Standardized tests are not ideal for evaluating children’s achievements. Also, the students’ scores received after completing tests cannot demonstrate successes of not only students but also teachers. Therefore, the standardized test scores cannot be discussed as effective tools to evaluate the teacher performance. It is important to note that the active use of tests is not related to the idea of using developmentally appropriate educational practices because not all students are equally good at taking tests even if they have the same knowledge and level of the skills’ development (Pollio & Hochbein, 2015). For instance, many young children cannot concentrate on tests during a long period because this activity is not developmentally appropriate. As a result, the individual factor influences the accuracy of the evaluation.
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Furthermore, the reference to standardized tests is not appropriate to measure the teachers’ performance because of the external factors’ impact on the students’ ability to take tests. Thus, a student who has personal or family problems can have difficulties while concentrating on the test (Vu & Dall’Alba, 2014). As a result, his performance decreases even if he has learned the material. It is ineffective to conclude about the teacher performance referring to this case.
Moreover, many teachers feel the pressure of the possibility to be evaluated with references to students’ test scores, and they focus on teaching how to take tests instead of developing the students’ potential and skills (Kostelnik, Soderman, Whiren, & Rupiper, 2011). The results can be high, but they do not represent the real picture and the quality of the teacher performance. Therefore, the alternative assessments that can adequately reflect the work of students and teachers are game-based and performance-based assessments for children because it is more appropriate for them to play and complete portfolios and projects.
Discussion Two: Authentic Assessment
Virginia’s 2010 English Standards of Learning provide the standard related to the vocabulary acquisition in Kindergarten: “Identify real-life connections between words and their use” (Virginia Department of Education, 2010, p. 23).
Students can demonstrate learning these connections while naming objects and stating their purposes. The example of the activity that can enhance the students’ learning in this area is the question-answer session presented in a form of a game during which children are expected to name the places and furniture at home that are cozy, related to sleeping, eating, and hygiene. If this activity is presented in a form of a game, it is developmentally appropriate because young children are inclined to learn words and objects around them better when they are in a form of games (Kostelnik et al., 2011; Litchfield & Dempsey, 2015).
To assess how effectively students cope with these tasks, it is important to determine such criteria of their success as the number of places or pieces of furniture named and the number of the named functions or purposes. To scaffold the learning, it is possible to use pictures demonstrating activities to help students guess the objects’ purpose. Therefore, the appropriate assessment activity in this situation is the checklist (Berry, 2010).
Using the checklist, the teacher will be able to fix what places and pieces of furniture were identified accurately and what real-life connections were determined, as well as what objects caused difficulties. The number of correct answers allows speaking about the student’s mastery and areas to improve. The information about objects which were not identified can be reflected in other tasks to develop the student’s skills in understanding the purpose of things that are around them. The same checklist can be used to note the child’s progress while completing the other tasks.
Berry, R. (2010). Teachers’ orientations towards selecting assessment strategies. New Horizons in Education, 58(1), 96-107. Web.
Kostelnik, M., Soderman, A., Whiren, A., & Rupiper, M. (2011). Developmentally appropriate curriculum: Best practices in early childhood education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Web.
Litchfield, B. C., & Dempsey, J. V. (2015). Authentic assessment of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2015(142), 65-80. Web.
Pollio, M., & Hochbein, C. (2015). The association between standards-based grading and standardized test scores as an element of a high school reform model. Teachers College Record, 117(1), 110-122. Web.
Virginia Department of Education. (2010). Comparison of Virginia’s 2010 English Standards of Learning with the Common Core State Standards for English and Literacy. Web.
Vu, T. T., & Dall’Alba, G. (2014). Authentic assessment for student learning: An ontological conceptualisation. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 46(7), 778-791. Web.