Just the word assessment makes me shudder. I don't know about you, but I absolutely DISLIKE report card time. Luckily, I don't have to do progress reports so I only have to deal with HUGE assessments and putting in grades 4 times a year.
As you know, I teach kindergarten. We have a standards based report, for K, in my county. Once they are printed off, they're usually about 3 pages long. YES! A report card that is more than ONE page. Last year, we had 17 to 20 page tests for EVERY SINGLE child each quarter. For an entire week, we shut down ALL teaching and pretty much had to assess the entire week. Part of this was due to the fact that we didn't get assessments until maybe a week or two before they were to go into the computer. We had to individually assess every child. Think about how long that takes?
Personally, I hated it.
I didn't understand why we had such long tests. There had to be an easier way. HAD TO BE! Then, last summer I went to Vegas. My first few sessions ALL mentioned ESGI. I had heard of it before. Our principal even asked us about it in the middle of the year, but we didn't take the time to actually look at it. One girl did and she didn't like it. So that was that.
I started a trial that night. I played around with it. I read some reviews on it. I was in love. We got a new principal and she asked us about it. I wanted it. I needed it. There is so much that you can do with ESGI on a day-to-day and weekly basis that could save me SO much precious time. I let her know that there had to be something that we were missing about it and I wanted it.
So. We got it. And I love it. Here's why.
I no longer have to waste hundreds of copies every single quarter on assessments. Everything is saved online.
The assessment are so easy that you can make them YOURSELF. Just a few minutes of your time and you're done. If your county has them made, just link up to your county. It's that simple. You can always search for the standard that you need.
Here's how I assess my kids. I have my laptop/iPad open to ESGI. I give the child an iPad. I have a dummy account with my name on it. I allow everyone to test under that account when we start from scratch. It saves so much time. They click no for each answer - I tell them to click N to move on to the next question. I click either Y or N depending on the correct answer. They never see whether they got it wrong or not and they don't have to stress or watch we mark something out. I love that they don't know.
I love a good report. We use these to turn in during RTI meetings, parents, conferences, and anything else where you need to show data for a child. Everything is already made for you. All you have to do is assess the children.
Every report card, I print out this parent report. It has the child's name at the top. I attach this to the report card. It lets them know what was missed exactly on each standard. Some are a little harder to understand than most, so I include an explanation at the beginning of the year. Standards based report cards are difficult for many parents to read, but they are so EXACT. I'm happy it doesn't just say MATH with a G, S, or N next to it. We are able to say exactly what they are excelling in.
I can also use this to plan.
Parents can use these flash cards to practice with skills that have not been mastered at home. This is great for identifying numbers, letters, sounds, and sight words. You can quickly print off what they need to work on and send it home. Parents can cut the cards at home, saving you time.
In a few weeks, we will begin assessing the current pre-k students. Also during our pre-registration, we will assess those students. This helps us to place students into classrooms for the next year. This information will also be saved into ESGI for the next school year. Students can be moved over from classroom to classroom. I will already know in August that "Kennedy" know all of her numbers up to 15 and that she doesn't know any of her sounds. This is going to be beneficial each and every year because we usually know NOTHING about our students when they come in. I will reassess all of my students at the beginning of the year to see what they all know at that point, but for those that have already been assessed - I won't have to test them on that much.
They also JUST, as in just I mean this week, rolled out where you can keep track of previous testing. When you open a test, it will ask if you want to test only the incorrect responses or retest everything. I love that they are improving as they see a need.
EASY right? If you teach kindergarten or have a standards based report card, I seriously encourage you to look into ESGI testing. There is SO many great options for you. I'm sad it didn't come into my life sooner. I save so much time every year and am able to continue teaching and not interrupt our crazy schedule as much as I used to. I hope these tips through ESGI can help at least ONE of you.
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Pre-Kindergarten - 1st Grade Classroom Tools