Hello and welcome to day 2 of #31daysofkindergarten ! Today is all about the best assessments for Kindergarten. If you missed yesterday’s post on creating an academic schedule, you can read it here. You can also go here to watch our IG Live conversation on my IGTV.

Why do we assess kindergartners?

Haha! As an early/emergent learner advocate, I completely understand the question and possible bewilderment. But after years of teaching in the classroom, I have found the value in quality assessments. While we can debate if assessments are developmentally appropriate or even accurate, I can say with assurance that meaningful, non-intrusive assessments drive instruction and are able to benefit the student, teacher, and families.

It is extremely important to assess what an in-coming Kindergarten student knows. While every school district has their own required standardized testing and specific assessments, Kindergarten teachers still have to keep track of the many essential skills that are imperative to learning. For instance, I need to know exactly what letters Suzy knows and what letters she is still struggling to master. A standardized test does not always give me that specific data. I need simple, yet meaningful assessments to plan my instruction and small groups.

What is the best way to assess?

During my career as a kindergarten teacher, I have given whole-group assessments, small-group assessments, standardized assessments on computers, and one-on-one assessments. I am sure I have given assessments every which way!

I believe that the most accurate data I receive from a student is when I assess them one-on-one. They feel more comfortable and don’t always fall into the ‘test-taking anxiety’. And yes, little learners can have test anxiety and it makes me so sad. Assessing one-on-one also eliminates looking at peers for the answer or even just being distracted by other students.

Best Tool for Assessing

Several years ago, my district had an assessment for kindergartners called, Essential Skills. It was basically the same skills that we assess now, except we had to write down every correct/incorrect response, etc. in a packet. That was a nightmare. I had 5-6 pages of assessments for each student that I had to keep track of and save. I think all teachers can agree that we dislike paperwork!! Can I get an amen?!

Keeping track of paperwork and keeping it all organized is a nightmare! At least for me it was. That all changed when I tried using a new digital assessment tool called ESGI. I started off with the free trial and immediately fell in love with the simplicity of it. I loved that I was able to assess my students anywhere (classroom, recess, walking to specials, etc.), as well as not having to keep track of ANY paperwork! Yipppeee! Honestly, I am a teacher first and I wouldn’t share something with all of you (my teacher friends) if I didn’t believe or use it myself!! I have been using ESGI for years now and it has saved me hundreds of hours!

Reasons I Love ESGI

Check out the growth that my kinders made in sounds!!

When Do You Assess?

Great question!! Obviously, you will have requirements from your district and admin and those are usually mandated. I always use ESGI to assess my students and get that 1st benchmark, during the first 3 weeks of school. I reassess at the 8.5-9 week mark. This has provided enough time for me to provide quality instruction and time for my students to absorb the material. I use the data from this 9 week assessment to send home a 1st quarter progress report. I also send home an ESGI Toolkit. It is at this point that I can make my guided reading groups and provide remediation and extension for ALL of my students. I can see which students need to be progress monitored as well.

Assessments are done on the quarter with exceptions. Such as, sight words are assessed every Friday for the students who are ready. Students who are in a remediation group, have IEPs, or are being progressed monitored are assessed frequently, depending on the student and skills.

ESGI Assessments I Use

There are over 2,000 pre-made assessments on ESGI and I use several of them. I created my own tests for CVC words and sight words, as our words are specific to our district.

Have any more questions about assessments for Kindergarten? Leave them in the comments and I will be happy to address them!

Use Free Trial Code: CHAOS through Aug 2022

Thanks for coming to the 2nd day of #31daysofkindergarten here on my blog!

You may also like Easy Kindergarten Assessments and ESGI Learning Toolbox for Student and Families

Abigail is a Kindergarten Teacher, Curriculum Writer, National Speaker and author of the website, Kindergarten Chaos, LLC. She lives in Las Vegas, NV with her husband and 3 kids. She provides professional development to schools and districts all over the country. If your school or district is in need of professional development for everything Kindergarten, please email her at kindergartenchaos2@gmail.com  

Do you know that Kindergarten Chaos offers personal development courses & workshops? I share my tried and true tips and ideas for teaching intentionally and with purpose and fun to the kids of TODAY!

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22 Responses

  1. I am currently using a pen and paper assessment that sometimes take days to give to my whole class. With not knowing what to expect this year I want something on the computer for sure. I am happy to see your chaos code for the discount.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment! I hope you try the trial offer and see how easy it is to use!

  2. I have heard so much about ESGI but I have never used it before. Everyone that has used it says it is a lifesaver for teachers. I would LOVE to have the opportunity to use it for a year. Thank you for sharing and giving away 4 different years long subscriptions to ESGI.

  3. Oh this is awesome! I’m still assessing with paper/pencil and my big old binder (but I love my binder 🤪)

    1. I used to use assessments that were teacher/district created and keeping track of it is a nightmare!!

  4. I use a hodgepodge of things I’ve found over the years, it’s all paper pencil. I would love to move to digital!

  5. I love the information about assessing students. I will be using your blog as a reference. Thanks fo the great information!

  6. I have been reading up about ESGI. I think it really would help but unsure about using it if we are virtual teaching. Did you use it while virtual teaching?

    1. Yes, I was able to use Zoom and screen share the assessments. ESGI also launched their at-home assessment tool, which is also an option. But it is so useful!

  7. We use dibels and some assessments we created for letter ID and nonsense words. This would be a game changer!

    1. Yes, you can! Make sure to use code CHAOS when doing a trial or purchasing a subscription! You will get $50 0ff!!

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