Kindergarten Assessment and Report Card Narratives
- Grades: PreK–K
Here we are again, report card time. One of the downfalls of larger class sizes is all the extra time it takes to assess and complete report cards. Add in that most of our kindergarten assessments need to be given one on one and you have a difficult and important task. Especially with so many students it’s important that your assessments not only show where they are academically, but serve as a useful guideline for future instruction. This is a good time to take another look at your assessments and methods to see if you could work a little smarter.
Assessing Kindergarteners One Student at a Time
Typically most of the assessment in our grade level has to be done one on one. That leaves the other 27 students to hopefully be working quietly enough so that the teacher is able to fully assess the child he or she is working with.
When you find yourself in this situation make sure you have planned an important activity for your students instead of leaving them with just busy work. Try not to resort to putting on a movie. Not only is this not the best use of children’s time, but it's also very distracting for the child that you are assessing.
During this time of the year I try to pull students for assessments during writing time. This is typically a quieter time where students, no matter what their levels, are able to work independently. I usually do some student assessments while the class is engaged in reading groups, or I use my guided reading group time to complete my reading assessments.
Utilize Online Tools for Assessment
My class has a subscription to Raz Kids, which is an online guided reading program. One way that I assess and check reading levels throughout the year is to assign running records directly from the website. When the students log in they have to record their reading of the book that is selected. If you don’t have access to this type of technology, have students record their reading using your class listening center or an iPod. Later, you can listen to their reading and take notes of difficult areas and instruction needed.
ESGI (Educational Software for Guiding Instruction) is a tool that I have been looking at this year but have not tried yet. This looks to be a great time saver for teachers when giving one-on one-assessment. All of the information is input right into the computer as you are working with the child. Having this paperless tool and a quick way to group students and analyze data will save time both on assessments and using the data to plan instruction. Say buh-bye to piles of papers and binders with assessment data!
IXL Math is an online resource I subscribe to where my students complete online math activities. This program tracks how many correct and incorrect answers students make and it has a variety of printable reports. This has been a new addition to my instruction and assessments this year and my students and I love it. I have pulled the data in real time for small groups as they are working on particular skills.
Sending Data Home With Report Cards
Along with my students’ report cards and the narrative comments, I like to send home some work samples as well. This gives parents a better understanding of where their child is and what areas we need to focus on. In the envelopes I send home, I include a scored writing sample, the spelling inventory from Word Journeys, a sight word reading checklist, and spelling of sight words. I also send home a few math papers that show students’ work as well as a printout report from IXL math.
Teacher Report Assistant
After you have completed your assessments, use Teacher Report Assistant to help with the narrative comments that are so important in communicating what the grades wouldn’t do independently. To get more information as well as how-to videos about using Teacher Report Assistant, take a look at my blog posts from the past two years. This free downloadable program has saved teachers hours while still producing quality report card comments.
Do you have other strategies to assess students – especially for larger class sizes? If so we would love to hear from you!