Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune reported that the state of Illinois would postpone the launch of the new kindergarten assessment (KIDS). This came about after several districts asked for waivers to either opt out of the assessment or to postpone their district’s participation.
Most school districts who participated in the pilot phase, complained that the assessment took up too much valuable teaching time and required teachers to spend too much time away from their classrooms and teaching. A couple of others felt that the assessment was a good tool that revealed superior qualitative data to their previous system of assessment.
This new tool aims to assess how ready children are when they arrive at kindergarten with a big focus on how the preschools are doing to prepare them. This is a sticky-wicket. Since we know that development is a bumpy road and each child is unique in their development, it is hard to imagine that an assessment such as this can draw reasonable conclusions about preparedness at the preschool level.
This should come as no surprise to you who work everyday with young children. The era of accountability is alive and well in education and everyone is searching for a reason that children are falling behind. I, too, would like answers to this question, but I am not sure that a statewide assessment in kindergarten will provide the answers everyone is seeking.
You now have 2-3 years to prepare the children for the KIDS. Best of luck.