Do learning stories tell the whole story of children’s learning? A phenomenographic enquiry

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10 Citations (Scopus)


This study compares the stances of practitioners, parents and the quality assurance authority on the assessment of learning in New Zealand (NZ) early childhood education (ECE). The phenomenographic interview participants include practitioners (24) and parents (11) from 11 ECE settings. The reports issued by the Education Review Office (ERO) on all the sampled ECE settings are also analysed. The study shows that: (1) The practitioners and parents emphasize the importance of teacher–parent communication, listening to the child, progression and team assessment for assessment of learning in general, while the ERO attaches the importance of the same categories specifically to learning stories; (2) Irrespective of the strengths and limitations of learning stories, the practitioners and parents affirm that learning stories are not the only approach to assessment of learning, which is in contrast with the ERO’s implied position that learning stories are the only and best approach to the assessment of learning. The findings call for research that explores the implementation of a comprehensive approach to the assessment of learning in ECE in NZ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-267
Number of pages13
JournalEarly Years
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • assessment
  • Early childhood
  • learning stories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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