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May 5, 2014
Hello, PCPO parents and teachers,
Your kindergartner, upon entering an Oregon public school, will be given a state-mandated kindergarten assessment. The PCPO board - as well as many PCPO teachers and other early childhood professionals - are very concerned about this test for a number of reasons.
We are urging all parents to investigate this testing further. The test itself could be detrimental to children who do not already know the end-of-kindergarten items. Imagine the effect of having one of your first kindergarten experiences clearly show your teacher that you do not know "anything," or being given a final exam in high school on the first day of class. The test also does not help or inform teachers, because they do not get the results. The kindergarten teacher will have his or her own assessment to help her plan for the class and your child.
The use of letter names and sounds and addition and subtraction as a beginning kindergarten assessment can only increase the "schoolization" of preschools. We know, through much research, that young children perform better in elementary school if they explore their environment and interact with others in preschool. We call this play, but it is really the important work of early childhood. It is wrong for preschoolers to be drilled on letters instead of learning them through their play activities. We also know, through the same research, that this early drilling of information shows no benefit to children in later years.