Sunday, September 03, 2006

Assessment Idea

A friend of mine was telling me that she will be going in for a parent conference with her daughter's teacher this week. Her daughter just started school 2 weeks ago. Why so early? I asked for more information. This is what she told me:

At her daughter's school, the entire first week is comprised of minimum days. During that first week, individual students have an assigned day and time to some in for assessment. (after school) The second week, the teacher has to develop goals for each child based on their assessments. The third week, this week, parent conferences occur. The assessments are reviewed and the teacher and parent discuss individualized goals.

I really like this idea. Assessing kids at the beginning of the school year is so difficult. It takes forever to test because in order to do many of the assessments I need to work one on one with the kids. That means that I have to leave the other kids alone. That is hard because the rest of the class just can't be left alone, even for small increments of time.

I have been trying to figure out how this might work at my school. Here are some of the issues that I am trying to work out:

1) Minimum Days/Teacher Work Days: If we were to have minimum days, I think that we would have to work for an extra 2 days or so. I would be ok with this - I wonder if other teachers would.

2) Meeting the Goals: I can certainly do my part but will the parents? What accountability will the parents have. As it is, there is no parent accountability in place. This has to change in order for this to work.

3) Minimum Days - Childcare: What happens to the kids who have parents that work and can't work out daycare?

4) Testing Early in the year: It has been my experience that assessing kids so early in the year is not a true measure of their real ability. Kids need a chance to warm up to you and feel safe and comfortable. Would assessing kids in this manner, at this time be the best way to do this?

Any ideas anyone???


Dree said...

I like the idea of minimum days and individual assessment, because, like you, I can't just give my first graders an assignment and expect them to work quietly while I assess children one-on-one. At least not in the beginning of the year. Plus, I don't have a teacher's aid or anything like that.

As for assessing them so early... I have mixed feelings about that. I do an assessment that I created at the beginning of the year, and then again at the end of each marking period. I use it more to record growth. I agree with you that beginning of the year assessments often tell me little about my students actual abilities, because they had an entire summer to forget things, plus they're still getting used to me and the schedule. Ideally, I'd like to wait until the end of September to assess them, but I don't think that would work either, because I need to know their abilities in order to place them for remedial reading and guided reading groups and things like that.

I'd be interested in hearing what other teachers do about this!

MsAbcMom said...

The testing issue is a dilemma. I need the data to get moving with our groups, etc but if I were to make goals, I would have to wait a couple of weeks or so.

Hopefully other people will chime in and tell us about all the wonderful ideas they have! :-)