A teacher can go crazy reading test results these days. The availability of charts, graphs, reports, and analysis is astounding. I can see each student’s total score, a score for each segment of a test, a comparison with previous tests, a comparison with other classmates, etc. I can ask the website to create several different types of reports or graphs to share with parents. If combined they would make a nice little book!
However, I don’t assume the results of a test are completely accurate unless they generally agree with my observations and assessments in the classroom. I always feel that a dramatic difference is cause for doubt. Children can be tired, sick, or distracted on test day. And there are other factors at the kindergarten level that affect testing. Sometimes a child with speech problems needs a person who has listened to them often or a very shy child needs someone they know quite well. I’ve been known to ask for a child to be retested on a different day or even by a different person. No one at our level has a problem with that.
If test results seem to be in line with classroom tests and daily work then the whole package of information is quite useful in pinpointing strengths and weaknesses. I already have a general idea of what areas are challenges for each student and test results give me specific data on those.
Test results also serve to confirm vague suspicions that I have about a child’s performance. I currently have a couple of students who are just beginning to struggle with daily work. So my classroom observations have to help me determine if this is caused by “social” or “academic” problems. Is the child talking, distracted, or confused because they aren’t listening to directions, or are they at a plateau and unable to grasp more complex concepts? Time for discipline or tutoring? Test results give me specific skills to observe.
Of course the bottom line for me is progress. Did my students make progress since the last test? Have they improved in most areas? Are they still on the path toward reading and writing and problem solving? Are they going to be good first graders? Only time and a little more testing will tell!