In year's past the end of the semester ended with the holiday break. We completed all of our assessments before we left for the holiday and then came back refreshed with a new beginning - a new plan for the new year. However, now the holiday break just means a break in the routine and we come back with three more weeks before the semester ends. So this year we come back to assessments. In first grade these three weeks that are left in the semester require that we complete the state's FAIR assessment on-line which is a one-on-one reading assessment. At Chets Creek we also have our own Reading Assessment to compliment the state's testing which includes a individual DRA reading level and several individual and class administered assessments. On top of that, the first week back our first graders begin taking their first Friday comprehension assessments which are our very first steps in preparing our student for the third grade state test. It means teaching test taking strategies each week and then seeing if the students can apply the strategies in a Friday assessment.
In math we also interrupt our instruction to give our Chets Creek Math Assessment. It is meant to assess where each student is and what we need to do individually and as a class for Math for the remainder of the year. It takes several days to review the strategies and then give each section of the assessment.
As important as all this assessment is to our yearlong planning, I really liked it better when we completed it all before the break. Instead of coming back full of fun and excitement ready to tackle a new year, now we come back to the new year feeling overwhelmed with all the assessment weighing down our shoulders. We try to present it to the children as their chance to shine - their chance to show the world how well they are doing and how hard they have worked. I hope they buy that! I hope they don't feel the overwhelming pressure of getting it all done that seems to permeate the teachers. I hope we go back to finishing it all before the holiday next year!