Don’t let ignorant politicians impose testing for 5 year olds! It’s happening. Promoted by Testing Zealots in DC & state capitols.
- Tea Party activist Education historian Diane Ravitch, agitating educating her 20,000+ Twitter followers about readiness assessment programs, an optional component of the Obama Administration’s Early Learning Challenge found in 24 states. Since July, Ravitch has tweeted or re-tweeted a dozen or more times to scare educate her followers about these readiness assessments.
That said, I’m cautiously enthusiastic about this latest, early childhood-focused round of Race to the Top, and here’s why: the model the administration has in mind for pre-school assessment is low-stakes for individual teachers and students and measures not only academic performance but also children’s social, emotional, physical and artistic readiness for kindergarten.
Maryland has perhaps the most advanced pre-K assessment tool in the country, and one the Department of Education is pointing to as an example. The state’s “Model for School Readiness” requires incoming kindergarteners to be assessed in seven “domains of learning”: language and literacy, mathematical thinking, scientific thinking, social studies, the arts, physical development and social and personal development. Teachers perform the assessment by looking at a child’s drawings and writing, watching the child attempt to identify letters and numbers, and observing the child playing and interacting with both peers and adults.
The purpose of the system is to improve instruction for kids, not to reward or punish individual educators.
- Progressive journalist and blogger Dana Goldstein, writing this July in The Nation’s “The Notion” blog. Yesterday, Ravitch tweeted that she had read Goldstein’s article.