Assessments in Kindergarten

Hi, I'm Christin and I blog over at Shifting Teacher K-2.  I was born and raised in Virginia - right around the Richmond area.  I now teach in the same county I grew up in and have taught kindergarten, first grade and second grade.  Most of my experience is in kindergarten- my passion!!!  This lovely group of VA teachers have invited me to share my ideas on this blog every 2 months., I'm here to share what assessments in kindergarten look like.

Believe if or not, we have to assess our little ones in order to mark their report cards at the end of the grading period.  Those who have never taught kindergarten don't always understand what these assessments entail.  So...I'm going to try to show you!  If you teach kindergarten, stick around to the end where I'll share my assessment pack with you. 

Before the assessing begins, I need to be sure I have all of my supplies needed to assess the skills for that nine weeks. As a team, we go through our pacing and make note of the skills we have taught that the students should be held accountable for.  I just use a sticky note for this. I like to keep it in my plan book so that next year when I'm looking back I will have it. 

I also need the assessment pack I made to check off what skills each student knows and what they are struggling with. I have it organized in the order that my team teaches things. The math pacing changed this year and I did not update that yet. Click the picture below to get your copy from Google Drive. 

I make a copy of the pack for each student and keep it in this binder. There is a divider for each student but labeled by number instead of name so I don't have to change that part each year. 

The final thing I need is my "Assessment Tool" (the pink pack in the picture above), which is printed on card stock and laminated. I use this for the students to look at while asking them questions (like id letters, sounds, numbers, shapes,etc). Click the picture above to get a copy from Google Drive. 

Now that I have all of that ready, we are ready for assessments.  But let me first share what the class is doing in the meantime. Since I have to assess my students one in one, the best time to do this is during my reading center time. So while my students are working independently, I'm calling them over one at a time to assess. And since they are already used to me teaching guided reading and not able to help them during that time, they keep the same expectations while assessments happen. You can read more about that routine on my blog here.

Yes, you're not crazy....that child is wearing a sleeveless shirt with a sleeveless vest on top during the week of a snow storm!!!  But what can we do....

So after I finish my assessments, they have to the be put into the computer. Our county uses PowerSchool to do that. Now, in any other grade, that sounds wonderful....put in graded papers and it will average everything to give a final grade.  However, kindergarten is so different yet again!  Since it is developmentally appropriate for students to continue their learning throughout the year, we do not grade papers and put grades in PowerSchool.  So when we first started this journey 3 years ago, our county worked with the PowerSchool people to make the system look just like our current report card. Well...look at this picture.....

That is what our report card looks like. So needless to say, this whole enter assessments into the computer thing takes a good 2-3 days before completion!  Luckily, the county is currently revamping our kindergarten report card to better reflect the expectations of the county and state standards. I can't wait till next year!!

So once all that data is collected, it is actually very powerful when I start to make my guided reading groups. Since students in kindergarten learn at MANY different levels and paces, it is very important as a kindergarten teacher to have flexible groupings.   For example, I realized with these assessments that I needed 5 reading groups instead of 4 - there are 2 students who just don't have a concept of word and cannot hang in my group of A/B readers.   

To those kindergarten teachers out there, good luck with assessments - it is a long task and feels very good when finished!  To all of our other readers, I hope you have a better look at what is expected of your fellow kindergarten teachers! 

Photo Credit:

Now head out and give your fellow kindergarten teachers some good vibes! 

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