Kindergarten in 2017: Assessment Hell? Hang up those childish behaviors and snap to it.
The above “shared memory” appeared recently on my Facebook feed. It was a meme I shared in 2015. (I am a bit concerned about FB’s math…it wasn’t 3 years ago…it’s not 2018 yet…must be revisionist math). The original posting can be accessed from the site “Teaching With a Touch of Pixie Dust”. The post had 883 comments. Here are some of the best comments:
I have lived in Asia. I have seen what constant testing does to CHILDREN. I have seen Elementary, Jr. High, and High School aged children walking to school, waving as they go by to meet up with their school groups, then the next day…you don’t see them. You think maybe they are sick. A few more days go by, you still don’t see them. So you ask their friends, and you get this really weird, kind of freaked out look from them. After a bit, they tell you, the last time you saw them, they had a test that day. The student did not do as well as expected on the test. So, embarassed, and in fear of shaming their family, that student jumped off a bridge, or stepped in front of an oncoming train. No lie. They are under so much pressure, constantly, to pass these tests, they would rather die, than tell their parents they did not get 100%. THAT is where we are heading, with all of these stupid tests.
I would have failed for sure. I have attention deficit and am dyslexic Back then I was labeled a bad kid with poor conduct who didn’t apply myself, so I agree with this completely.
I used to think teaching was about helping people learn, not forcing them to try to be perfect. We need teachers….not trainers.
My son is only in 1st grade and hates school already because of this exact type of thing. I try to make learning fun at home but doesn’t change how he feels about school. I remember always loving school. It saddens me that he is having such a negative experience.
A 2013 MEW article was written about what was coming for preschoolers and kindergartners. A webinar sponsored by McRel was being held to help teachers learn how to foster self-regulation and executive function skills in young children. The 2017 PA Kindergarten Inventory aligns well to those goals. From Common Core to Teach Preschoolers/Kindergartners “Executive Function Skills”:
Fast forward to 2017 and view a kindergarten inventory assessment of executive function skills designed to prepare for the Common Core standards. From a September 2017 FB feed:
You can find the 31 page Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Family Learning inventory here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6zikOSdV-TAT2JWdDhTa1ZIbE0/view
Kindergartners are being assessed on so much more than reading. The assessments (in order) are as follows:
- Emotional Regulation
- Self Awareness
- Conflict Resolution
- Behavior Regulation
- Print Concepts/Letters
- Print Concepts/Words
- Phonological Awareness
- Text Analysis
- Text Structure
- Stages of Writing
- Writing Process
- Expressive Language
- Receptive Language
- Collaborative Communication
- Conventions of English Language
- Naming Numbers
- Operations and Algebraic Thinking
- Identifying Shapes
- Positional Words
- Curiosity and Initiative
- Stages of Play
- Engagement, Attention and Persistence
- Task Analysis
- Reasoning and Problem Solving
- Control and Coordination-Fine Motor
- Control and Coordination-Gross Motor
Concerns about letting kids enjoy reading seem small compared to the inventory items on which they are assessed in Pennsylvania. When do teachers have time to teach when they have to assess 5 year olds on 30 executive functioning items determining whether those skills are “not yet evident”, “emerging”, “evident”, or “exceeds”? Please take time to read some of the expectations of small children. What kindergarten entry inventory is being used in your state? How many executive functions can your small child emulate?
Better train your 5 year old to have the best data set he/she can muster in kindergarten. Remind your child kindergarten is NOT FOR FUN. It’s his/her dossier for the workforce.