Explain how Longitudinal Study is used as an assessment tool

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.15: Use longitudinal studies to observe, assess and plan for children’s needs
Learning outcome: Understand the purpose of undertaking Longitudinal Studies
Assessment criteria: Explain how Longitudinal Study is used as an assessment tool


Longitudinal studies are often used as assessment tools in early years settings, as they can provide valuable insights into children’s development over time.

In the wider context, such studies typically involve tracking a group of children from birth (or even pre-birth) until they reach adulthood. This allows researchers to observe how different factors (such as family background, health, education and so on) affect children’s development.


Longitudinal studies can be used to assess a range of outcomes, including cognitive ability, educational attainment, and physical health. They can also be used to examine the effects of specific interventions (such as early childhood education programmes)

In the context of an Early Years setting, practitioners will use longitudinal studies to assess a child’s development over time. This will be conducted by observing a child and recording their progress regularly.


This helps to ensure that a child is progressing as expected and can help to identify areas in which they may require additional support.

To assess a child’s progress, observations will be compared against the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) as laid out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Practitioners can then plan activities that support a child to meet the required criteria.

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