Now Playing>> The voices of innovative school teachers. Turn it up!

The Dark Side of the Square

Gaetan Pappalardo Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.

Now Playing>>
Band: Pink Floyd
Record: Dark Side of the Moon

The curtain is up; it’s silent, and… “We’re testing Pre-K!?” (Scratch my head) What? I have my concerns, thoughts, even curiosity, when the first experience a Pre-K student has in a real school setting is the lovely experience of taking a test. I mean, no “What is your favorite color?” “What do you want to do when you grow up?” “What is your name?” Sorry, the editor is yelling at me because I used the wrong terminology. Hold on. Okay. I mean they are being screened, not tested. My fault. The kid walks into a huge library, scared to death, and what do we do? We screen them; put them through a sieve and see what stays and what swirls down the drain. Why? Because we can? Because we have to in order to get money from the state? To group them? What happens with the numbers? One scenario: Teachers analyze the data and go on to peg Joey as the kid who can’t build a wall with blocks. Then what? The kid practices at home (maybe) until he can make that darn wall. Then he starts to brag that he can make that wall better than Sally. Then what have we created? Damian Cooper, assessment guru, once said, “Human beings come into this world innately wired to learn. They (we) are not innately wired to compete in sports. And before you know it they are competing for numbers.” Is this why America can’t think critically? We want them to pass a test that is a one way street, painted one color with one very grumpy crossing guard. And now it’s beginning in Pre-K. There goes the neighborhood.

I might be wrong or overreacting or just looking at the dark side of the moon, but what do you think? I’m sure there is good in this as well. Show me the sunny side.

Comments (17)

Comment RSS
Library/media specialist in Camas Washington

every moon has a dark side

Was this helpful?
0

I think the idea of testing Pre K kids is extremely distasteful...
but there is a nation wide group,(they use my library every year) whose name i will have to come back to that does early testing for disablities, the earlier we can identify those kids the better of we, they are.
there is also those students that we know will benifet form another year at home before coming to the big, scary active, standards driven school. in many cases this prevents the retention of students later.
So, screening and ugly option but so is going into kindergarten blind.

Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.

Light

Was this helpful?
0

A little "light" there, Brian. Thanks for the post. Keep em' coming.

gaetan

first encounter of testing...

Was this helpful?
0

it is indeed unfortunate when the first school encounter is testing. We really have all lost our way! Children have precious little childhood anymore! This is from a former preschool teacher - now reading specialist (over 20 years)... and now grandma.

BTW - I am also in PA. W.

Was this helpful?
0

BTW - I am also in PA. W. PA.

Screening is early childhood

Was this helpful?
0

Screening is early childhood is in place to identify children who might need early intervention. It is NOT in place to "weed out" anyone not ready for pre-k or kindergarten. I have screened many children myself and have never had a child exhibit more than a slight case of stranger anxiety, that usually goes away within the first few minutes. Good screenings are set up as a play experience. By not having these screenings in place, especially in low socio-economic areas, children might miss extremely important early intervention oppertunities that will do nothing but help them in the future. Not screenig children would be doing them a diservice.

Montessori Public School Coordinator in Florida

Ambivalent

Was this helpful?
0

While I support the idea of screening (it seems that we really have ALWAYS done this with students at the beginning of the year) it was not necessarily a pull-out setting, not such a formal or serious process, but might have been done by the PK teacher in the classroom instead. Should we simply assume they all know NOTHING? Or perhaps we should assume that all children entering PK use the basic sight words on the Dolch list and have a vocabulary of at least 200 words?
We all know that children are like sponges and come to us ready to learn. Is it not our responsibility to determine what they already know so that we can provide instruction to help them continue in their individual learning process?

Some screenings are done by

Was this helpful?
0

Some screenings are done by the pre-k teacher in classroom. Other screenings may be done in order to see which children need pre-k the most (when only so many slots are available). The screenings have very little to do with rote knowledge like letter naming. They test processing skills, fine and gross motor skills, verbal expression and developmental milestones.

Montessori Public School Coordinator in Florida

Thanks for clarification

Was this helpful?
0

As far as I know, we do not screen to determine who gets to have PK and who does not. It is done when the students begin school.

We screen for oral language skills, concepts of print, motor skills, etc. If a teacher is concerned that a student has special needs, they are referred for assessment through another organization.

who are the real SQUARES?

Was this helpful?
0

As a retired veteran in the field of teaching, I applaud your astute observations. The people who decide to test these children, have no experience with children, no imagination, no common sense, and very little intelligence. I never believed in stadardized tests. Some of my best students never did well on the tests. They grew up to become teachers, doctors, lawyers, scie ntists, secretaries, actors, housewives, etc. The tests proved little to predict what they would become or what they would contribute to society. How sad that these "unknown" people, make up tests that have no relationship to the real world, send them to publishers, and they both make lots of money, so that you can give them to little children to fail. What a terrible shame and disgrace to our country and our future. No wonder so many children hate school today. drempeddler@yahoo.com

Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

Pre-K testing?

Was this helpful?
0

Really? Can't testing wait? Sad.

I'm all for kindergarten being as creative and as fun as possible. This is one of my favorite articles: Kindergarten Is the Model for Lifelong Learning -- check it out and help spread the word :)

see more see less