After receiving feedback from my daughter's school at the end of kindergarten, my husband and I are trying to figure out what the best next step is for her schooling: first grade with "differentiation" within the classroom, first grade with subject acceleration, or accelerate to second grade. In order to get a better gauge of where she is at developmentally as well as her knowledge and ability level we are going to try some summer homeschooling. Toward this end, I am in need of resources to assess her now and after we work on things over the summer so that we can make an informed decision about how to handle next school year.
My understanding is that this new common core curriculum the schools are adopting is about one grade level ahead of where the curriculum used to be (i.e. first graders are now learning what used to be mostly second grade curriculum). We have been told that by second grade kids really need to be developmentally ready to think critically, have a strong number sense, etc. and that not all children are ready to do so at that age.
In the schools they use the DIBELS (language/reading) and TENS (math) to assess her ability level in kindergarten, but these are one minute timed- how fast can you go- tests that seem to only assess how well you can perform under pressure and only the most basic of skills. They have offered us the ITBS for further information, which from my understanding is the typical test they give when grade acceleration is being considered, but again is mostly a skills test. How do we get at the development portion? Would the Iowa Acceleration Scale be a better test to get at that development portion? Is there a way to see sample tests to better gauge her readiness if the school will not offer this test?
Any ideas would be very welcome! Thank you!
Mama to Avalon 1/07 , Austin 1/10 in between and Avery 12/11
I can't help you with assessment tools. I do know you can buy the Iowa acceleration scale on Amazon.
I was going to offer that if you are unsure about grade acceleration, there are ways to "test the waters" before committing. Our eldest did a mid-year skip from K to 1st grade. The teacher recognized she'd need differentiation within minutes of first stepping into the classroom. When they could see if wasn't enough, she started to spend mornings with the first graders and go back to kindergarten in the afternoon. It was soon clear that she was better off with the 1st graders and so she moved in full time and we continued to work towards a better academic fit from there. She's now 16 and finishing up her junior year in an early college/high school hybrid program. We always know we did the right thing because we could all see the alternative was NOT working.
I'd be hesitant to look at any summer work at home as representative of how she'll do in class, especially if standards are changing and you aren't sitting with the exact curriculum. Working at home and working at school are different scenarios. Most kids do move faster when given one-on-one instruction so even pacing can be difficult to gauge. Your best bet is to evaluate how she's functioning with her current peers. Where is she in the curriculum? How many grade levels is she ahead. How fast is she absorbing new information compared to her classmates? How are her peer interactions? How does she handle the classroom environment? Your current teacher should be able to give you this information.
"All you fascists are bound to lose" — Woody Guthrie
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