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For Parents

The Oregon Kindergarten Assessment: A Parent’s Guide

Preparing for your child’s first days of kindergarten can be an emotional roller coaster. You want to make sure the transition is a smooth one and that your child is happy and confident in his or her new classroom. It can be an exciting time for both you and your child – but can also feel overwhelming. And now you are hearing about a Kindergarten assessment. What is it – and what does it mean for your child?

Every child enters Kindergarten at a slightly different stage in learning and development. Some children have mastered letters but have a hard time with numbers. Some are able to communicate ideas and needs clearly but have difficulty following directions. This is completely normal and expected. Throughout the Kindergarten year, your child’s teacher will work to support your child’s learning so that he or she enters first grade with the skills needed to succeed in school and life.

Starting this fall, all children entering Kindergarten will participate in the Oregon Kindergarten Assessment. Your child will participate in assessment activities that focus on early literacy and math skills, approaches to learning, social-emotional development, and self-regulation. Your child’s teacher can use the results to better understand the areas that your child may need some extra help in. Targeting instruction to meet your child’s needs will give your child a strong early start and the best chance at future success.

Below, we’ve created a list of questions you might have, and clarity to help:

When will the assessment be given to my child?
This assessment will be given in the first six weeks of school so that teachers start the school year with good information about what their students’ individual needs are.

Can my child fail the test?
No. Students cannot fail the test and your child will not be kept out of Kindergarten if he or she doesn’t perform a specific level. This assessment simply provides a snapshot of what your child knows upon entering kindergarten, and a clear path for helping meet their unique needs down the road.

Should I try to prepare my child for the assessment?
Playing age appropriate learning games with your child is always a good idea. Some examples of fun activities and games that can be done at home are provided further down the page. However, it is not necessary to specifically prep children for this assessment.

How can I help prepare my child for kindergarten?
As a parent, you are your child’s first – and most important – teacher. You can start instilling a love of learning and build important early skills through fun activities and games. Examples and links to additional resources are available below.

How long will each assessment take?
There are three main components of the Kindergarten Assessment: early literacy, early math, and approaches to learning. The early literacy segment will take around 6 minutes including set-up and transitions (two literacy measures at 60 seconds each). The early math segment is estimated to take between 6 and 9 minutes. The approaches to learning segment, based on teacher observation of the student in the classroom, will take about 6 minutes for the teacher to fill out and does not take any designated student time. All told, the assessment should take no more than 15 minutes of student time and around 20 minutes of teacher/assessor time per student.

Activities and Games to Promote Kindergarten Success

• Read with your child. Reading is one of the best ways to encourage a love of reading and give your child the skills to be a confident reader. Your public library can be a great resource for books and scheduled story times.

• Play simple games. Games such as “Simon Says,” “Red Light, Green Light,” and “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” help your child learn to follow simple directions.

• Give your child the opportunity to make choices. Allowing your child to pick out his own clothes or select the vegetable for the family dinner encourages the development of decision-making skills.

• Allow your child enough time to start and complete a project. Making sure that your child has enough time to complete an activity, such as a block building, improves focus and increases confidence.

• Use math in daily activities and routines. Helping to sort and match socks in the laundry, counting out carrot sticks at snack time, and naming shapes of objects in the room are a few simple ways to introduce math concepts.

Resources and Tools for Parents
Reading Rockets Tips for Parents of Preschoolers (English)
This tip sheet offers fun ways for parents to encourage reading at home.

Reading Rockets Tips for Parents of Preschoolers (Spanish)
This tip sheet offers fun ways for parents to encourage reading at home.

PBS Parents: Preschool and Kindergarten Math Activities
This website offers fun math activities for at home and on-the-go.

Oregon’s Early Learning Standards for Children Ages 3-5
Oregon has adopted the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework as the early learning standards for children ages 3-5. The Framework guides all programs serving 3 to 5 year old children on key elements of school readiness.
English : Spanish

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Math
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are Oregon’s newly adopted standards in English Language Arts and Math for Kindergarten through 12th grade. This parent toolkit offers information and resources regarding the Common Core State Standards.


10 Comments

  1. Trish Evens says:

    Have the Q and A’s for parents been translated in Spanish?

  2. Elizabeth Thiel says:

    Could you please explain a little about the connection between this test and the new longitudinal data system? Specifically, how will this data will be kept? Who will have access to my child’s information? Will my consent be required in order to use her personal data for research purposes through this test? Thank you!

    • The new Kindergarten Assessment is an assessment of the skills that the group of entering kindergartners have. For the next two years the state will only report participation rates at the school and district level. Your child’s school district has access to your child’s information. If your child moves to another school district, that district would have access to this information. Your question about research purposes is more complex. Your child’s personally identifiable data won’t be given to anyone. However, your child’s individual test results stripped of all personally identifiable information may be used for research purposes. All data is kept on secure servers with access granted only to those individuals whose job function requires it. There isn’t a connection between this test and the longitudinal data system. The adoption of a Kindergarten Assessment is the result of a law passed in 2011 (Senate Bill 909).

  3. Leah says:

    Yes, I am interested to know if this has been translated into Spanish and how do we access that edition?

    • Hello Leah – this note is from our KRA team: “This fall children entering kindergarten are participating in a statewide assessment that includes measures in early literacy, early math and approaches to learning. The literacy and math portions are direct assessments and take a combined 15 minutes to administer. Directions for these assessments are available in both English and Spanish. Spanish-speaking English language learners will also take Spanish Literacy assessment which is estimated to take an additional 3 minutes. The third segment of the assessment is based on teacher observation and does not take any student time.” For more information – you should feel free to reach out to Kara Williams: kara.williams@state.or.us

  4. Karen Washington says:

    Will the assessment results be provided to the parents? As well as high- lighting the students strengths and weaknesses?

    • Matt Streng says:

      Ditto, I would like to know more about how teachers will involve parents in sharing the results and discussing ways to support learning inside and outside the school.

      • Hello Matt and Karen – good questions! I sent this question to the Kindergarten Assessment team to find out what the process for sharing with parents will be and will post here when I hear back. Thanks!!

    • This fall is a statewide operational field test of the kindergarten assessment. Schools have access to individual student responses but there is not yet guidance for how the assessment results will be scored or interpreted. After this year’s fall assessment, we’ll have a better understanding of what the results mean and what kinds of reports will be most valuable for parents and communities.

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