Swimming Upstream in a Torrent of Assessment

  • Anita A. Wager
  • M. Elizabeth Graue
  • Kelly Harrigan
Part of the Early Mathematics Learning and Development book series (EMLD)


Growing attention to preK mathematics and increased focus on standards in the US may be leading policy makers, administrators, and practitioners down the wrong path when it comes to assessing young children. The temptation to rely on standardised assessment practices may result in misguided understandings about what children actually know about mathematics. As part of a larger study of professional development with teachers focused on culturally and developmentally responsive practices in preK mathematics, we have found that our understanding of children’s mathematical knowledge varies greatly depending on the form (what), context (where), assessor (who), and purpose (why) of assessment. Drawing on findings from three cases, we suggest that in the transition to school, shifting to more a formalised ‘school-type’ assessment is fraught with obstacles that vary greatly by child.


Professional Development Home Visit Early Childhood Educator Focal Child Story Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The writing of this paper was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation (1019431). The opinions expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the position, policy, or endorsement of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anita A. Wager
    • 1
  • M. Elizabeth Graue
    • 1
  • Kelly Harrigan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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