Issues in Testing Very Young Children

Testing children has grown both more aggressive and widespread in recent times as concerning issues have arisen as to the pressure these tests and parents put into a child. In fact some kindergartens have been testing children before enrolling them. This might be appropiate for college but for children! In my opinion that’s just too aggressive teachers! Surprisingly this type of testing has occurred for a long time.

What’s really surprising is that this has been going on for the past 30 or so years ever since educational testing first became popular in the early 1900’s. However while noting that some early childhood testing were usefull, researchers have pointed out that tests tend to be more or less reliable at very early ages. This and other concerns have led to some changed in thinking and practice over the years.

In 1998, a group of experts reviewed existing research and practice on the assessment of young children and recommended that: “…screening tests should not be used as readiness tests to exclude children from school; they should not be used to track children by ability in kindergarten and first grade; and they should not be used to plan instruction unless a valid relationship with local curricula has been established. ” The cautions of the previously mentioned researchers resulted in the delaying of tests in most public schools until the 3rd grade.

The 2011 No child left behind act required school testing in mathematics, reading/language arts and science, starting the third grade. Nonetheless, a number of private schools, including religious schools, do require entering kindergarteners to pass a test as part of their admission requirements. An example is N. E. S who require 4th graders to take a test onto which they place them later on in 5th and 6th grades in different mathematic sets. Furthermore at 6th grade, 6th graders are required to take another test of both English and mathematics to determine later levels in those areas in N. E.

S’s high school also known as their ‘Senior’ department. What guidelines have been established for assessing young children? In 1998, the ‘goal 1’ childhood assessment resource group recommended to the national education goals panel the following guidelines for the assessment of young children: 1. Before age 8, standardized achievement measures are not sufficiently accurate to be used for high stakes decision-making about individual children and schools. Therefore, high-stakes assessments intended for accountability purposes should be delayed until the end of third grade (or preferably fourth grade). . …[prior to the third grade] policymakers at the state and district level could reasonably require that teachers and the schools have procedures in place to monitor student progress using instructionally relevant assessments, and that schools have a plan for providing intensified special help if children are having difficulty, especially learning to read. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) offers a general rule for testing young children: The purpose of testing must be to improve services for children and ensure that children benefit from their educational experiences. ” Specific NAEYC guidelines support the use of more than just test scores for assessing young children. They emphasize that decisions that have a major impact on children, such as enrollment, retention, or assignment to remedial or special classes, should be based on multiple sources of information and should never be based on a single test score. Resources: 1)NAEYC –http://www. naeyc. org/– 2)Wiki 3)Google

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