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Exploring alternative approaches to child outcome assessments in Children's Centres

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In England, early years education services and the children and who attend them are the subject of increasing scrutiny and assessment. While these assessments offer a number of benefits in terms of tracking child development and ensuring the efficient use of public monies, they also impose restrictions to practice, limits to understandings of children and fail to engage with the wider social context of the child. Here, we argue for the need to look at alternative modes of assessment to enhance the quantitative data that are already being collected and to address the criticisms identified. Looking at methodological debates around the limits of quantitative research and the benefits of qualitative, we argue that there is scope to explore the use of more qualitative methods of assessment in early years education and the new political era that England finds itself in is the perfect opportunity to do this.
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Keywords: Children's Centres; holistic outcomes; outcomes-based accountability; qualitative outcomes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Education, Early Childhood Studies Team,University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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