Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What does preschool assessment look like?

Yesterday I shared some thoughts on how to talk to families about assessment, but part of explaining assessment is talking about what it looks like in the preschool classroom, and that can be really difficult.  It's so hard because there isn't a right or wrong way to do it.

That's the beauty of preschool assessment, it can't always be scheduled - you certainly can't sit down and say "I'm going to observe Kate's positive social skills today" but that gives you freedom to make it work for you.

You might collect work samples from your writing activity on Tuesday, jot down a couple of anecdotal notes on Wednesday, and take some amazing action photos during outdoor play on Friday.  These are all going to inform your assessments, and each will give you a different insight into a specific child.

Whether you're new to assessment, or you're an experienced pro, my advice is always to go easy on yourself.  Don't be tempted by the pressure to hit it hard right from the start, let your students (and yourself) settle into your routine before you begin documenting your observations.  From there, do what works best for you; if you're one of those people who needs a table to help you see which children you have evidence for or which objectives you still need to see, then create one, if it's easier to look at piles of work samples and see who needs more then do it that way.

Most importantly, use your results! Don't do all this hard work and stuff it away in a folder somewhere, take the information and use it to help you plan your lessons.  If half of your class can't hold scissors properly then plan some fun cutting activities, if your group this year is especially quiet or shy then plan some social activities.  Your assessment results should make your job (at least when it comes to planning) easier, not harder!

Check back in tomorrow to see some of the items I've created to help myself complete assessments!

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