The primary reason for assessment tools within the classroom is the empowerment of teachers with respect to teaching decisions. Varying assessments seek to ferret out the skill building that already took place and foreshadow readiness for future skill building experiences that are yet to come. Knowing a child’s learning styles and perhaps concepts that have not yet been fully understood by a student can assist a preschool teacher in tailoring her teaching to each child’s continued learning.
Problems can arise when improper conclusions about a child’s abilities – or lack thereof – are drawn based upon test results. For example, hypothesizing that a failure to adequately recognize signs and symbols is indicative of missed learning may be true, but there is also the possibility that the child may have bad eyesight.
Improper tool use
Assessments are only as good as the tools that are used. Developmental differences cannot be factored in merely by allowing more room for error when scoring the tests.
In this instance, “normal" and also “gifted children" may nevertheless be classified as being behind the curve, while those lacking certain skill sets may not receive the extra attention required.
Improper reaction to test results
Preschool teachers may be surprised when a usually well performing child showcases sudden apparently poor results in one of more developmental domains. Great examples are Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDI) that measure language and social development as well as cognitive and motor skills building. The strength of these tests rests in their repeatability and their use for long-term assessments.
Failing to take the long-term aspect into consideration, preschool teachers could make presumptions about the child’s overall development – especially when compared to peers – too early in the school year. Although exceedingly rare among seasoned educators, this is a common error the first time teacher needs to be aware of.