Tests? In the First Weeks of Kindergarten?! (page 2)

Tests? In the First Weeks of Kindergarten?!

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Updated on Sep 18, 2008

• Spelling strategies: What kind of spelling skills does your child have in place?

• Pencil Grip: Does your child hold his pencil correctly?

• Colors: Can your child name and/or recognize all of the basic colors?

• Shapes: Can your child name basic geometric and 3-dimensional shapes?

• Direction- Following: Can your child follow two or three simple but unrelated directions? For example, "Hang up your coat, put the book away, and meet me on the rug."

• Concept of Time: Does your child understand concepts like today, tomorrow and yesterday?

• Alphabet: Can your child recite the alphabet?

• Letter and Sound Recognition: Can your child name each letter, capital and lowercase, and make the sound that corresponds to it?

• Counting: How high can your child count?

• Number Recognition: Can your child recognize and order numbers?

• Letter and Number Writing: Can your child write each letter and number using proper pencil strokes?

• Reading Skills: Can your child read simple words or sentences?

• Concepts About Print: Does your child know whether a book is right side up or not? Does she know to start reading at the left of the page, and then move to the right? Can she correspond a written word with a spoken word?

It may seem like a lot, but kindergarten teachers do not generally expect that a child has mastered all of these skills before they start school. In fact, many of these skills make up the core of what will be taught during the kindergarten year. Often times, the exact same assessment that was given in the first few weeks of school is given again at the end of kindergarten, in order to see the strides that each child has made.

Keep in mind that the goal of assessment is generally not to see if your child “measures up,” at least not at this stage in their educational lives. It is for this reason, that Shannon Riley-Ayers, Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor for the National Institute for Early Education Research, suggests that parents don’t dwell on test preparation.

“It’s hard to ‘prepare’ your child for an assessment. It’s more a matter of making sure your kids have adequate exposure to things like words and letters, which they can get just by looking at cereal boxes and things like that. I wouldn’t encourage parents to attempt to teach to the test, or do any sort of ‘drill and kill’ exercises,” says Riley-Ayers.

What parents should do, however, is use the information that the teacher gets from the assessment to help teach their child at home. Ayers-Riley says, “Hopefully teachers will communicate the information they gained from the assessment in a way that is understandable to parents. That way, parents can determine what their next steps are for teaching the child, just as a teacher would.” They can work on kindergarten games and skill building activities at home, to compliment what's happening in the classroom.

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