The status of the image in ECE assessment practice

Insights from the field

Keywords: Early Childhood, Assessment, Images in Assessment, Critical Literacy


While much has been done to advance narrative assessment practice in the early years, less attention has been granted to the role of the image in this pursuit. As a consequence, the purposes, value and strategic use of images (photographs, videos, visual metaphors etc.) in foregrounding learning of young children are not well understood. This paper reports on the results of a short pilot survey, sent to the early childhood education (ECE) sector Aotearoa New Zelaand in early February 2022, asking a series of exploratory questions about the status and utility of the image in ECE assessment. Images were not only viewed by many respondents as central to assessment and the co-production of knowledge about children’s learning, but they were also considered to be significant in terms of the trustworthiness and credibility of assessment information.  Images represented young children’s learning in accessible ways and provided for reinterpretation, negotiation of meaning, and ongoing conversations about children’s changing experiences, capabilities, relationships, and community in ECE. As entry points to assessment dialogues with whānau and children, images provided a shared source of evidence about valued learning. We conclude with a provocation arising from understanding images as central to assessment that calls for more critical literacy concerning the placement and status of the image in ECE assessment practice – especially in light of assessment in the bicultural curriculum context of Te Whāriki (MoE, 2017).



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How to Cite
Gunn, A. C., White, E. J., & Williams, N. (2022). The status of the image in ECE assessment practice: Insights from the field. Teachers’ Work, 19(1), 15-28.