Test prep for 5-year-olds is a real thing. Here’s what it looks like.

Reblogged from the Answer Sheet

It’s no secret that for some years now, kindergarten, once a time when youngsters spent the day learning through structured play, has become focused on academics, forcing young kids to sit in their chairs working for far longer than many are developmentally ready to handle. Along with that work has come tests and more tests, some standardized, some not. What you may not have heard much about is test prep for these youngsters.  Yes, test prep for 5-year-olds is a real thing. Phyllis Doerr, a kindergarten teacher in South Orange, New Jersey, explains what it looks like in this post, a version of which appeared in the News Record, the local paper of South Orange and Maplewood, NJ.

[The kindergarten testing mess]

By Phyllis Doerr

As a kindergarten teacher, I find the trend to bring more testing into kindergarten not only alarming, but counter-productive and even harmful.

In the kindergarten at my school, we do not administer standardized tests; however, hours of testing are included in our math and language arts curriculum.  In order to paint a realistic picture of the stress, damaging effects and colossal waste of time caused by testing in kindergarten, allow me to bring you to my classroom for our first test prep session for 5-year-old children during the 2014-15 school year.

The test for which I was preparing my students was vocabulary. It worked this way: I said a word that we had learned in our “nursery rhyme” unit and then read a sentence containing that word. If the sentence made sense and the word was used correctly, the student would circle a smiley face. If the word was used incorrectly, they would circle a frown. This task requires abstract thinking, a skill that kindergartners have not yet developed — a foundational problem for this type of test. Read more>>