Assessment Tools for Observing Childhood Behavior


Observation of children is essential in assessing the level of academic and cognitive development. There is always a chance of getting a subjective result even when an expert looks at the pupils. Applying the right and credible tools that the curriculum developers have approved ensures standardized results. Notably, most research instruments are culturally sensitive to help the researchers avoid making the wrong judgment due to some ethnic differences. Using the proper criteria in recording measures and evaluating the results gives the instructor a view to recognize and appreciate children. Various settings are conducive to assessing children, including interactions at home, during play with peers, in class, and when the child is alone. Although educators can do this at any time, making formal studies with a specific purpose helps the teacher be specific. Observation and time samples, running records, and anecdotal notes are the best strategies for completing observation.

Observation of Children & Time Sample

Context and Use

Teachers use the time sample technique to observe childhood behaviors when trying to get an in-depth perception of a child’s behavior in a given activity. Over a set time, which can take an hour, the child is observed after every five minutes to make consistent and accurate recordings (Alfonso et al., 2022). For example, the educator can provide the child with dough and beads to mold and create objects in his play area. In intervals of five minutes, the practitioner could observe what the child is doing and document it. After an hour, the teacher completes an observation of the child’s fine motor skills. The teacher can then evaluate the records against the standard age-appropriate expectations to gauge if there is any disorder.


The educator can use this tool to understand the client’s developmental milestones and the progress made. Evaluation of the results also helps make adjustments for continuous improvement (Neaum, 2019). Their interest areas and abilities, social interactions, including temperamental traits and play patterns, are easily gathered as the tool provides the time, means and ability to gather frequent occurrences (Alfonso et al., 2022). The time sample tool can be accurate when planning behavior modification strategies as it provides room to identify inconsistencies.

Running Record

Context and Use

The running record method involves the practitioner observing every detail as it happens and gathering all the relevant information. It should be objective, detailed and sequential, giving minute by minute account of what happens over a specified amount of time. The instructor should have the purpose and focus for the observation as the method enables obtaining an accurate and detailed account of the behavior without interference, evaluations or any interpretations (Maguire-Fong, 2020). For example, during break time, a teacher can decide to keep an eye on a particular child to collect information on how she is relating with her peers. The educator can also get insight into the student’s play patterns and document the behaviors and all activities gathered. The collected information should have minor interruptions for efficient results. Therefore, the child’s environment should be as natural as possible.


One important lesson I learned in using this tool is that the accuracy of the data gathered depends on the researcher’s ability to minimize disruption. The evidence is detailed, objective and descriptive hence appropriate for baseline information on the child’s interests, behaviors and activities (Maguire-Fong, 2020). The advantage of using the running method is that it is more natural, easily flows, and is applicable anywhere the toddler is comfortable. The physical characteristics and nature of the child, whether physically challenged or having unique abilities, do not influence this method of observation and assessment.

The Anecdotal Notes

Context and Use

Anecdotal notes refer to detailed descriptive narratives written down after interacting with a child. The tool is credible and can be applied in class while teaching the students. Essentially, the teacher can observe the pupils doing some mathematics, which highlights the cognitive development level. The educator then writes a detailed report on what the child was doing and puts the information in a file (Maguire-Fong, 2020). For example, if it was a sum and the pupil counted their fingers as they jot down the response, the teacher can write down specific details. What was the length of time the child used to complete the sum, which finger was the child starting with, the mistakes and the success? The instructor can then store the records and use them for future references.


An important lesson from carrying out the observation using this tool is that writing down anecdotal notes requires immediacy. The rationale is that it is a detailed descriptive process, and it is easier to forget (Neaum, 2019). In addition, I learned that anecdotal records might be time-consuming when making references. Therefore, I am in the process of making a tool that will help in sequencing and ordering the sequence to make work easier. The other new information I got is that the anecdotal provides meaningful data from the natural setting. I know that it is essential to avoid interrupting the children when taking notes. It is good to learn how to write or type faster. However, when a mistake is present, it is helpful to correct it immediately. It also helps to write using standard abbreviation formats, which other teachers can also read and understand.


The tools helped me understand that teachers have a role in nurturing children in all aspects of their growth, whether physically, psychologically, socially or spiritually. The instructor can guide the student toward the good behavior change from the observations and assessments. While carrying out the study, the teacher can provide guidance and adjustments to ensure the child conforms to adaptable practices. Observation and recording are essential in having an all-rounded perspective of the child’s wellness. Through this, teachers and educators can come up with suitable and tailored methods to meet each student’s needs.

These tools help understand that the environment in which children grow and learn dramatically impacts their behavior. In turn, it affects their relations at home or school. The role of parents and caregivers is vital when assessing the welfare of the child and their growth and provision. The recommendation for using the tools is that teachers embrace benchmarking to learn from each other and the processes. Findings from the observations provide room for improvements and adjustable changes. Educators should keep in mind that the setting and environment of children impact the observation and assessment methods. Thus, they should consider friendly and interactive strategies that best support the pupil’s needs, while improving their experience and growth.


Alfonso, V. C., Engler, J. R., & Turner, A. D. (2022). Essentials of Bayley-4 assessment. John Wiley & Sons.

Maguire-Fong, M. J. (2020). Teaching and learning with infants and toddlers: Where meaning making begins. Teachers College Press

Neaum, S. (2019). Child development for early years students and practitioners. Learning Matters.

Cite this paper

Select a referencing style


AssignZen. (2023, May 17). Assessment Tools for Observing Childhood Behavior.

Work Cited

"Assessment Tools for Observing Childhood Behavior." AssignZen, 17 May 2023,

1. AssignZen. "Assessment Tools for Observing Childhood Behavior." May 17, 2023.


AssignZen. "Assessment Tools for Observing Childhood Behavior." May 17, 2023.


AssignZen. 2023. "Assessment Tools for Observing Childhood Behavior." May 17, 2023.


AssignZen. (2023) 'Assessment Tools for Observing Childhood Behavior'. 17 May.

Click to copy

This report on Assessment Tools for Observing Childhood Behavior was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Removal Request

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on Asignzen, request the removal.