It is vital to identify student’s strengths & weaknesses with Readiness Assessments.

Due to campus closures this past spring, it is now, more than ever, vital to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses in terms of development of underlying competencies, which are essential for early school learning.

AVAILABLE is the new Preschool Progress Screening (PPS). The PPS was created as a quick and easy assessment of general education exposure, experiences and growth skills that should be present or progressing in 3-5 year olds. It was designed to report on developmental milestones, drive classroom instruction and to preliminarily identify children who may be in need of additional support or services. The PPS allows teachers to evaluate skills in three developmental areas: Language, Concepts and Motor Skills. The PPS total score will provide a developmental indicator of “OK” or “Recheck.”

Also available is the Kindergarten Readiness Test. The purpose of the KRT is to determine the extent to which each of the underlying competencies in reading, mathematics and language have been developed so that instruction can be modified to meet the needs of each student. The 8 subtests may be given in 45 minutes. Scores and skill ratings for each individual subtest are measured along with an overall readiness score and rating.

For those entering first grade in the fall, the School Readiness Test (SRT) is available for administration. The purpose of the SRT is to allow teachers to learn as much as possible about each entering student’s ability and about any factors that might interfere with his or her learning. The eleven subtests, with an optional handwriting assessment may be given in 1 hour and 35 minutes. Scores and skill ratings for each individual subtest are measured along with an overall readiness score and rating. The overall readiness score is also related to a national percentile and stanine.

Springtime Sheltering at STS

Thoughts from our Managing Editor and new Homeschool Administrator Traci Johnson.

Hello STS customers and friends:

Like many of you, STS employees are sheltering in place at home with our families while we deal with the Covid-19 virus. In my case, I’m an editor and a brand new homeschool administrator for a 6, 11, and 15 year old.  Here are a few of the things that are helping me juggle work and school right now.

  • Create a brand new schedule. I am 4 weeks into the work/school juggling act. In the beginning I had a grand ideas of the kids waking up at seven-thirty and being done with their work by noon. All that got me was three grumpy kids. So we adjusted. My kids have their weekend bedtimes unless they have an early meeting with a teacher.  We also allow them to linger in their pjs in the morning.  They are much happier and it gives me time to focus (alone) on my work in the morning.
  • Create some accountability (and make it fun).  Our district has an online grading system where parents can view grades and assignments. I also have my kids keep an informal log of what they did each day. If they make it through the week without me hounding them about assignments, they get a reward. My kids like Chipotle and Starbucks so they get to place an order weekly.
  • Go outside. We live in the Chicago area and last week was our first 80 degree day. I told my 6 year old to read outside and then she spent the rest of the day happily playing in the yard.  All of us walk, ride a bike or ride a scooter outdoors every day. Because we’re stuck inside most of the time, that outside time has become a welcome release.
  • Find some help online. My older kids have regimented school assignments and meeting times, but my little one has tons of free time. Finding websites that offer her something to do has been a godsend. Attractions like the Shedd Aquarium offer virtual tours. My daughter has also done virtual safaris with the Cincinnati zoo. Some zoos even offer live feeding sessions on Facebook. Scholastic.com also has free learning resources for all grade levels that include books and videos.
  • Have fun. The Corona virus is awful and sheltering in place is not how any of us planned to spend the spring. But I’ve found that it is important to plan some fun for your family. We’ve done movie nights, game nights, lip sync challenges, formal dinners. Anything to break up the monotony of quarantine. We don’t do this every day – parents are not camp counselors and kids do want some alone time. But we will never spend this much time together again so we want our kids to have some good memories of this tough time.
  • It’s OK if you’re struggling. Actor Drew Barrymore said on the Today show that Corona parenting is not good days and bad days. It’s good hours and bad hours. That rang true for me. This is hard. Kids get bored. Parents and teachers are stretched thin. We’re all new at this quarantine thing. Last week my youngest daughter had movie day and watched Trolls all afternoon. Every day will not be equally productive.

So while the world is a lot quieter these days, all of us at STS are working hard at home. Call us if you need us. We’re still answering the phones and happy to assist you however we can.

Traci Johnson
Managing Editor
Scholastic Testing Service, Inc.
1.800.642.6787
www.ststesting.com

We invite feedback or sharing of your own ideas and experiences on this topic.

Development Screening for Early Childhood Readiness

Does your school need a developmental screening tool to help determine early childhood readiness? Then the Comprehensive Identification Process (CIP) is the perfect tool for you.

Appropriate for children between the ages of 2 and 6 1/2 years of age, the CIP helps identify children who may need special medical, psychological or educational assistance to function at their highest possible level upon entering grade school.

The screening process takes 30-45 minutes with children performing a series of tasks at the appropriate age intervals. The development screenings areas include: Cognitive-Verbal, Perceptual Motor, Gross Motor, and Speech and Expressive Language. The CIP screening is designed to give recommendations for follow-up such as a vision or hearing test or a complete medical examination. Because CIP screening results in alternative recommendations, it prevents the labeling of a child; prevents the comparison of the children’s scores; and permits the consideration of overall behavior.

Screening should be done by early childhood professionals or trained paraprofessionals in a preschool or medical setting. Find out why CIP has been a trusted resource for developmental screening in early childhood education. Call us at 1.800.642.6787 to request a CIP Preview Set or to order a full CIP Kit. Available for purchase online, too.

Are you seeking a new readiness test?

Schools may find that STS' Kindergarten Readiness Test (KRT) and School Readiness Test (SRT) are good substitutes for the Metropolitan Readiness Test.

Schools may find that STS’ Kindergarten Readiness Test (KRT) and School Readiness Test (SRT) are good substitutes for the Metropolitan Achievement and Readiness Test.

With the retirement of the Metropolitan Achievement and Readiness Tests, we have received numerous calls from educators searching for replacement assessments. We are excited to advise each caller (and often hear a sign of relief in return), that Scholastic Testing Service (STS) offers three assessment tools that will effortlessly replace existing testing programs, provide efficient and reliable score reporting, and integrate seamlessly with current administration procedures and testing windows.

  • The Educational Development Series (EDSeries) is a standardized test battery that provides the most comprehensive coverage of all STS instruments. Featuring a total of nine skill areas, the EDSeries provides fast and useful score reporting, local and national norms, normal curve equivalents and a cognitive skills quotient.
  • The newly revised Kindergarten Readiness Test (KRT) and School Readiness Test (SRT) are effective tools for determining a student’s readiness for beginning kindergarten and first grade respectively.  Both KRT and SRT levels of readiness are related to national percentiles and stanines, allowing educators to learn as much as possible about individual student ability as well as group performance.

For more information, educational professionals can request preview copies (below) of KRT, SRT and EDSeries.

Scholastic Testing Service, Inc. Announces Parent Resources

Here at STS we realize that parents are always looking for resources to encourage their child’s academic growth and spark creativity. To that end, we recommend the following products.

Kindergarten Readiness Inventory (KRI) Parent Edition – this new product was modeled after our longstanding Kindergarten and School Readiness Tests to allow parents to assess their child’s kindergarten readiness at home.

Learning Mathematics Creatively – this three part series offers creative ways to address difficult mathematics concepts like solving word problems, using place value, and mastering primes, fractions and decimals.

Tin Man Press Products – this ingenious series of “creativity boosters” provides workbooks and activity cards with a range of art, writing and problem solving exercises. Perfect for parents looking for learning activities to use during school breaks and summer vacation.

Readiness Assessment

School Readiness and Kindergarten ReadinessKindergarten and first grade teachers know their students are not equally ready for instruction. Some students may be reading and doing addition and subtraction while others may still need assistance with letter and number recognition. As a result, early childhood educators have to determine individual readiness by giving careful consideration to each child’s physical, social, and cognitive development.

Our Kindergarten Readiness Test (KRT) was created to assist educators in this endeavor by assessing the development of underlying competencies in six areas – Vocabulary, Identifying Letters, Visual Discrimination, Phonemic Awareness, Comprehension, and Mathematical Knowledge. Designed to be administered at the end of preschool or before the third full week of kindergarten, the KRT can be administered in thirty minutes or less and provides immediate results with subject-specific readiness levels related to national percentiles and stanines.

For older students, the School Readiness Test (SRT) was developed to assess first grade readiness. In less than 2 hours time, the SRT rates student readiness in Vocabulary, Identifying Letters, Visual Discrimination, Phonemic Awareness, Comprehension, Mathematical Knowledge, Developmental Spelling Ability, and Handwriting. SRT readiness ratings and instructional implications allow teachers to evaluate each student’s competency by subtest and provides diagnostic assistance as well.

Parents that are curious about their child’s readiness should read more about the Kindergarten Readiness Inventory – Parent Edition.

For more information on these or other products for early childhood educators, please contact customer service at 1.800.642.6787 or sts@ststesting.com.

Preparing for the Parent-Teacher Conference

Establishing a productive parent-teacher partnership requires effort to create a positive, equitable relationship.   Whether you have already talked to your child’s teacher or have not yet met, a parent-teacher conference may be the perfect opportunity to start a cooperative partnership.  Here are a few critical steps a parent can take to ensure a productive and positive conference:

  • Before the conference, talk with your child.  Children should understand why the conference is taking place. Is it a routine meeting for all parents, or due to a problem?  Find out if your child has any concerns with schoolwork or classmate relationships, which should be discussed with the teacher.
  • Become familiar with homework assignments. How is your child doing with homework?  Are the assignments understood? Work getting done? The conference is the appropriate venue to discuss any homework issues or concerns.
  • Prepare to collaborate. Teachers will most often give parents bad news because they want the student to succeed.  Naturally, parents can become defensive and protective, when hearing negative feedback about their child. Assume the teacher has your child’s best interest in mind, and respond calmly and tactfully. Set a date to further discuss the problem or work out a solution.  Remember, teachers are as afraid to give bad news as parents are to hear it.
  • Ask Questions.  Prepare a list of questions to ask your child’s teacher.  Is my child meeting expectations or struggling in any area?  If you have any concerns about your child’s behavior or performance, take this opportunity to ask the teacher for feedback. Request any recommended materials or resources to further assist with your child’s educational growth.

Because the average conference lasts only 20 minutes, planning ahead will help you make the most of every minute and maximize the experience.  The parent – teacher conference provides a great opportunity for you and your child’s teacher to share information and insight.  You can develop a relationship with the teacher, open the lines of communication essential to student success, and be a team player in your child’s education.

Standardized Testing and Early Education

Recently, I have been reading about standardized testing, including reviews of the Reading First program. There are some studies reporting it does not improve reading in early elementary school children any better than regular programs. Other studies report that it does positively effect early reading test scores. There is so much controversy about the program, that I wonder why we are forgetting about the children. I continually read that the teacher is the one who makes the difference in children’s learning, nearly regardless of the material used. I think that the important feature of early education is how carefully the teacher monitors students’ progress – not how well they have been prepped to take a test. If the test has validity, meaning it is aligned to the skills/standards/objectives of the curriculum, the results will show how well they know the material.
What about early school testing? I think that it can show what children have learned from instruction as well as show where they need review or further instruction. Most early school testing is designed so that the few who need additional work are diagnosed and can be assisted.

What do you think?