Article by Laura Bailet, PhD, Kaplan's Chief Academic Officer
Assessments only need to happen once a year.
Assessments and observations should be ongoing and diverse and should include a variety of children's activities.
Assessments and observations serve a multitude of purposes; they're not just an end-of-year exam or when-you-have-time observation. No, ongoing assessments help educators consistently evaluate and adapt their lesson plans to meet the needs of all students.
- Determine a child's progress. Is he developing at the proper rate? Is she keeping up with her peers?
- Measure lesson retention. Sure, she's following along on a weekly basis, but what about a month down the road? Is she retaining what she's learning?
- Identify learning differences. The earlier educators can determine if a child learns at a different pace, the better his chances are for success now, and later in life.
- Inform instructional planning. Perhaps one of the most beneficial components to ongoing assessments is the opportunity to continually pivot. Is your approach working? Is your classroom environment stimulating collaboration, growth and development? How can you integrate more and/or different activities to help each child succeed?
- Engage families.Keeping families involved and engaged with the ongoings of the classroom isn't always easy. Assessments help keep parents completely in the loop with what their child is learning, how he is developing, and what they can do at home to help him continue to succeed.
- Determine school accountability. What better metric to boast your program's efficacy than ongoing results that show the how children are consistently developing at the proper rate?
Throughout the schoolyear, the Learning Accomplishment Profile™ Birth to Kindergarten (LAP™ B-K) helps educators to learn and apply integral knowledge to improve the learning environment, experience better behaviors, and ultimately, ensure the current and future success of each child in the classroom.
About Laura Bailet, PhD, Kaplan Early Learning Company
Dr. Bailet has more than 30 years' experience in the field of early childhood. She earned her BA at Wake Forest University and her MA and PhD from Northwestern University. She is a licensed school psychologist and has expertise on a wide range of early childhood topics and learning disorders, including dyslexia and autism. The former Operational VP at Nemours Children's Health System and Assistant Professor at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, she has published numerous journal articles and book chapters and has been recognized by many award boards. For her accomplishments, Dr. Bailet was selected as the top "Change Agent" in Jacksonville, FL, in 2006 and is the recipient of Jacksonville's prestigious EVE Award for her success in creating Nemours BrightStart!, the program to promote reading success for all children. She is a member of the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Advisory Board.