In this text, a critical reflection is presented on assessment practices in early childhood education, which are discussed in the context of the creation by those practices of the students’ sense of agency which, according to J. Bruner, is treated as a category of school culture. The discussion is based on the results of the recent research conducted in Poland on students’ agency and an analysis of the data collected as part of the author’s own research. The picture obtained by using the triangulation of methods and sources confirms that assessment in early childhood education strips children of the opportunity to build a sense of agency, even in terms of independent control of a task situation. The surveyed students, admittedly, are capable of a relatively independent reflection on the context of school assessment, but the world of their educational experience is limited to the incapacitating culture of the school grade. It is a culture that becomes one of the sources of children’s self-restraint in the perception of themselves as agents, perpetuating their external steerability and passivity. To change this situation, external regulations will not suffice, but only the organizing of the learning environment based on the relationship between the teacher and the student, which is free from the daily pressures of assessment and the worship of formal correctness.
The term “metalearning”, which was introduced into scientific literature by J. Biggs (1985) is, broadly speaking, an awareness of one’s own learning process and exercising control over it. Metalearning, whose roots lie in the personal, early experiences of the child related to learning, and which is expressed in her or his current concepts – is considered in this article as a basic condition for the acquisition of one of the key competences of 21st century man, namely, the learning competence. Recognizing the importance of colloquial concepts of learning, as well as their uniqueness and contextuality – in the article I will present the main problems associated with learning about the vision and understanding of the personal worlds of the learning of pupils, coming at the end of early education. On the basis of analysis of the scientific literature and previous studies conducted abroad, as well as a number of my own research projects (resulting from the application of quantitative or qualitative approach), I will present questions, doubts and selected emerging difficulties in the application of both the presented research approaches.
The goal of this paper is to discuss changes implemented in Danish early childhood education influenced by neoliberal ideology, and views concerning the new requirements for teachers (pedagogues) at private and self-owned kindergartens. The paper describes the historical tradition of Danish kindergartens based on children’s free play and democracy, allowing children to develop social skills and cognition through exploration and discovery, and giving practitioners a great deal of autonomy. The new trend in Danish early childhood education is towards detailed planning of work and accountability-based-assessment, which contradicts the traditional philosophy. It pushes teachers to create programs that develop children’s readiness for school and to implement teaching methods based on educational standards mandated by the government. The results of this research project, based on interviews conducted with teachers and educational experts, demonstrates the educators’ criticism of this new approach and their attempts to save democracy as a central value in education