I Came across this article today and I would love to hear your thoughts: mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE88O05Y20120925?irpc=932.
As an educator, this article really bothers me. As an early childhood teacher, I find it disgusting and unnerving. It goes against everything I believe about learning for young children. Thoughts?
you make a fantastic point here, I personally believe that the idea of mandatory testing for children around the ages of 5 to 6 is completely absurd. We already put enough stress on children and their learning. Kids need time to develop socially and find out who they are before the world starts telling them who and what they should be. Testing on children that young, I feel, is going to take away their childhood an innocence faster than society has already began to take it.
I completely agree with you Morgan. Kids need to be KIDS-playing, laughing, exploring, learning how to socialize and how to work together. I don't understand why the education "powers-that-be" are so intent on taking that away from them. So how can we stop things like this from occurring?
I always viewed Kindergarten as an exploratory opportunity. Students at this age learn as they discover their world. I wonder how this attempt to "evaluate teachers" will help these young students.
I'm concerned when testing to identify the "quality of teachers" takes away from what is often mentioned as the need for good teachers. Students learn DIFFERENTLY. Good and great teachers take advantage of this by providing multiple learning opportunities in the classroom. Do you think these tests accurately take into account the learning styles students inherently have?
Well Glen, these kids are so young that they don't even have a learning style! That is what the early years are all about (or should be)- exploring things differently and trying new things to see what works best. Kids should not be pigeon-holed and I'm afraid this is where all of this is headed. What impact do you think this kind of testing at such an early age will have on students by the time they get to you?
I've seen students who had "negative elementary science experiences." These students are often "reluctant learners" in Middle School. I would much rather work with students who had "no elementary science" as they come in excited to do science at the Middle School level. I can only imagine what the results of Kindergarten testing would bring. I imagine we might see "reluctant learners" in elementary school. Let's try to keep students excited to be in school and wanting to learn because it is fun - that's my 2 cents worth.
I have been teaching kindergarten for over 10 years and I worked as an aide for 5 while going to school. I have worked in public and privite school. I think an entrance exam of motor skills and recognition of alphabet, shapes, colors and numbers 1-10 do help a teacher learn where the child is at the beginning. But, I think that this extensive testing is crazy! We are setting children up for failure at the beginning of school. Most of these tests have been made by people who have never been in the classroom. We grade teachers and schools on the performance of the test. Teachers have to teach the test all over the country. Where is that helping or educating anyone? I believe we can challenge our young learners, but please let them enjoy learning. Why are we catorgorizing them before they are in the first grade. Let learning be a fun experience, not a tramatizing one.
Oh Sandra I couldn't have said it better myself!! You make some excellent points and I had to chuckle when I read your statement, "Most of these tests have been made by people who have never been in the classroom." I have been saying that for years. I just don't understand why we have to keep doing what we are told by people who have NO CLUE what education is all about! All of this talk about testing in kindergarten is ludicrous! The only thing we are going to accomplish is having kids HATE school at younger and younger ages, not to mention the additional stress we are putting on them. What is WRONG with letting kids be kids for once? I just don't get it! It's a good thing kindergarten is optional. Do you think, if this comes to fruition, that more parents will decide to skip kindergarten?
I feel like testing should not start until about third grade. That is when all students seem to have a solid base of reading and math. Some 5 year old students can't even read yet let alone sit still and take a standardized test. At such a young age, the kids are still traumatized with the fact that they are in school for 7 hours a day and not at home with their mommy and daddy. Education should be fun and in kindergarten that should be the primary goal. This is the students first exposure to school and it should be a joyous occasion.
I have to agree with you Kelsey; testing in kindergarten is way to young! I would even dare to say that I think 3rd grade is too young as well. So many kids are still struggling to get the "basics" down that they added stress of testing just puts too much pressure on such a young child. I do understand that there needs to be accountability but as Emily stated, there are other ways. I would love to see portfolios used in k-3rd grade including recorded reading samples, writing samples, and authentic projects to demonstrate understanding. What do you think?
I do not believe testing should be incorporated in Kindergarten Classrooms. The majority of Kindergarten students are 5 years old, the majority of them cannot read or what they can read is basic and a small vocabulary list. There are other ways to see if Kindergarten students are understanding the material. For instance by using pictures. Overall I do not believe testing should be allowed. They more than likely cannot read or read very little, In addition, if you put testing into the classroom at such a young age you could be decreasing the fun in education and fun in learning.
Never do I think that testing should be incorporated in a Kindergarten Classroom. At this point in their education most of these students have not even been in pre-school or some type of educational program prior to their Kindergarten year. For my internship I work with a Kindergarten class, where you can obviously tell that some of the kids are more advanced than others. The teacher i am under puts the students into different groups everyday to practice their reading skills and you can tell their position on the totem pole by the way they approach the lessons. Some students can tell you how its done and be done in a timely manner. Others, however, are a bit slow paced and do not understand the material at all. I believe this is a more effective way to determine a students progress rather than giving them a formal test. It doesn't take the fun out of learning but it can show the teacher how they are improving.
I visited a Charter School this week to participate in their Accreditation. I was very surprised to hear comments from the school leaders regarding testing. Several comments were made about how they were hoping testing would soon begin in Kindergarten. As I asked them about their thoughts, I was somewhat surprised at the responses. The general feeling at this school was they do an excellent job with all students (K-9.) In their opinion, testing students in Kindergarten will demonstrate how effective their teaching is. I wondered aloud if standardized testing was good for a Kindergarten aged student. It appeared they were not really concerned if such testing was appropriate or not.
What suggestions would you give to the school leaders in this situation?
this is absolutely ridiculous! there should not be any testing in kindergarden and ecspecially determining if they are on the right path for success and a career? give me a break! kids that age have not developed enough in their brains to even determine this yet, all they want to be is like their mommys and daddys or even their super heroes like the article mentioned. these kids are just getting out of pre-school or just entering school for the first time, they are no where near ready for testing! our nation needs to slow down and recognize the more important things, like how to learn to deal with social justice and the real world outside the classroom. i really do not even agree with kindergarden and first graders receiving homework either. my child is two and the only thing she is able to concentrate on is putting the puzzle piece in correctly, and they expect her to start testing in 3 years? NO WAY! let the children be children and do not rush or push education. they will lose the desire to learn and want to learn at an earlier age then children these days are already doing.
I agree with the concept that school and learning needs to be "FUN" for these Kindergarten students. I also don't think this is for deciding on careers (or using testing to determine if a child is "fit" for a career.)
How can we encourage legislators and other elected officials that testing does not determine the complete abilities of children?
This just came across my email - very timely to this conversation, "Resisting Downward Pressure of Common Core in Early Education" http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/early_years/2012/11/resisting_downward_pressure_of_common_core_in_early_education.html
It seems as though there is a group pf educators who are trying to do "what is right" for early learners.
I think you hit a major point regarding the purpose of Kindergarten. Manipulatives should be the focal point. Letters, numbers, words, and/or reading should find a focus in the "fun of learning." I'm not sure how to respond to the administrator ... but agree wholeheartedly with you!