In this text, a critical reflection is presented on assessment practices in early childhood education, which are discussed in the context of the creation by those practices of the students’ sense of agency which, according to J. Bruner, is treated as a category of school culture. The discussion is based on the results of the recent research conducted in Poland on students’ agency and an analysis of the data collected as part of the author’s own research. The picture obtained by using the triangulation of methods and sources confirms that assessment in early childhood education strips children of the opportunity to build a sense of agency, even in terms of independent control of a task situation. The surveyed students, admittedly, are capable of a relatively independent reflection on the context of school assessment, but the world of their educational experience is limited to the incapacitating culture of the school grade. It is a culture that becomes one of the sources of children’s self-restraint in the perception of themselves as agents, perpetuating their external steerability and passivity. To change this situation, external regulations will not suffice, but only the organizing of the learning environment based on the relationship between the teacher and the student, which is free from the daily pressures of assessment and the worship of formal correctness.
Starting in the early years of education, math anxiety is negatively related to mathematic outcomes, therefore there is a need for its adequate measurement in young children. This study presents the psychometric properties of the modified Abbreviated Math Anxiety Scale for Elementary Children (mAMAS-E) for first- to third-grade children based on mAMAS. The validity of mAMAS-E was determined by a series of tests. The analysis confirmed its two-factor structure (Testing and Learning), positive relationships between mAMAS-E and math, general, and test anxiety, and a negative relationship with mathematical achievement. Children with a high level of math self-esteem and math self-confidence (but not Polish language self-esteem and self-confidence) have lower math anxiety in comparison to those with a moderate level. The results also indicate that girls have a higher level of math anxiety than boys. The validity and internal consistency of mAMAS-E are satisfactory; therefore, mAMAS-E may be a recommendable questionnaire for measuring math anxiety in young children.