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Responding to the pandemic: Changing the assessments in early childhood practicum placements by strengthening voice and agency

Jo Perry and Sarah Probine

The 2020 COVID lockdown provoked the early childhood team at Manukau Institute of Technology to radically rethink how practicum was assessed. The usual approach of an “in-centre” observation followed by a triadic discussion was replaced by weekly “virtual” meetings and an online triadic. A reflective framework was developed to guide students to think about and articulate their understanding of the assessment of practice criteria. At the conclusion of the virtual practicums, a small qualitative research study was conducted with the aim of examining the impact of these changes. Thematic analysis of the online questionnaire sent to students, associate teachers, and visiting lecturers revealed many students had experienced deep learning, had developed personal confidence, and had taken greater ownership of their learning. These findings informed practicum assessment in the newly developed Bachelor of Education (early childhood teaching) programme.

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