Has a recent test report caused some stress?

A little word of advice from your local reading specialist…

When I opened the LitCoLab within the bookstore, I knew that many local families would look to me as an expert of all things literacy development. And, while I know quite a bit from years of training and working with all levels of students from Pre-K through college, I’m certainly not an expert in all things but I am happy to share what I do know.

Last week, area public school families received access to their iready test scores. The phone began ringing, email inquiries began flooding in and every parent voiced their concerns about their child’s performance. Here are my thoughts:

  • Many times these tests only really evaluate your child’s engagement with the test on that particular day. Were they having a bad day? Hungry? Tired of doing work on the computer? Stressed?
  • A standardized test, while we do like to know how our kiddo does as compared to others of the same age, is unable to accurately show their thinking.
  • The iready assessment is NOT meant to level students, show growth and/or progress in a skill. The iready is a screener and is meant to guide instruction. (And, in my opinion, doesn’t do a great job at that).
  • The iready programming and assessment cannot account for the changes in instruction based upon recent years of virtual learning, outside influences that have greatly affected all members of a household during and outside of school hours.

The iReady Universal Screener is not an assessment that we should hang out hat on. It’s new. It uses TECHNOLOGY and it strips away all evidence of the students’ thinking, and instead assigns broad and largely meaningless labels. The assessment sums up a student’s entire mathematical and reading skill set into a generic list of skills that “students like her” generally need, according to iReady.

We should ALWAYS focus on growth. If our young learners grow stagnant in a skill, struggle to progress or seem disengaged, we certainly need to take note; however, if our kids are happy, engaged, making progress towards goals then we need to celebrate that. If you’ve received an iready assessment that has seemed alarming and not reflective of the learner you know, reach out to your teachers and/or bring them to us for an informal assessment. We’d be happy to help create a broader picture of who your child is as a learner.