity for our little ones: Findings from an evaluation of an Aboriginal early childhood learning centre in Central Australia. Early childhood Education Journal, 50, 579–591. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-021-01174-5

Epstein, A. (2014). The intentional teacher: Choosing the best strategies for young children’s learning. The National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Flottman, R., Stewart, L., & Tayler, C. (2012). Practice Principle 7: Assessment for learning and development (Evidence Paper)University of Melbourne and Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. https://www.education.vic.gov.au/documents/childhood/providers/edcare/pracassess.pdf

Hallahan, G. (2021, September 15). The assessment bias trap: What the TAGs taught us. TES Magazine. https://www.tes.com/magazine/news/secondary/assessment-bias-trap-what-tags-taught-us

Harrison. L., Bull. R., Wong, S., Elwick, S., & Davis, B. (2019). NSW assessment study: Review of formative assessment practices in early childhood settings. NSW Department of Educationhttps://education.nsw.gov.au/content/dam/main-education/early-childhood-education/working-in-early-childhood-education/media/documents/formative-assessment/nsw-preschool-assessment-study-review-of-formative-assessment.pdf

Hart Barnett, J., & O’Shaughnessy, K. (2015). Enhancing collaboration between occupational therapists and early childhood educators working with children on the Autism spectrum. Early Childhood Education Journal, 43(6), 467–472. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-015-0689-2

Hedges, H., Cullen, J., & Jordan, B. (2011). Early years curriculum: Funds of knowledge as a conceptual framework for children’s interests. Curriculum Studies, 43(2), 185–205. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2010.511275

Indigenous Allied Health Australia (2019). Cultural responsiveness in active framework. https://iaha.com.au/workforce-support/training-and-development/cultural-responsiveness-in-action-training/

Kennedy, A. (2018, July 10). Reflective practice: Making a commitment to ongoing learning. The Spoke. https://thespoke.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/reflective-practice-making-commitment-ongoing-learning/

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McMullen, M. (2018). The many benefits of continuity of care for infants, toddlers, families and caregiving staff. Young Children, 73(3),38–39. https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/yc/jul2018/benefits-continuity-care

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Keywords: educator reflection, educator professional development