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    testing preschool children
    By Julianne

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    I've taught pre-K, kindergarten, first and third grades. I've also worked with sixth through ninth graders. One constant issue is being able, as a teacher, to determine if you are doing the appropriate things to help your students learn and grow. Standardized tests for younger students are different from the ones given in older grades. And, yes, I believe we need them, to inform our teaching practices if nothing else. We need to know that the structure of the program these children attend, the materials they are exposed to and the way in which they are guided have the appropriate impact on learning. Most people send their child to preschool expecting it to prepare them for kindergarten. They want to know that their child is learning pre-reading and pre-math skills. I agree that preschool years should be filled with play opportunities, social learning and plenty of love and attention. But especially among the lowest income students (with whom I work now) out-of-school experiences are often inadequate to prepare them for kindergarten and future school success. Preschools need to be aware of this and help provide the missing elements. Those include exposure to books, help learning simple concepts like one to one matching and color names and the social skills necessary to succeed in school. Standardized tests - of the appropriate kind - can tell us if we are succeeding in giving these skills to our pre-k students.

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