T&L 311 01: Observing and Assessing Children

TL 311 - Observing and Assessing Children

2023 Spring Syllabus, Section 01, CRN 7669

Course Information

You are responsible for knowing this material, so please read carefully. Any changes will be announced in a Blackboard Announcement. You will be responsible for any changes. Your continued enrollment in this course is your implicit agreement to abide by the requirements of this class.

Times and Location

Instructor Information

Dr. Grace Keengwe

Email: grace.keengwe@und.edu

Office: ED 276

2023 Spring Office Hours:
Monday & Tuesday 9 -11 am CST & by appointment

The instructor will be available during appointed Office Zoom hours to answer questions, provide feedback, and offer advice. Zoom link will provided as necessary.

Office Phone: 701-777-3378

About the Professor

For information about your instructor, view the “Week 1: Welcome Video and Getting Started and Professor’s bio information”. 

Course Description

This course acquaints the student with a variety of ways of observing, recording, and analyzing the behavior and development of children. Assessment of children will be analyzed by looking at a variety of assessment activities that can be done with children. There will be a minimum of six hours of field experience.

Learning Outcomes

Course Objectives: Through a variety of instructional methods such as lectures, discussions, quizzes, field experiences, videos, presentations, writings, individual/group work and engagement with guest speakers, students will:  

  • Assess typical and atypical development of children for the purposes of providing for individual needs and guiding young children appropriately   (ESPB-ECE Standard 8.81), (INTASC #1, 2) (CAEP 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5) (ITSE #3) 

  • Demonstrate an interest in and a commitment to the regular observation of young children as a necessary part of early childhood education. (ESPB-ECE Standard 8.8.6), (INTASC #8) (CAEP 1.3, 1.4) 

  • Apply concepts in real practice; observe, record, and assess young children’s development and learning, as they participate in play oriented activities, for the purpose of planning appropriate programs, environments, and interactions, and adapting for individual needs. (ESPB-ECE Standard 8.8.1 & 8.8.6), (INTASC #1, 2, 8) (CAEP 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5) (ITSE #3) 

  • Demonstrate the ability to write clear and accurate case study observation description reports. (ESPB-ECE standard 8.8.6), (INTASC #8)  

  • Begin to understand and practice the need to look for subtle changes observed in children over time and changing environments. (ESPB-ECE Standard 8.8.6), (INTASC #8) (CAEP 1.4) 

  • Demonstrate competency in the administration, modification, and interpretation of at least one instrument in each of several types of data collection (e.g. screening, developmental assessment, rating scales, anecdotal note-taking, and observation). (CAEP 1.2, 1.3) 

Course Materials

Required Text:  

Wortham. S. C. (2020). Assessment in Early Childhood Education. 8th or latest Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/ Prentice Hall; 

Print copy ISBN: 9780135206522, 0135206529 

eText copy ISBN: 9780135207963, 0135207967 


Cohen, D.H., Stern, V., & Balaban, N. (2015) Observing and Recording the Behavior of  Young Children. 6th Edition New York: Teachers College Press. 

PAPERBACK ISBN: 9780807757154 

EBOOK ISBN: 9780807774199 


Other Readings : Additional readings may be assigned as necessary. 

Technical Requirements/Assistance

Whether you’re taking courses in the classroom or online, it’s important to have the right technology and equipment.  Visit the UND Technical Requirements webpage for more information. Students are expected to use their official UND email in the course. For technical assistance, please contact UND Technical Support at 701.777.2222. Visit the University Information Technologies (UIT) website for their hours, help documents and other resources.

Minimum Technical Skills Needed

In order to succeed in this course, at a minimum, you should be able to:

Insert minimum requirements expected and needed. In the bulleted example list below

  • Navigate in and use basic Blackboard functions
  • Download and open electronic documents
  • Create, save, and upload/attach electronic documents
  • Send, receive, and manage email

Course Logistics

Access and Log in Information

This course was developed and will be facilitated utilizing Blackboard. To get started with the course, please go to: http://blackboard.UND.edu and log in with your NDUS.Identifier, Username and Password. If you do not know your NDUS Identifier or have forgotten your password, please visit Your NDUS Account page on the UIT website.

Course Overview

The course content is organized into 16 weeks. Each week contains learning objectives, to do list, readings/videos, assignments,  and a variety of links to articles, video/audio files, and other instructional resources selected to enhance the learning experience and support the various topics. Discussions, blogs, wikis, surveys, quizzes, tests and assignments will be used as necessary to assess your comprehension and application of those materials. 

How Students Should Proceed Each Week for Class Activities

On the left side course menu in Blackboard there is a “Lessons” tab. Inside Lessons you will find all the required readings, videos, and assignments/activities for the week. An overview of each week can be found in Blackboard under the Schedule tab.


Many services are available to UND students such as writing assistance from the UND Writing Center, free online tutoring from Smarthinking, and more. Visit the Student Resources page for more information. Students also have access to the UND Student Resource Site via Blackboard. It is recommended that you become familiar with the tools and tutorials within the site to better equip you in navigating the course.

Course Requirements/Expectations

  1. The student will review the syllabus and course schedule posted in Blackboard.
  2. The student will access and follow all course instructions found in the weekly area of the Blackboard course.
  3. The student will participate in any lecture or discussion sessions on campus or online as provided and as part of this course.
  4. The student will complete and submit assignments, exams, quizzes, etc. by the dated noted and in the manner described in Blackboard and on the course schedule. We will use Central Standard Time for due dates and times.
  5. The student will participate fully and in a timely manner to get the benefit of learning from instructor and/or peers.

Other Information 

Weekly lessons will be posted each Monday by noon (central time). Instructions will be given weekly as to what is required. They will be on blackboard under Lessons and be organized as follows:  

  • Lesson objectives 

  • To do list 

  • Readings/videos 

  • Instructor notes (sometimes) 

  • Lesson assignments (discussions, projects or activities) 

  • You will have 1 week to complete the weekly lessons. All lesson assignments will need to be submitted by Monday 8:30 a.m. (central time). 

  • Most of these assignments will be submitted electronically using Blackboard. Please refrain from sending assignments as email attachments. 

  • When I need to communicate with students as a whole group, I will post an announcement through Blackboard. To stay informed, I recommend checking the announcement board at least daily. 

  • When I need to communicate with students individually, I will do so through email on Blackboard. To ensure you are receiving my emails, make sure your email address on Blackboard is correct. You can set up a forward to send messages from your UND email to your personal email choice if you would like to do so. In this online course students are responsible for all information that is sent electronically.  

  • Again, there is an FAQ discussion board in the class website. This is for general questions about the course. Please should you have a question that is not personal please post your question here and I will answer or should anyone know the answer, please feel free to respond. But, if you need to contact me directly, check the Faculty tab in Blackboard or the syllabus for my contact information. I will respond back to you within 48 hours during the week or weekend. 

Instructor Responsibilities and Feedback

  • All weekly work will be graded within one week from when it was due.  
  • The instructor will be available during appointed Office Zoom hours to answer questions, provide feedback, and offer advice. 



Announcements will be posted in Blackboard on a regular basis. Be sure to check the class announcements regularly as they will contain important information about class assignments and other class matters.


When participating in class (online or in person) it is important to interact with your peers in an appropriate manner. Always use professional language (no netspeak) in your postings and emails. Please be respectful of your classmates at all times even if you disagree with their ideas.

Assessment Summary

Assessment & Grading 

This course is made up of a series of assignments and assessments to assist you in achieving the course learning objectives/outcomes. In this course your learning will be assessed in the following ways:  

13 Discussion Board Activities @ 5 points each (65 points) 

As this is an asynchronous, online course your participation in the weekly discussions will be an integral part of your grade. Your posts should demonstrate that you have read the assigned readings and have a clear understanding of the materials. You should provide evidence from the readings and/or other sources to support your arguments. You may also draw on your own personal experiences. 

Each week you will need to make your first post to the discussion activity by Thursday, midnight central time. Then contribute at least two additional posts, responding to different classmates, by Monday 8:30 a.m. (central time). Discussion/weekly activities are 5 points each. 


12 Weekly Activities @ 5 points each (60 points) 

Instructor will post various activities to be completed weekly. 


Field Experience (210 points) 

This course does have a field experience with a child under 5 years old. Due to the COVID -19 challenges, this will be reviewed for each student as needed. You are encouraged to use a child you may know either at your work place or a relative. You may use your own child if you have one under the age of 5 Just let me know what works best for youI will need to know from each student by the first three weeks your choice, of where you will be completing these field experiences. The field experience will allow you to complete the assignment below: 

  1. 4 Observation Assignments at 20 points each (80 points total): The goal is to complete a child assessment showing use of different assessments as discussed and read in class. Identify one young child with whom you can focus your attention at various timesThis focus should not require extensive amounts of one-on-one instructionRather, you should attempt to gather on-going information as you would if you were the sole teacher in a classroom.  
    1. Using developmentally appropriate assessment techniques assess the following areas: the child’s current language abilities, including reading, writing, and oral skills; cognitive development based on either mathematical conceptual/procedural understanding or scientific inquiry; social-emotional growth, including behavior during structured and unstructured activities; physical development including fine and large motor skills and self-help skills. (InTASC #1, 2; CAEP 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5) 
    2. Document that data and determine the child’s placement on the developmental continuum using Teaching Strategies Gold. (InTASC 1, 2, 8; CAEP 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5) 
    3. Using that data, determine appropriate learning objectives or environmental changes to best meet the needs of the child. (InTASC 1, 2, 8; CAEP 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5) 
  2. Child Progress Report- Live text assignment (65 points): This will be a summation of the student’s learning about the child observed throughout the semester from the observations completed. In the summary you will include all areas of development observed outlining - what specific skills the child demonstrated in each of the developmental domains; areas of challenges; recommendations of instructional strategies for each developmental domain, a summary of your interpretations of child’s development, and a reflection of how observing may or may not be important to you in your future classroom.  An electronic copy will be turned in at Live Text and shared in Blackboard 
  3. Parent/Teacher conference: Narrated presentation (20 points): Each student will lead a mock parent/teacher conference to present the strengths and challenges of the child uncovered through your observation and assessment of one child, how to plan for instruction based on data from observations, and what accommodations may be appropriate for the child through a narrated presentation to the class. 

Assignment                                               Final Grade

  1. 13 Discussion Board Activities @ 5 pts each                 65 Points
  2. 12 Weekly Activities @ 5 pts each                                  60 Points
  3. Getting to Know Your Child                                            20 Points
  4. 4 Assessment Observations @ 20 pts each                   80 Points
  5. Child Progress Report                                                    65 Points
  6. Narrated Presentation/Parent Teacher Conference       20 Points

                  Total: 310 Points

Final Grade Scale

> 90% A

80-89% B

70-79% C

60-69% D

< 59% F


This is a place to add things like resources, rubrics, etc.

Course Policies

Assignment Policy

Due dates for each assignment or activity will be posted in Blackboard along with the course schedule.

Late Work

All assignments must be submitted by the due dates posted in the course. The acceptance of late assignments is at the discretion of the instructor, provided that you contact the instructor before the due date and ask for an extension. A 1 point deduction will be made for each day the assignment is late. All requirements for this course must be completed during the course dates.

Instructor Responsibilities and Feedback 

  • All weekly work will be graded within one week from when it was due.  

  • The instructor will be available during appointed Office Zoom hours to answer questions, provide feedback, and offer advice. 

 Class Participation

Students are required to login regularly to the online class site. Students are also required to participate in all class activities such as discussion boards, wikis, etc.


It is expected that students will complete all requirements for a course during the time frame of the course. For reasons beyond a student’s control, and upon request by the student or on behalf of the student, an incomplete grade may be assigned by the instructor when there is reasonable certainty the student will successfully complete the course without retaking it. The mark “I,” Incomplete, will be assigned only to the student who has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work up to a time within four weeks of the close of the semester, including the examination period, and whose work is incomplete for reasons satisfactory to his or her instructor. More information regarding UND’s Incomplete policy can be found on The Grading System webpage.

Resolution of Problems

Should a problem occur, you should speak to your instructor first. If the problem continues to be unresolved, go to the department chair, and next to the college Dean. Should the problem persist, you have the right to go to the Provost next, and then to the President. 

College/Department Policies

Policies for Students in Educator Preparation Programs 

Dispositions: The Council of Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP) requires the university to monitor the academic progress and dispositions of every student enrolled in a program leading to an education license or credential. Dispositions refer to a student’s actions and behaviors in terms of professionalism, ethics and human relations. Should a concern arise about a student’s progress or dispositions, faculty, instructors and/or cooperating teachers may request a one-on-one meeting with the teacher candidate or advanced student to discuss areas of strength or concerns. Written documentation of this conference may be included in the student’s permanent file. Specific procedures are delineated on the form, Professional Dispositions for UND Teacher Education.  

University of North Dakota Policies & Resources

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a serious matter, and any deviations from appropriate behavior will be dealt with strongly. At the discretion of the professor, situations of concern may be dealt with as a scholastic matter or a disciplinary matter.

As a scholastic matter, the professor has the discretion to determine appropriate penalties for the student’s workload or grade, but the situation may be resolved without involving many individuals. An alternative is to treat the situation as a disciplinary matter, which can result in suspension from the University, or have lesser penalties. Be aware that I view this as a very serious matter and will have little tolerance and/or sympathy for questionable practices. A student who attempts to obtain credit for work that is not their own (whether that be on a paper, quiz, homework assignment, exam, etc.) will likely receive a failing grade for that item of work, and at the professor’s discretion, may also receive a failing grade in the course. For more information read the Code of Student Life.

Access and Opportunity, Disability Support, & Medical Services

The University of North Dakota is committed to providing equal access to students with documented disabilities. To ensure access to this class and your program, please contact Disability Services for Students (DSS) to engage in a confidential discussion about accommodations for the classroom and clinical settings. Accommodations are not provided retroactively. Students are encouraged to register with DSS at the start of their program. More information can be obtained by email UND.dss@UND.edu or by phone at 701.777.2664.


UND is committed to maintaining a safe learning environment while providing quality learning experiences for our students. COVID-19’s continued presence within our UND community may necessitate changes in classroom management as the academic year progresses. As such, UND asks students and instructors to be flexible when necessary to promote a safe environment for learning. Please do not attend an in-person class or lab if you are feeling ill, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been directed by health professionals to quarantine or isolate. If you are not able to attend class or lab, please notify your instructor as soon as possible and discuss options for making up any missed work in order to ensure your ability to succeed in the course. If you will have an extended absence due to serious illness or other uncontrollable circumstances, you may request an absence notification through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Similarly, if your instructor is ill they may need to cancel class or temporarily move your course to online delivery to ensure that you are able to complete the course successfully.  Instructors may require students to wear masks in the classroom or in the laboratory as a preventative measure designed to facilitate uninterrupted classroom engagement and to facilitate health and safety in the classroom.   If your instructor does require masks in class or in a laboratory, you are expected to comply with that request.

UND also strongly encourages all members of the University community, including students, to get vaccinated, seek out testing when needed, and model positive behavior both on- and off-campus to foster a healthy and safe learning environment for all students. Individuals who would like to discuss disability accommodations regarding masks should contact the Disability Services for Students (DSS) office at 701.777.2664 or UND.dss@UND.edu. Individuals who are unable to wear a mask due to a sincerely held religious belief should contact the UND Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office at 701.777.4171 or UND.EO.TitleIX@UND.edu.

Religious Accommodations

UND offers religious accommodations, which are reasonable changes in the academic environment that enable a student to practice or observe a sincerely held religious belief without undue hardship on the University. Examples include time for prayer or the ability to attend religious events or observe a religious holiday. To request an accommodation, complete the student religious accommodation request form. If you have any questions, you may contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office.

Pregnancy Accommodations

Students who need assistance with academic adjustments related to pregnancy or childbirth may contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office or Academic Affairs to learn about your options. Additional information and services may be found at Pregnancy Resources.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

It is the policy of the University of North Dakota that no person shall be discriminated against because of race, religion, age, color, gender, disability, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, veteran’s status, or political belief or affiliation and the equal opportunity and access to facilities shall be available to all. Concerns regarding Title IX, Title VI, Title VII, ADA, and Section 504 may be addressed to Donna Smith, Assistant Vice President for Equal Opportunity & Title IX and Title IX/ADA Coordinator, 102 Twamley Hall, 701.777.4171, UND.EO.TitleIX@UND.edu or the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Dept. of Education, 230 S. Dearborn St., 37th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604 or any other federal agency.

Reporting of Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct

If you or a friend has experienced sexual misconduct, such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, please contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office or UND’s Title IX Coordinator, Donna Smith, for assistance: 701.777.4171; donna.smith@UND.edu; or visit the Title IX webpage. You may also contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX office if you or a friend has experienced discrimination or harassment based on a protected class, such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, pregnancy, marital or parental status, veteran's status, or political belief or affiliation.

Faculty Reporting Obligations Regarding Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct

It is important for students to understand that faculty are required to share with UND’s Title IX Coordinator any incidents of sexual misconduct or of discrimination or harassment based on a protected class that they become aware of, even if those incidents occurred in the past or are disclosed as part of a class assignment. This does not mean an investigation will occur if the student does not want that, but it does allow UND to provide resources to help the student continue to be successful at UND. If you have been impacted by discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, you can find information about confidential support services on the Equal Opportunity & Title IX webpage..

UND Cares Program

How to Seek Help When in Distress

We know that while college is a wonderful time for most students, however, some students may struggle or have issues that arise. You may experience students in distress on campus, in your classroom, in your home, and within residence halls. Distressed students may initially seek assistance from faculty, staff members, their parents, and other students. In addition to the support we can provide to each other, there are also professional support services available to students through the Dean of Students and University Counseling Center. Both staffs are available to consult with you about getting help or providing a friend with the help that he or she may need. For more additional information, please visit the UND Cares Program Webpage.

How to Recognize When a Student is in Distress

The term “distressed” can mean any of the following:

  • Student has significant changes in eating, sleeping, grooming, spending, or other daily activities.
  • Student has cut off or minimized contact with family or friends.
  • Student has significant changes in performance or involvement in academics, sports, extracurricular, or social activities.
  • Student describes problems (missing class, not remembering, destructive behavior) that result from experiences with drinking or drugs.
  • Student is acting withdrawn, volatile, tearful, etc.
  • Student is acting out of character or different than usual.
  • Student is talking explicitly about hopelessness or suicide.
  • Student has difficulty concentrating or difficulty carrying on a normal conversation.
  • Student has excessive dependence on others for company or support.
  • Student reports feeling out of control of one’s emotions, thoughts, or behaviors.

Land Acknowledgement Statement

Today, the University of North Dakota rests on the ancestral lands of the Pembina and Red Lake Bands of Ojibwe and the Dakota Oyate - presently existing as composite parts of the Red Lake, Turtle Mountain, White Earth Bands, and the Dakota Tribes of Minnesota and North Dakota. We acknowledge the people who resided here for generations and recognize that the spirit of the Ojibwe and Oyate people permeate this land. As a university community, we will continue to build upon our relations with the First Nations of the State of North Dakota - the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation, Spirit Lake Nation, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Additional Resources

It is my goal to foster an environment of mutual respect in which everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions, sharing their stories, and learning about potentially heavy or personally relevant material. If, at any point, you feel like the information covered in this class elicits thoughts, feelings, or concerns that you would like to discuss further, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or the UND Counseling Center (701-777-2127).

Further, if you experience extenuating circumstances, sexual violence, identity-based harm, or any other personal crisis during the semester, don’t hesitate to reach out to me so we can provide academic assistance and help you in this course, and put you in contact with the appropriate resources and services (if needed).

UND Cares about Your Success 

Important information is available to you through Starfish, which is an online system used to help students be successful. When an instructor observes student behaviors or concerns that may impede academic success, the instructor may raise a flag that notifies the student of the concern and/or refer the student to their academic advisor or UND resource. Please pay attention to these emails and take the recommended actions. They are sent to help you be successful! 

Starfish also allows you to (1) schedule appointments with various offices and individuals across campus, (2) request help on a variety of topics, and (3) search and locate information on offices and services at UND. 

You can log into Starfish by clicking on Logins on the UND homepage and then selecting Starfish. A link to Starfish is also available in Blackboard once you have signed in.