Posted on 03/18/2011 at 08:17 AM by Global Reach

“Teachers cannot be intentional about helping children to progress unless they know where each child is with respect to learning goals.”  (National Association of Elementary School Principals: Leading Early Childhood Learning Communities).

Assessing young children’s learning is challenging. Young children’s performance can be inconsistent. They may be able to perform a task one day but not the next.  That is why on-going, daily observation of children is an essential element to a high quality program.  That is why standardized testing for young children is often unreliable.  And that is why there is a need for multiple sources of information.

As one part of the assessment system, the early childhood leadership team at Northwest AEA is recommending the use of the Get Ready to Read screening tool, which is free and on-line. This is simply a screening tool and NOT designed as a diagnostic assessment. The assessment is 20 questions that involve literacy skills – concepts about books and print, letter identification, and phonemic awareness.  The screening would be given early in the fall and again in the spring. The accompanying website has many suggestions for activities in the area of literacy for both the teacher and the parents/families.

Assessment is only the first step, however.  Teachers and administrators must use the information from the assessments to strengthen their classroom practice. By looking for patterns of strengths and weaknesses, teachers can plan new learning experiences, design strategies to meet the needs of all children and even initiate discussions with the next grade level. 

For more information on assessment go to or check out Basics of Assessment: A Primer for Early Childhood Educators by Oralie McAfee, NAEYC , 2004.

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