SOURCE: Teaching Strategies

Teaching Strategies

February 04, 2016 09:15 ET

Streamlined Early Childhood Assessment Saves Teachers Time and Preserves Reliability

Large-Scale Study of Nearly 25,000 Children Leads to a Shortened Option for Kindergarten Entry Assessment for the 2016-17 School Year

BETHESDA, MD--(Marketwired - Feb 4, 2016) - Teaching Strategies today announced the release of a new option for kindergarten entry assessment, which reduces the number of items required to evaluate a student's level of school readiness by over 50% and cuts the time required to administer the assessment in half. The streamlined assessment is based on an extensive literature review that identified the objectives that are most critical to assess during the first few weeks of school, in order to provide a complete picture of children's development and learning.

These findings were confirmed by research conducted by Dr. Richard Lambert, Director for the Center for Educational Measurement and Evaluation at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. The study examined whether a reduced number of assessment items would result in similar scores and reliability to the full set of items during use at the beginning of the year. The sample consisted of 24,920 children across 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico during the 2014-15 school year. 

"The length of administering the assessments can be cumbersome, so minimizing that time while still maintaining reliability ensures that time spent in the classroom for teaching and learning is effective and meaningful," said Dr. Lambert. "The condensed assessment reflects feedback from the field, where teachers often report that evidence collected in the natural context of the classroom learning process is more valuable to them than the information from direct assessments."

Over the past 15 years, kindergarten readiness assessments have gained prominence and are now required by over 25 states and the District of Columbia. Teachers typically collect observations during the first five to six weeks of school to evaluate children's school readiness at entry. GOLD by Teaching Strategies, one of the most widely used kindergarten entry assessments, is used by early childhood educators to serve nearly 2 million children each year.

"Gaining an understanding of each child's development and learning -- their strengths and needs -- is critical at the start of the year. However, the process of evaluating readiness can be overwhelming for kindergarten teachers who are helping children settle into the routine of a new classroom," says Kai-leé Berke, a lifelong early childhood educator and former kindergarten teacher who took over as Chief Executive Officer of Teaching Strategies in October. "This research advances the field by providing teachers with a more streamlined approach to capturing critical insights, without diminishing the quality of the assessment information that they need in order to build relationships with children and inform planning and instruction."

Although the condensed kindergarten assessment will be made available for the 2016-17 school year, Teaching Strategies will continue to offer both versions of the assessment to all current and future partners.

About Teaching Strategies:  With ground-breaking solutions and a strong belief that a child's first 8 years form a critical foundation for school success, Teaching Strategies has been an advocate for the early education community for over 25 years. Today, Teaching Strategies provides curriculum, assessment, professional development, and family connection resources. Its award-winning products like The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool and widely-adopted assessment solutions like GOLD™ by Teaching Strategies® reach over 2 million children each year. To learn why thousands of early childhood programs and many states choose to partner with Teaching Strategies to help ensure children's success in school and in life, visit www.teachingstrategies.com.

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