Preparing for Kindergarten Assessments
Kindergarten assessments are an important part of ensuring that your child will be prepared for the mental and social challenges that kindergarten will bring. A typical assessment will test your child’s proficiency in speech, literacy, basic math skills, and social skills. As a parent, this can be a little disconcerting as one might wonder whether their child will perform on an “average” level and if the parent had adequately prepared their child for kindergarten. There are ways that you can help you child prepare for the kindergarten assessment and ways that you can prepare yourself for the challenges that your child will soon be going through.
What Kindergarten Assessments Test For…
Kindergarten assessments are designed to test the development of your child’s abilities. The tests used differ from county-to-county and state-to-state, but they are all designed to test the same basic types of skills. As you have probably guessed, basic items such as shapes, colors, letters, and numbers will be tested, as well as simple skills such as rhyming words, writing their name, and identify pictures of animals. Your child may also be asked to count up to twenty, recite the alphabet, recognize patterns and groups of items (such as food or body parts), and sound out words phonetically.
In addition to these skills, the conductor will want to see how your child listens to the teacher. This is often done by having the children listen to a story and then answer questions about it, or by listening to and acting on instructions given by the teacher. Your child will also likely be encouraged to interact with other children so that their social skills may be ascertained. This is often tested in a classroom setting as well as play time or recess.
This all can seem overwhelming for a parent, especially if one fears that they may not have covered all the bases with their child. In reality, each child is not expected to excel at every one of these aspects. Indeed some parts of the assessment may be easy for your child while other will prove to require more concentration and effort. Some tests are specifically designed to challenge your child simply so the conductor can see how your child reacts to something new and difficult. You may also be concerned that your child may become stressed when asked to perform the assessment without having you in the room. If this is a genuine worry for you, you may ask to be present during the assessment. Bear in mind that your absence would provide a more accurate assessment regarding your child’s willingness to be independent as well as their overall behavior with the teacher and other children.
Preparing Your Child for the Assessment
If you believe that your child needs a little preparation before the assessment, then you might want to start by asking yourself what areas you believe your child could expand on. It’s important that you don’t expect too much from your child—they shouldn’t be expected to master all skills that will be presented in the assessment. Go over the basics with your child and try to discover for yourself which aspects you feel your child may need improvement in. Take your time and allow your child to do the same. You may also want to explain the assessment to your child in advance so that they do not feel as though they have been thrown into a bunch of tests.
After the Assessment
After the assessment, you may feel anxious about your child’s results. You will be given the results before your child’s first day of kindergarten. It is important that you understand that the results are not necessarily meant to “place” your child at any certain level of cleverness, but rather to give you a better idea about your child’s mental and social preparedness for kindergarten. If you feel that your child may not be quite ready for kindergarten, you should discuss your concerns with the school principal, kindergarten teacher, or the kindergarten assessment specialist.