Fifteen Maine kindergarten teachers spent three days last week learning how to pilot a Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA) with support from a grant to the Maine DOE. The KEA has been created with input from kindergarten teachers from the start and Maine teachers’ feedback on the benefits of KEA will guide its development.
The KEA is a formative assessment that participating teachers will complete within the first 60 days of school. The information is gathered over the course of a typical school day and largely consists of teacher observations of skills and development as children participate in regular kindergarten activities. This is called “authentic assessment.” Educators can use the results of the KEA to guide curriculum and instruction and give teachers a meaningful tool for adjusting teaching and learning. The KEA is not a “readiness” test or “high stakes” in any way. It addresses whole child development: social-emotional, physical, approaches to learning, language /literacy and cognitive development.
With parent permission, each kindergarten teacher participating in the pilot will use the tool to assess progress toward learning goals for 10 children in their classroom this fall. They will give feedback to the researchers on what works and what doesn’t, what is helpful to their curriculum and instruction, and the amount of time involved. Parents will also receive a report and be able to provide feedback on whether or not the information was helpful to them.
The enthusiasm and excitement from the Maine kindergarten teachers was contagious! They are eager to try a new assessment tool that looks at the development of the whole child. They believe the KEA will guide their teaching, help them to better individualize instruction, and to provide the classroom activities and supports to ensure that all children are learning.
Stay tuned for more as the teachers report their experience with the KEA. For more information contact the Department’s Early Childhood Consultant Sue Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org.