One of the difficulties with much of the agenda in policies such as Every Child Matters and No Child Left Behind is that the concepts which are being written into the documentation are highly desirable - but very difficult to quantify and assess. For example concepts such as self esteem, self confidence, wellbeing, emotional literacy, resilience... are all words we like the sound of but delivering them and tracking their development is a whole other thing. Teachers are often left to give subjective evaluations of these aspects and feel unsure if their own judgement is valid enough on its own.
Sometimes we discover that we mean different things when we talk about a concept so if one or more of these terms is being emphasised in your school or early years setting a useful thing to do is to find out what you mean by it. That makes it much easier to baseline and start some kind of tracking and monitoring programme. Staff inservice can be used to come up with what we mean when we talk about these things and even more importantly what do they look like in adults and children in this organisation? A term like resilience is generally talked of as 'bouncebackability' for example, however what does that look like? Has anyone got any other way to phrase this which works better for the school? Did you know that resilience is both a process of bouncing back/recovery over time and a set of skills? What skills and attitudes make it become resilience?
Recently some online tools have become available for baselining and tracking some of these aspirational, inspirational - but intangible - concepts (such as self esteem, wellbeing, emotional literacy, resilience) however you must be sure that the basic definition that the tools are working from is one that corresponds sufficiently to the one that is right for your organisation. That way you will be sure that the evaluation you end up with by using the tools to track and baseline the state of any of the concepts within the classroom, or of any child, is in tune with your school and what you specifically aim for with your children.Teachers Evaluation