Assessments are an unavoidable part of education. These are essential for driving your instruction so you can track your students’ progress and identify areas they are struggling in that may require some extra attention or practice at home.
Assessments in early elementary are a little tricky. Your students are young and can’t take a traditional test because they can’t read the problems fluently yet and identify the correct answer. Most of the time, we need to do assessments with our students so that we can properly determine where they are.
Here are some of my top tips for assessments in PreK and kindergarten students
Phonological Awareness is the foundation upon which the other reading skills are built. It is the ability to notice the sound structure in words and is important as it is essential to learning to read.
Research has shown phonological awareness to be a strong predictor of reading and spelling success. Therefore, assessing where a child is on the continuum is vital to your instruction! Being better informed helps you instruct skills from simple to complex. It will help guide your small-group instruction and can address the missing skills for students.
While many groups of researchers show a slight difference in the continuum, these components include:
- rhyming – hearing rhymes
- rhyming – producing rhymes
- alliteration – determines if the child can hear words that begin with the same sound
- words in a sentence
This resource includes a great phonological assessment along with the alphabet, sight words, and beginning math skills. This is perfect for seeing where your students are at the beginning of kindergarten and then assessing them mid-year, and at the end of the year.
Similarly, this prekindergarten assessment resource covers literacy and math skills that are important for this age group.
This preschool assessment resource is made specifically for 3-year-olds. It includes everything you need to assess their knowledge throughout the year.
The Importance of Sight Words In Assessments
Understanding and recognizing sight words is an important skill that should be checked often. I recommend testing at the beginning of the school year to find a baseline, the middle of the year, and the end of the year. This will make it easy for you to track their progress and identify areas for improvement.
Assessing 4 Year Olds
When assessing students this age, there are some things to keep in mind. Even though a four-year-old is not expected to reach the top of the phonological awareness continuum, there are times when you will have children who are ready to move beyond the rhyming stage. Using an assessment will take the “guessing” out of knowing where the child is and will give solid data to help guide your small group instruction.
After you have assessed your students, you can begin to use it to drive your instruction.
Try grouping your students according to the results of your assessments. For example, if you have 3 children who do not know the letters ABC, you would put those 3 children in a small group to play games and do activities that will help teach them those letters.
Portfolios are a great way to show the progress of each individual child.
Portfolios can be used to:
- show growth or change over time
- identify strengths and weaknesses
- track the development skills
- showcase end-of-year/semester accomplishments
- measure student’s ability over time
If you are interested in a bundle of assessments that includes everything you need for prekindergarten and kindergarten students, you can check out this resource. It includes all three resources mentioned above in a convenient bundle.
What are your best tips for assessments? Let me know in the comments!
If you’re looking for more learning fun, check out my top tips for using scrambled sentences in elementary.