Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education




Early Childhood Education

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Kelly Sadlovsky

Second Reader

Elisabeth Amirahmadi


authentic assessment, preschool, play-based assessment, developmentally appropriate


Early childhood educators need to recognize the importance of implementing play-based learning as a developmentally appropriate practice to support young children’s development. Play provides children opportunities to demonstrate knowledge and understandings through materials in the environment, expand on prior experiences and learn alongside peers. Teachers can authentically gain valuable information from children’s play to plan appropriate lessons to foster development (NAEYC, 2009). Instead of using natural routines to assess and gather information about a child’s knowledge and behavior, educators use standardized methods to determine a child’s capabilities. This paper synthesized available research on qualitative and quantitative studies that analyzed the effects of authentic assessment to support educators understanding of a child’s developmental domains. Research examined how naturally assessing children in the environment informed teachers to create a meaningful curriculum that was appropriate and monitored individuals progress continuously. Other studies evaluated the effects of play-based learning to promote development. Research reviewed positively supported preschool teachers to use play and authentic assessment for a more accurate understanding of an individual’s knowledge. An assessment tool that is authentic supports collection of on-going data to provide teachers feedback to make instructional changes.