As the academic year gets going, one objective at the forefront of many preschool program’s evaluation plan is fall academic screening. Typically, students are screened within a few weeks of starting class to establish a baseline status. This information, often collected with measures like IGDIs for early literacy and early numeracy skills, can be used to inform how instruction may most benefits the students in the classroom.
with special contribution from Mary Mischke, Early Childhood Specialist Pre-K of Bloomington Public Schools (MN)
When we hear the term “data-based decision making” or “data-driven instruction” early childhood teachers often wonder, “What constitutes data?” and “How do I use it to make decisions?” Data are the information we collect at the student and classroom level to evaluate student success or instructional practices, and when we use those data to drive how we modify our instruction we engage a data-driven process. Conceptually, it sounds easy enough, but in practice, it takes careful attention to a host of factors. This story features one school district’s experience with data-based decision making and how this model has promoted best practices in their preschool classrooms.
The Common Core is a set of academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA) which are learning goals that describe what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade, for K-12 education. The intent of these common standards is to establish consistent learning benchmarks for all children across the country, to increase the likelihood that students, regardless of the state in which they live, graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life. Currently, forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) have adopted the Common Core. Find more information on the Common Core at: http://www.corestandards.org.
Young children are like a painter’s paint box. They show up in your classroom in varying hues, within common color groups, but all slightly different from one another. This is true for all facets of their lives, but also holds true for their language and literacy ability and development.
with special contribution from Marcia Reed, Lead ECSE teacher of Mounds View Public Schools
In an age of increased accountability and expectations, early childhood programs, school districts and other early care and education settings are often inspired to employ best-practices and high-quality interventions to meet the needs of their students. Research findings have contributed to resources for early childhood professionals to access such practices, such as the What Works Clearinghouse. However, contrary to popular opinion, there isn’t necessarily a correlation between quality and cost. While it’s true that there are some exceptionally well-constructed measurement tools, curricula or intervention that may be worth their weight in gold, there seem to be just as many poorly designed or ineffective measurement tools, curricula or intervention that don’t measure up.
Teaching young children is, without question, a tough job! Preschool classrooms often have students who differ in age and developmental level – some kids have already mastered all the preschool skills and competencies we think will help them in kindergarten, and others have a long ways to go before “school success” is a likely outcome. Earlier posts in this blog series have discussed why we assess kids and what goals we hold for kindergarten readiness. But how can we be confident that the services we provide are actually helping the children we teach and the families we serve?