Friday, April 20, 2012

Assessments Ahead!

Have you ordered the new Pete the Cat yet?  I can't wait!

We have just begun the fourth quarter and I am already planning out the rest of the year. We have one more field trip (to the library). We have Field Day, Fun in the Sun Day, Under the Sea Day, and the day we sing and act out a little Pete the Cat play for the parents. We have a day to visit first grade and a day the library comes in to talk about their summer reading program. We have the day the incoming future Kindergarteners will visit us. We have a day to make groups/classes for next year. We have one more County wide staff development day.

 And only 37 more days of school. Phew!

 I know most of my time will be taken up with assessments. Before that day that we make the classes, we all assess our students one more, last time. We want to wait as long as possible so they will be as far along as possible. But we have to do one on one assessments of each child, so we do have to leave enough time to get through the whole class.

 We start with reading assessments. We test each child on letter recognition, letter sounds, phonemic awareness skills, and sight words. By this time in the year, very few children need assessing on letters and sounds (they all know them by now). Most of my kids have passed the phonemic awareness tasks (I think I have five who haven't passed all of them, including my special ed kids).


 So mainly, I update all of their sight words. We are using Fountas and Pinnell for our assessment kit so this year we switched to their sight word lists. We can test as high as we want to. I feel like it is meaningless after a while (if they know over 300 words, we can assume they are ready for first grade, right?). Don't get me wrong. Not all of my kids can read that many words. Some kids come in every year already reading. They need comprehension and fluency instruction but sight words are not their problem! I have kids who can read 3 words and kids who can read 300. They are supposed to read 25 to be on grade level. Some of my kids will not make that this year.

 The other reading assessments we give are running records. As I said, we were given the Fountas and Pinnell assessment kits. We do running records with each child throughout the year (not on a set schedule). We are only testing to the I level (end of first grade level). That is our county policy and I actually agree with it. I don't think Kindergarteners, even really high ones, are ready for J and K level books. They aren't ready for the topics which are meant for 7 and 8 year olds and they aren't ready for following conversations. They still need picture support for unfamiliar words. Their eyes need a little time to mature, too.


 So we will sit with each child in the next few weeks and see where they end up for the year (even though the year isn't over). It takes a long time. Just for reading.

 Then, when that is done, we assess them all in math. We have a new Common Core math test developed by our county (we have seen it but never given it). I am not thrilled with it. Most of it has to be done one on one (for example, having each child show me that they can count to 100. That will take awhile!)

 How do you assess your kids at the end of the year?  How do you manage to get everything done?


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