The two broad methods of assessment that are appropriate for the Foundational Stage are observations of the child and analysing artefacts that the child has produced as part of their learning experience.

Observations of the Child- Methods and Tools of Assessment

Observations of the Child- Methods and Tools of Assessment

Observation across time provides the Teacher with a comprehensive understanding of the child’s learning. There can be several contexts where children exhibit their behaviour, attitudes, and their learnings.

Children show their understanding by doing, showing and telling. Observations can help Teachers see the child’s achievement of different Competencies which children can exhibit in many possible ways. The Teacher can also make a note of the factors influencing this. Sometimes, specific situations or objects can stimulate the child to act in a certain way. For example, if the Teacher wants to find out the child’s ability to share toys and take turns, then a particular circumstance must be created so that the child is able to display their ability to share or take turns. The Teacher may ask a child to play with something that requires taking turns with another child in a quiet corner of the classroom.

National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022

Systematic observation for assessment involves the following steps:


  • Planning: Identify a few children for observation in the classroom. Determine which Curricular Goals would you like to observe. Make a list of the Competencies and Learning Outcomes you would like to observe within that. Determine and prepare the tool that would be needed to record observations.

Gather evidence

  • Gather evidence: Find out a time where the selected Competencies or Learning Outcomes can be exhibited by children. For example, if it is related gross motor development, then outdoor play would preferably be a good setting for observation. If it is about social development, then children can be observed in group activities or in the dramatic play corner. Keep recording exactly what you observe, e.g., if you see a child being able to take turns independently and you may mark a tick on your checklist and note down the exact observation as evidence.

Reflect and assess

  • Read the evidence and the records to track the progress of each child over a period of time. Every concrete evidence would inform the Teacher how to plan and modify her teaching for the children in future.

Some illustrative pointers for observation during a few common pedagogical processes are below:

Story telling

  • Story telling:
  • i. Is the child getting involved in the story?
  • ii. Is the child describing the pictures?
  • iii. Is the child asking questions about different characters of the story?
  • iv. Is the child connecting personal experiences with the events of the story?
  • v. Is the child recalling familiar words from the story?
  • vi. Is the child expressing likes or dislikes about the story?

Guided conversation

  • Guided conversation:
  • i. Is the child listening to others during Circle Time?
  • ii. Is the child waiting for their turn to speak?
  • iii. Is the child expressing their pleasure or displeasure listening to others?
  • iv. Is the child able to predict what is going to happen next?

Play – Free, Guided, or Structured

  • Play – Free, Guided, or Structured:
  • i. Is the child solving simple problems?
  • ii. Is the child able to use large and small muscles to engage with play material?
  • iii. Is the child able to express different emotions?
  • iv. Is the child able to respond appropriately to the emotions of others?

Reference and Excerpt

National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022