“Hi, Billy! Welcome to kindergarten. Let’s go take a test.”
This is the first experience most kindergarten students have in Utah. Students are introduced to their teacher and then proceed to take a thirty-minute standardized test to see if they are “ready” for kindergarten.
What happens if the student isn’t ready? What does that do to the student’s emotional well-being? What does that do to the parents’ perception of their child?
Now some teachers are visiting incoming kindergarten student’s homes during the summer to be sure they do well on this assessment as they enter kindergarten.
None of this makes sense to me.
As a principal, I argued against the need for lengthy standardized tests for new kindergarten students.
Kindergarten used to be the process of students preparing for first grade. Students were given ample time to play and explore within the classroom.
Children, especially young children, learn through play. But focusing on standardized assessments limits play in schools. Since 2001, recess time has shrunk by sixty minutes per week. And that is not all. Art, music, science, and social studies have all decreased in schools.
We saw the decline of these activities and subjects after federal mandates for standardized tests were introduced in the No Child Left Behind Act.
It’s time to ditch all of these standardized tests and bring back a focus on making learning fun.