Published on December 12, 2018 by Sara Roman  
HDFE Grant Students

Eight Human Development and Family Life Education candidates and one psychology student were selected as evaluators in the assessment of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) for first-class prekindergarten classrooms. 

Lakeland Jackson, Margo Moyes, Caroline Wilson, Anna Wright, Shelby Luna, C.C. Bagley, Bette Roberts, Kylar Pettway and Emily Galinski were among the candidates selected after an extensive application and interview process.

The PPVT is one of the most common assessments used to measure verbal ability and receptive processing of the standard American English vocabulary in examinees. The assessment has the ability to estimate a child’s scholastic aptitude, verbal abilities, possible learning disabilities, language disorders and verbal intelligence. 

Over the 2018-19 year, Human Development and Family Life Education candidates will assess twenty-one first-class prekindergarten classrooms that are funded through a grant with the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education of Readiness.

“As evaluators, the selected candidates are representing Alabama in a professional capacity as they administer the assessment in an unbiased manner,” said Celeste Hill, assistant professor and grant principal investigator. The majority of the funded classrooms are public prekindergarten classrooms.

The grant provides the schools with specific curricular resources and instructors who have earned an early childhood teaching certification. The expectation is that these additions will provide significant academic advances for students. The Samford candidates will administer the PPVT assessment to determine if the students are progressing at the expected rate.

The Human Development and Family Life Education candidates administered a pre-test this past fall and will provide a post-test in the spring to students in all 21 classrooms. The experience provides an opportunity for the candidates to grow both academically and professionally by applying what they are learning in the classroom in a real-world context, according to Hill. 

“The candidates who worked on this grant learned soft skills as well as field specific skills. They have learned how to interact with others as a professional in the field,” said Hill. “They gained invaluable experience through the administration of a standardized test to a diverse group of children.” 

Lakeland Jackson, a junior human development and family life education major with a fast-track in social work, shared that the experience has been a huge asset to her professionally and academically. “I have gained confidence in my communication skills through scheduling with teachers and principals, as well as a deeper understanding of academic testing in the classroom,” said Jackson. “Obtaining field experience is indispensable to an undergraduate degree, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to further my knowledge on the world of education and gain experience in Birmingham schools. This experience has stretched me to be more professional, more patient and is has showed me the importance of education for all children.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.