Delaware News

Delaware gets big head-start on test preparation

Assessment of kindergartners begins immediately as district works to ready students for state tests in third grade

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Ohio's kindergarten students are expected to know more when they arrive at school, as the Third Grade Reading guarantee looms.

In an effort to make sure students are well-prepared for the guarantee's test, a more-rigorous set of assessments is being given to students starting kindergarten.

In the Delaware City School District, teachers began training for the new assessments last spring. These are not written assessments, but observational, district leaders said.

The old assessments measured students only on their language and literacy skills. Now, the assessments include motor skills, math, science and social studies.

Starting on their first day of school through Nov. 1, students will be observed by teachers, who will enter the data online, officials said.

Assistant Superintendent Brad Faust said students are being assessed by what they walk in the classroom already knowing, not what they are learning in school.

"They are being assessed before a lot of classroom instruction, so our hope is that parents will be working with their children before they begin school," he said.

Teachers are observing students by a selective response, such as asking them a question and listening to the answer, Faust said. They also are observing them through their performance and if they can or cannot perform certain tasks, he said.

For example, they will be read a short story and the teacher will ask a series of questions. The assessments, created by the Ohio Department of Education, inform teachers what they need to ask.

The assessments were compiled in order to get individualized results on which areas extra attention should be given to prepare students for the third-grade tests.

"If a student is struggling with word recognition or their motor skills, we will need to make sure they get what they need to be successful going forward," Faust said. "The idea is to catch these things early."

Faust said although observing students' performance can be beneficial, he worries about the work it takes a teacher to properly assess a classroom full of students.

"It's a lot of work on the teacher's end to keep track of all these students and their individual progress," he said. "Although they have been well-trained, the task can be daunting."

The results for these assessments should come out in December, and Faust said they will be shared with parents in order for them to work with their children at home.

"We want to work as partners with our parents so that what they (students) are learning in the classroom will continue at home, and outside of the regular school day," he said.

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