would you have a problem w/ this kindergarten entrance test? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 06:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by edamommy View Post
so my neice is entering kindergarten. In order to "get in" they had to pass a series of little tests. including "skipping", writing name, writing alphabet, etc... their ability to do it or not determind which "group/class" they would be in.

I had such an issue w/ this. I mean, what if my child simply didn't want to skip that day.. .then he'd have to go to the non-skippers group that "needs more help w/ motor skills"?

My MIL and SIL thought me nuts to get so bent out of shape about it... but it seems so very classist and just not fare... what do you all think?
Haven't read the whole thread...but I've always been taught it is best to have a MIXTURE of abilities in the class. Maybe that's what they are shooting for?
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#62 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 07:07 PM
 
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Haven't read the whole thread...but I've always been taught it is best to have a MIXTURE of abilities in the class. Maybe that's what they are shooting for?
Not always-- Sometimes they test because they are trying to force some children into a two-year "developmental kindergarten" program. There are many reasons why a parent might not want this for their child.
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#63 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 07:13 PM
 
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If my child is going to be grouped with a bunch of other kids to be taught the same things (which I have a huge problem with anyway), I want all the children in that class to be in a similar place developmentally, so my child isn't being pushed to catch up, or bored if they are the quickest to learn/finish.

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#64 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 07:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Synthea™ View Post
If my child is going to be grouped with a bunch of other kids to be taught the same things (which I have a huge problem with anyway), I want all the children in that class to be in a similar place developmentally, so my child isn't being pushed to catch up, or bored if they are the quickest to learn/finish.
I don't think it's possible to have a class of kindergarteners who are all in a similar place developmentally. There are always going to be differences.

In my daughter's case, she tested as "young" on a few developmental measures, (because she has a November birthday), but was ahead in many other measures. They still tried to force her into the D-K (2 year Kindergarten) program because of the test. AND -- if your child is in DK in our school district, they are with kids who have a whole host of other reasons for being there, such as never having learned to speak English.
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#65 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 08:00 PM
 
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I refuse to go along with the current public schools norms for kindergarten. I have worked with many, many educators from professors to daycare and public school teachers to convince them and their school district to put a stop to such academic pressure in the early years. Sadly, I have little results but still I have to try.

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#66 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 08:06 PM
 
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[QUOTE=IansMommy;9012756]
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Originally Posted by brendon View Post
You know, the school could also ask parents for information about their child. Does your child skip? If not, what are they doing? How does your child hold a pencil, right hand/left hand?
/QUOTE]

Good point--and some districts do...ours does.

Reality is, though, *how* a child completes a task is as important as the task itself (directionality, formation of letters/numbers, memory tasks). A teacher will be looking at specific behaviors that a parent without an education background may not notice.
Yes, yes yes!

For instance, my son can write all of his letters, but many of them are written functionally incorrectly. (which I didn't realize until he had OT and it was explained. I always answered that he could write letters because, from my uneducated perspective, he could since he was 2) He now has the tripod instead of palmer grasp, but still isn't using fine motor to control the writing (coming from the shoulder instead of the hand/wrist), can draw a "person", but when he is asked to draw "Zane", he writes his name. He can draw a person when prompted, but is isn't what they are looking for. They are looking for clues to self-concept, not just drawing skills.

Ds can't skip. He also runs with a slightly modified gait, enough that a professional can tell there is an issue, but probalby not enough to get PT. He can't do a lot of the motor planning tests.

I often ask during assesments if they are looking for the core knowledge (which he usually has) or if they are looking at how he answers specific types of questions. He has a lot of knowledge, but he can't answer questions if they are not formed in the right way often. For instance, he can tell you which one is a bird, but it can flub him up if you ask which one flies. It is a specific type of thing that indicates communication disorders.

The teachers need to make sure there aren't too many of any one group of kids in the classroom, and they are trying to keep kids apart with particular characteristics. For instance, you don't want a child with poor social skills in a class with a kid with severe behavior problems, because the social skills kid will imitate the behavior kid and you will have two behavior kids when it didn't need to happen. Also, some kids do great apart, but cause a lot of problems if they are together.

I am helping in a class of Kindergarten kids and the gulf between kids is astonishing. It isn't just that some kids can't read or write their name, there are kids in there that can't even tell you the difference between a letter and a number, or the difference between a square and circle, and then there are kids who are starting to read. And then you have kids like my ds, who is severly impared in social skills, but can read and do addition and subtraction. It is truly amazing what these teachers face on a daily basis.

And often, at the kindy level, there are a number of kids that will eventually become part of SpEd, but the parents just dropped them off with no indication of anything being wrong and the teacher just has to discover it through assessments and classroom time. They know about ds' issues, and that is why I am in the classroom. I can tell you that there is another girl in there that I recognized immediatly as having severe SID, and possibly some other LDs, and there are a few kids who are clearly going to need some pull out and one-on-one time. There are a lot of kids who should have been in the SpEd programs for years, but are just getting noticed now.

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#67 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Synthea™ View Post
If my child is going to be grouped with a bunch of other kids to be taught the same things (which I have a huge problem with anyway), I want all the children in that class to be in a similar place developmentally, so my child isn't being pushed to catch up, or bored if they are the quickest to learn/finish.
That is pretty much impossible.
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#68 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 08:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ThreeBeans View Post
Yes, that's exactly what I meant!

ALL children have the right to appropriate instruction. Even, *gasp* the smart ones.
Okay, so what is that? If one kid is advanced in reading but sucks at math, and another doesn't know the alphabet but is advanced in math, who is dragging whom down? And which one is getting the appropriate instruction? And what are you supposed to do in a classroom of 20 kids to address this?

Your insinuation is that you are in favor of these tests to weed out the kids who aren't up to par academically. And my question is - where do those kids go?
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#69 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 08:22 PM
 
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Wow, it's a new kind of low feeling for a kid to fail kindergarten before they even start! My mom just told me a cousin of ours wasn't allowed to enroll her child because he couldn't remember all of the ABC's. He got a couple mixed up. Oh, and he couldn't tell time by looking at a face clock. This child has never gone to preschool. I always thought it was a bit much to start your kid in preschool at age 2.5 or so, but maybe I was being a little short-sighted.
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#70 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 08:51 PM
 
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I wouldn't mind a test like that as part of an assessment DURING school. As an entrance or even pre-enrollment assessment I'd be worried about the "what if they just didn't want to" issue.

Dd just finished first grade. Her teacher assessed her reading and writing abilities at several points during the year. She once told me that she knew not to test dd on a Monday because it took her a bit to ramp back up to her full ability after the weekend. Because she knew dd she was able to make that accommodation and assess dd's actual achievement.

In a pre-enrollment situation you're dealing with a kid you don't know and who doesn't know you. That can make a HUGE difference.

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#71 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 08:54 PM
 
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Telling time before kindy? Not appropriate at all. Sure some kids can but most can't because they are not ready to tell time. There is a whole set of reasoning, knowledge and logic that a child needs to have before they can start telling time. *oy*

(Our education system needs alot of work.)

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#72 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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I didn't get a chance to read everything and I need to get off the computer but I wanted to say that the skipping, catching, and writing portion of the test are typically used to "red flag" kids that may be in need of OT/PT services, just as the speech portion is used to "red flag" for speech issues. I the school that I use to work in those kids that were red flagged, refused to participate or did not make it to the screening were screened a couple of weeks into the school year to reassess. I think from a services standpoint the screenings are very useful and can help snag the kids who need services early.
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#73 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 09:09 PM
 
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[QUOTE=oceanbaby;9015699]Your insinuation is that you are in favor of these tests to weed out the kids who aren't up to par academically. And my question is - where do those kids go?[/QUOTE]

I completely agree with you.

I'll tell you where these kids go in my particular school district. They go into the "developmental kindergarten" program, which includes all the kids who, for one reason or another, didn't get the right score on the test. That includes kids with no English, kids whose backgrounds have been disadvantaged, and some kids who are just a little young. That way, the kids in the regular kindergarten classroom and their teachers won't be inconvenienced at all.
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#74 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 09:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tboroson View Post
For kindergarteners? Yes, I would. The theory of kindergarten is that they learn how to go to school, and how to get along with their peers. Kindergarten is not for tracking and labelling. It's too damn early for that.
Nope, that's what preschool is for. That is not how kindergarten is now.

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#75 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 09:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by edamommy View Post
so, it's AOK w/ you for your child to be put in a "different" class based on his/her skipping ability?
Yes it would have. If someone would have checked my son's skipping ability or lack of they would have discovered and would/could have done early intervention.

My son could do things like button but if you would have watched HOW you might see something wrong. If you were trained to look for things. Many people didn't think anything wrong with how he did stuff because he could do it. But seeing how he did it pointed out to his issues.

Labels are not all bad how we use them can be though. My son would have benifited being labeled with dyslexia and dysgraphia young than waiting for his self-esteme to be negatively effected. He could have gotten help the first time instead of having to learn everything over again.

My hard of hearing child benifits from her label because people understand why she didn't hear.
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#76 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 09:58 PM
 
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I am going to say this again, but not lost in a huge post.

A lot of what they are accessing is not WHAT the child knows, although that might look like what they are accessing, and it is a portion of what they are looking at. A big part of what they are looking at is HOW a child gets to the answer, or if they can answer different types of questions, or how they go about doing something.

A child that draws a picture of themselves without arms, might have some SID issues that OT needs to address, or a child, like my son, might draw things in totally atypical ways. If you just see the result, you would think he is a pretty decent artist, but you often can't tell what he is drawing until he is done because he will draw it upside down, or on it's side, or start with the headlight to draw a car or some other odd approach like that. He does not see the world in a typical way and that is reflected in his drawing style.

My son can actually accomplish a lot of things that are on checklists (which means parental reporting did not catch some of the red flags), but when you watch HOW he does them, you see there is something really serious going on.

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#77 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 10:11 PM
 
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[QUOTE=SusanElizabeth;9016156]
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Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
Your insinuation is that you are in favor of these tests to weed out the kids who aren't up to par academically. And my question is - where do those kids go?[/QUOTE]

I completely agree with you.

I'll tell you where these kids go in my particular school district. They go into the "developmental kindergarten" program, which includes all the kids who, for one reason or another, didn't get the right score on the test. That includes kids with no English, kids whose backgrounds have been disadvantaged, and some kids who are just a little young. That way, the kids in the regular kindergarten classroom and their teachers won't be inconvenienced at all.
I'd be interested to know how often this happens. Around here, it seems like kids that need support are put in K without any and the teachers spend the year trying to get them services.

In general, I don't have a problem with tracking as long as it's done right. It should be fluid where kids change groups as their skills/abilities/etc. change. Also, all children should be in different groups during the day (there shouldn't be one group of high kids at one table, for example) and all kids' strengths should be taken into account and used for grouping. It's hard to do it well, but differentiating instruction can be amazing if it is.
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#78 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 10:20 PM
 
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I know it's impossible. That was kinda my point.

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#79 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 10:45 PM
 
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Has it been considered that the reason for doing the assessments before school begins so the kids can be tested individually and not compare their own abilities with the other kids they see around them? For that reason alone, I'd support individual testing; I don't think that a kid needs to be forced to skip (or try to) in front of ten or twenty other children.

OF COURSE any teacher worth her or his salt will quickly assess the skills that are lacking in the first week or two of school. But if they can come in to the classroom prepared, knowing that Janie can't make a square with a pencil, then perhaps they won't ask Janie to come up to the board and show how to make a square with chalk. Maybe they'll instead ask Janie to tell the class about her rabbits, or show how she can count to eighty.

I am personally not pushy with kindergarten, either as a homeschooler or observing kids going into school. Children who are developmentally ready will catch up with their peers extremely quickly, even if they came in with a knowledge deficit. Kids who are extraordinarily bright will hopefully be quickly pushed onward to get more challenge.

It's the kids who are NOT developmentally ready or who have issues that would benefit from interventional services, even if they have been in an academic preschool since age three, who really need to be caught and supported--and this can often be done only by a skilled or at least semi-skilled assessor. If a child's brain isn't ready to make certain steps (toward reading, toward math, etc.) you can beat your head against the wall and it's not going to do a thing. That child will begin to think of themselves as dumb or "behind" very, very quickly, when in fact all they need is another few months or a year to let their brains mature, or a knowledgeable special ed teacher to bring out potential. Anything that allows a teacher or school district to discreetly catch those kids, and to POSITIVELY approach both child and parent with the need for intervention or a longer kindergarten or pre-k experience, before there's any chance for the child to hear "dumb" or "slow" from either peers or adults, is worth it in my experience.
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#80 of 100 Old 08-27-2007, 10:56 PM
 
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Has it been considered that the reason for doing the assessments before school begins so the kids can be tested individually and not compare their own abilities with the other kids they see around them? For that reason alone, I'd support individual testing; I don't think that a kid needs to be forced to skip (or try to) in front of ten or twenty other children.

OF COURSE any teacher worth her or his salt will quickly assess the skills that are lacking in the first week or two of school. But if they can come in to the classroom prepared, knowing that Janie can't make a square with a pencil, then perhaps they won't ask Janie to come up to the board and show how to make a square with chalk. Maybe they'll instead ask Janie to tell the class about her rabbits, or show how she can count to eighty.

I am personally not pushy with kindergarten, either as a homeschooler or observing kids going into school. Children who are developmentally ready will catch up with their peers extremely quickly, even if they came in with a knowledge deficit. Kids who are extraordinarily bright will hopefully be quickly pushed onward to get more challenge.

It's the kids who are NOT developmentally ready or who have issues that would benefit from interventional services, even if they have been in an academic preschool since age three, who really need to be caught and supported--and this can often be done only by a skilled or at least semi-skilled assessor. If a child's brain isn't ready to make certain steps (toward reading, toward math, etc.) you can beat your head against the wall and it's not going to do a thing. That child will begin to think of themselves as dumb or "behind" very, very quickly, when in fact all they need is another few months or a year to let their brains mature, or a knowledgeable special ed teacher to bring out potential. Anything that allows a teacher or school district to discreetly catch those kids, and to POSITIVELY approach both child and parent with the need for intervention or a longer kindergarten or pre-k experience, before there's any chance for the child to hear "dumb" or "slow" from either peers or adults, is worth it in my experience.
Well said.

I think when we look at kindergarten assessment, we shouldn't look at it as
"failing/labeling/tracking" a kid before they even enter (and I get that there are not so great school districts where this happens). In order for a good teacher to give a child what a child needs, he or she needs to see *what* they need. In all of my training, the most simple and amazing revelation came in graduate school when a mentor (observing me teach) asked, "Why did you do that?" (during the lesson). She told me that if I cannot, without an ounce of doubt, provide a VALID reason for a part of a lesson, then it is wasted time. How do I know what to teach? By finding out exactly what the child needs. And yes, I still had fun in kindergarten, and made even efficient teaching fun.
Good practice in teaching is supported by good assessment. What better place to start than in the first year of primary education. And we talk a lot on these forums about children who need more challenges...those who enter kindergarten reading, as well as those who don't yet know colors or the alphabet. As a teacher, I am not going to waste time focusing on the alphabet with a child who is already reading. I am going to stress it with a child who needs it. I would like to think that classrooms have to slowly begin to make education a bit more individual--it's tricky for one teacher to do it, but it does and can happen, even as early as kindergarten.
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#81 of 100 Old 08-28-2007, 10:46 AM
 
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Iansmom- you sound like an excellent teacher and you hit the nail on the head...if you are teaching something just to teach it, when it does not relate to your students needs, they why do it?

I get myself in trouble for asking "why are you doing that lesson? what is it teaching? could you approach that subject in a different way? how do you assess whether the child understood and found the information useful?"

I see alot of assesment that looks at one skill as being the end all be all for a whole area of development. Yes, lack of skipping can show an area of concern but it doesn't necessarily mean that the child needs help/services.

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#82 of 100 Old 08-28-2007, 10:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Codi's Mama View Post
Nope, that's what preschool is for. That is not how kindergarten is now.
The problem with this is not all kids go to preschool. For a variety of reasons. For my family, we can't afford preschool. It's not compulsory. Actually, neither is Kindy in my state (child must be in school by age 7). Kindergarten *is* meant to help children learn what going to school is all about.

I just realized that Kindergarten used to be something not all kids went to. It was pretty much regarded as preschool. My mother never went to Kindergarten because there wasn't one in her town. But, schools started realizing how nice it was to have this class to help get the children ready for school before the learning started getting more serious.
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#83 of 100 Old 08-28-2007, 02:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by brendon View Post
Iansmom- you sound like an excellent teacher and you hit the nail on the head...if you are teaching something just to teach it, when it does not relate to your students needs, they why do it?
:
Thank you. I must say--I don't post in TAO that much...but I like the school threads...I feel like it's actually something I know a little about.
And I am also happy that this thread is still going...that I didn't kill it, and that it has stayed rather informative, intellectual, and civil. It's been nice for me to talk "adult" stuff after a few years out of the system!
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#84 of 100 Old 08-28-2007, 02:20 PM
 
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The problem with this is not all kids go to preschool. For a variety of reasons. For my family, we can't afford preschool. It's not compulsory. Actually, neither is Kindy in my state (child must be in school by age 7). Kindergarten *is* meant to help children learn what going to school is all about.
For most kids, the necessary "what is school all about" skills will be picked up extremely quickly. Kindergarten teachers are certainly not going to expect that every child knows how to stand in a line or raise their hands on the first day. So I don't think that there's any worry for the majority of children; they don't NEED preschool. If your K-age child can handle a relatively academic day, and most of them can, there shouldn't be an issue.

The problem comes when you have a child who is at the right age, but isn't ready for an academic program or isn't developmentally mature enough to thrive in a non-play environment. It's not "you don't know enough to start K"; it's "Your brain and body aren't ready to start K." Doesn't matter how many years of preschool are behind that child; he or she just isn't ready. That's why the schools try to catch them before school starts so they can be put in a two-year program or given a whole-day kindergarten.

While I share some of the sadness that kids need to be categorized so young, I think in the balance this is a good move. It's not like the upper-grade teachers have any idea who did two years of K and who didn't; the "labeling" doesn't follow the child. Plenty of kids who were developmentally "young" as five-year-olds are brilliant fifth-graders.
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#85 of 100 Old 08-28-2007, 04:43 PM
 
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Has it been considered that the reason for doing the assessments before school begins so the kids can be tested individually and not compare their own abilities with the other kids they see around them? For that reason alone, I'd support individual testing; I don't think that a kid needs to be forced to skip (or try to) in front of ten or twenty other children.
When we had our tests (circa 1981?), they were always done in private. Each child was asked outside to meet with the tester.

And yes, I believe it was less for "tracking" than for determining if any children had specific developmental needs.
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#86 of 100 Old 08-28-2007, 04:47 PM
 
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I thought Kinder. was where you learned your alphabet and how to write your name. never mind, this was addressed, i suppose i should read more then the op.
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#87 of 100 Old 08-28-2007, 05:30 PM
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Okay, so what is that? If one kid is advanced in reading but sucks at math, and another doesn't know the alphabet but is advanced in math, who is dragging whom down? And which one is getting the appropriate instruction? And what are you supposed to do in a classroom of 20 kids to address this?

Your insinuation is that you are in favor of these tests to weed out the kids who aren't up to par academically. And my question is - where do those kids go?
I would really appreciate it if you would stop putting words in my mouth. :

This has nothing to do with weeding anyone 'in' or 'out'. It has to do with figuring out what each child's abilities are, and teaching appropriately. This is a very simple concept.
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#88 of 100 Old 08-28-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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I have not read all of the responses, but when I went to kindy, I remember taking an assessment test. I had to build a little pyramid out of 10 blocks to look just like the teacher's. I had to walk on a masking-tape line on the floor. I don't remember skipping. I think I had to verbally spell my name, not sure if I had to write it.

I wouldn't have a problem with it, and I'm a staunch "against testing for my kids" type of homeschooler. Do they split up the classes, so there's a "high kindergarten" and a "low kindergarten" class, like they do with the older kids? In first grade, I remember being split up by reading ability. I think it's probably the same thing. It's not fair to a child who can read at 5 to be forced to learn "B says buh" for the bulk of the year... and not fair to the child who can't recognize letters yet to sit there confused when the rest of the children are sounding out CVC words.
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#89 of 100 Old 08-28-2007, 07:22 PM
 
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I would really appreciate it if you would stop putting words in my mouth. :

This has nothing to do with weeding anyone 'in' or 'out'. It has to do with figuring out what each child's abilities are, and teaching appropriately. This is a very simple concept.
No, it's actually not simple. You said that you didn't want a kid who didn't know their alphabet to be dragging your kids down. So, where does that kid go? And if they do go into the classroom, how then does the teacher teach to both of those children "appropriately?"

I don't see any way you can teach to each child's ability in a classroom of 20 kids. Some are going to be ahead and bored, and some are going to be behind and embarassed. I think it sucks for all the kids (this is one of the reasons we homeschool), but to refer to a child who doesn't know his alphabet as dragging your kids down is pretty loaded.

I don't think solving this problem is simple at all. Our educational system certainly hasn't been able to solve it yet.
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#90 of 100 Old 08-28-2007, 08:03 PM
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No, it's actually not simple. You said that you didn't want a kid who didn't know their alphabet to be dragging your kids down. So, where does that kid go? And if they do go into the classroom, how then does the teacher teach to both of those children "appropriately?"

I don't see any way you can teach to each child's ability in a classroom of 20 kids. Some are going to be ahead and bored, and some are going to be behind and embarassed. I think it sucks for all the kids (this is one of the reasons we homeschool), but to refer to a child who doesn't know his alphabet as dragging your kids down is pretty loaded.

I don't think solving this problem is simple at all. Our educational system certainly hasn't been able to solve it yet.

I didn't say that. Give me a break!

It was an EXAMPLE. Do we all know what this means? In this case, an example is a HYPOTHETICAL. If you'll all direct your attention to my signature, you'll see my oldest is TWO, and therefore not kindy aged. I have no idea if he'll know how to read going into kindergarten. He may very well have special needs that would put him in another category entirely. (This is a distinct possibility given his speech delay and phonological disorder.)

And if he needs special attention, I wouldn't want him drowning in a classroom where the teacher is focusing on teaching kids to read. I would want the teacher to KNOW he doesn't know his alphabet yet and to start there.


I agree it's not simple, but I'd really appreciate it if people stopped with the unkind insinuation about my meaning, which I think is pretty damn clear.
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