Learning Stories as an Assessment: A Case Study Exploring Its Local Application in China

Shiyao Wang, PhD student, Monash University. Email:

Learning stories have been adopted as a form of assessment in early childhood education worldwide to assess children’s learning processes, learning dispositions, and well-being. However, a paucity of research has been done which examines the applicability of learning stories in China. This case study investigated how learning stories are used by in-service teachers who have had years of teaching experience in classrooms in a local Chinese context. Through analysing 43 learning stories in a kindergarten in Xiamen city, Fujian province, China, this study found that while Chinese teachers try to imitate the concept and form of learning stories from New Zealand, teacher-centered, negative, and non-targeted evaluations frequently appear in the teachers’ writing. This is opposite from the advocated practices of learning stories. Chinese teachers tend to pay more attention to the general development of the whole class, rather than individual students, as a consequence of a high teacher-to-children ratio in a traditional Chinese classroom and the educational policy in China. In addition, most learning stories produced by teachers seem to lack accessibility to both parents and children. Recommendations are provided which require a more localised, as well as contextualised, application of learning stories in Chinese context, and an improvement in the quality of learning stories noted down by kindergarten teachers.

Assessment · Learning stories · Learning dispositions · Case study · In-service teachers · China

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