Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Year of Growth

It's the end of the seventh day of kindergarten and things are looking up. I can't help but notice the kids who were sent to me ready for this challenge and the little one's who are barely potty trained, barely able to take care of personal needs and yet this is somehow not suppose to interfere with their education. Teaching is so daunting as it is, but now we are faced with the challenge of proving a year's growth. I agree that children deserve a year's worth of growth, but based on what as their baseline? In my district, a year's worth of growth is measured by your reading level. If you are reading at a level C by the end of kindergarten, then in that year you have made a year's worth of growth. For some this will be a year of growth and for others who may not even get close--they too will have made a year of growth, but not by that same measurement standard.
How do you demonstrate the growth of a kindergarten student in your district? What types of data do your teachers collect as soon as they can collect it, and how soon is too soon to collect data on a student (meaning the time of year)? Sometimes I wonder about data I collect at the beginning of the year, was it because they didn't know me well enough yet to perform or was it that they truly didn't know how to perform
I have been pondering what my goals for the year should be and I can't help thinking that I want a year of growth for each student, but because my kids are at the starting line, it is hard to know at what point they will cross the finish. Everyone's race is different and so often I feel saddened that it is a race at all.


teacherdance said...

I can't help with teaching those very young children, but can sympathize with the pressure you are under, to try to figure out what to do & how to measure, etc. I too wish it could be a different measure, of improvement only, that the students learn & grow to the next step.

JenniferM said...

I'm also struggling with the concept of "a year's growth". It certainly shouldn't be the same standard for every student, because the students all start in different places! That's like saying everyone has to reach the finish line at the same time in a race, when you know everyone runs at a different speed. But then... how do you figure out how much each particular student "should" learn in a year either?

wakeupandwrite said...

I sympathize with you completely. I teach preschool, but just like so many kindergartners, my students come in with such a variety of prior experience with books, play settings, fine motor skills, etc that a years growth is exponential. But the measurement tools don't always show that.

Diana Martin said...

Wow-great question! I also like the image you added to your post. Wouldn't it be great if we could measure "a year's growth" by height and weight. Sometimes I wonder if those that make the rules think it is just that simple.