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
- Easy & Simple to navigate and use
- No paperwork!
- Track progress of EVERY student!
- Provides personalized parent letters with missing skill practice cards for EVERY student (I used these ALL the time! This makes progress reports and parent conferences so much easier!)
- Provides charts, graphs, and reports for each individual student or entire class (so helpful for data meetings)
- Over 2,000 pre-loaded assessments
- Or you can create your own assessments
- **NEW Features** Parent Conferencer Tool (This makes it so easy to schedule and remind families about their student’s conference)
- **NEW Feature**Re-designed homepage – Add tests & subjects directly on the home page – Reorder tests & subject tabs with simple drag and drop
- **NEW Custom Settings** Change correct/incorrect verbiage to preferred titles – Deploy district-level subject tabs for a school year marking period or custom dates
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.
- Letter Name (Upper & Lower Case)
- Alphabet Sounds
- Shapes (2D & 3D)
- Counting to 100 by 1’s and 10’s
- Number ID 0-10 and then 0-20
- Initial & Ending Sounds
- Reading CVC words
- Sight Words
FREE 3 Month Trial!!
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Have any more questions about assessments for Kindergarten? Leave them in the comments and I will be happy to address them!
Thanks for coming to the 2nd day of #31daysofkindergarten here on my blog!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org