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084.JPGExamples of Formative Assessment
In the kindergarten classroom formative assessment is extremely beneficial to the progress of these young students. As an educator, I must constantly be aware of what concepts my students understand and do not understand. Formative assessment occurred each and every day in the two kindergarten classrooms where I completed my practicum and student teaching experiences. Examples of formative assessment that I used includes: observation, questioning strategies, homework, and student work completed independently during the school day. Personally, I believe it is useful to rely on a combination of formative assessment. I have found that some students appear to understand a topic when in reality they do not. Therefore, relying solely on appearance could lead a teacher to make an inaccurate observation. By collecting student work, making corrections with the child, and then sending the assignment home, the parents and teachers have a better understanding of the child’s level of progress. I have included as a sample a student’s work that is severely below grade level and is facing kindergarten retention. This student completed an assignment that was below my expectations; therefore, we redid the assignment together as a team. Pictured to the right is the before and after shot of the students assignment. The booklet pictured on the left is the child’s second attempt at completing the assignment and the booklet on the right is the student’s original work. Another example of formative assessment I used in my kindergarten classroom during student teaching was selecting a morning helper to complete the calendar, reading, and writing activities. Students had one turn each month to help the teacher fill in the days of the week, complete a pattern using numbers, and write the date (what we refer to as the “secret code” of the day). In addition, the student completes a morning message on the wipe erase board by filling in missing letters, words, and numbers. Finally, this morning helper leads the class in the reading of the word wall words posted in our kindergarten classroom. This type of formative assessment was very beneficial to me as a teacher because I could observe the students strengths, weaknesses, and progress/lack of progress. This routine of having a morning helper also created a very engaging lesson for the entire class since the students were lead by one of their peers. Pictured below is the dry erase board that includes the morning message. This picture was taken at the beginning of May when the students have an increased vocabulary. The morning message at the beginning of kindergarten certainly would look much different (Competency 16).

Examples of Summative Assessment
As standardized testing becomes increasingly important in our schools, summative assessment must be more heavily relied on in the kindergarten classroom than in the past. During my practicum and student teaching experiences, I observed the administration of the PALS Assessment at the beginning and end of the school year. In addition, I helped administer the Williamsburg-James City County benchmark assessment to the kindergarten students in my classroom. Summative assessment also occurs in the classroom each marking period as teachers must evaluate the abundance or lack of progress made by students. During my student teaching experience at D.J. Montague Elementary School, I created and administered an assessment that covered the Kindergarten Mathematics Standard of Learning K.7 which states that the student will recognize a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter and will determine the value of a collection of pennies and/or nickels whose total value is 10 cents or less (Competency 16). Please click this link to view my Money Assessment for Kindergarten.pdf.

Student Assessment Results as a Guide for Instruction

Subsequently, I created a mathematics lesson based on the results of this mathematics assessment (Competencies 17 & 18). I grouped the students based on their level of success on the assessment. 45% of my students earned a perfect score on the assessment, therefore, I taught them how to several dimes, nickels, and pennies. We also added several quarters together to determine the various values. It was my goal to create a challenging lesson that greatly exceeded the Virginia Standard of Learning objective for coin identification in kindergarten. The students loved this lesson and were very excited and prepared to learn more difficult material. My other small group of students was comprised of kindergarteners who would benefit from an additional and more individualized mathematics lesson. The small group atmosphere also made my students feel more comfortable since they were with students at their academic level. In this lesson, I encouraged the three students who earned extremely low scores to sit by me so I could be closer to them and provide additional guidance. I went over the names, values, and characteristics/properties of the penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. We also discussed the value of a collection of pennies and/or nickels. This lesson was extremely beneficial to the students who struggled on the initial assessment. Using summative assessment to guide instruction proved to be especially helpful for those individuals who struggle with mathematics. In addition, I was able to provide a challenging lesson to the students who excelled on my original assessment. Please take a look at the assessment I created by clicking this link. I believe it is important to note that this mathematics assessment was administered orally to each child on an individual basis.

Examples of Student Growth

During both my practicum and student teaching experiences, I had the privilege to observe and teach the Lucy Calkins method of writing workshop. Constantly reviewing samples of each students writing is a wonderful way to observe and document a student’s growth or lack thereof. It is very rewarding to teach one of Lucy Calkins lessons and then see your students implementing the new writing technique and/or strategy! This is a fantastic program that allows for differentiation and encourages each child to see themselves as a writer. Students are tremendously proud of their stories and are eager to “publish” their work in the hallway. Some students will write letters that do not form words. Others will use a combination of word wall words and the strategy of sounding out difficult words to write easy to read stories. However, all students feel successful when they share their story with the teacher or even the class.
After teaching a lesson on the importance of showing, not telling, numerous of my kindergarten students employed this technique in their writing. This lesson taught children that writers do not just tell their readers how they are feeling. Instead, they show their emotions using descriptive language. I have included a sample of one students’ work before and after the show, not tell lesson. The story on the left was written on March 23 prior to my lesson and reads, “I went to my friend’s house. I was so excited!” The story on the right was written on April 27 after my show, not tell lesson and reads, “I went to the circus. I felt that there was a smile on my face.” This writer actually showed her feelings in this second story instead of just saying “I was happy or I was excited.” In addition, this writer used another writing strategy that I taught in a previous writing workshop lesson. The lesson I am referring to encouraged the students to add on to their stories when it is necessary and appropriate by adding a paper flap to the page. Prior to this lesson the students would just squeeze the letters together making it hard to read or they would not complete a thought because they were out of space to write (Competency 18). 087.JPG