I believe that holistic testing of the whole child tells you much more about a child than a standardized assessment. When measuring or assessing young children, it needs to be remembered that not all children are the same. They do not learn at the same rate or in the same manner. While I do feel that is important to assess young children, it does not have to be as rigid as it is in the United States. It should be assessed in their most comfortable way. If they are not able to write a sentence, why stress them out when you are not testing their writing skills. Let them draw a picture or let them tell you verbally the answer, you write it for them and let them draw a picture to go with it. A perfect example of this is the standardized tests that are used. I do not believe that this is an effective way to test a child. Some students do well on tests, and others get anxiety about taking tests and do not. This relates to the ways they learn as well. If children learn and apply knowledge more hands on, it is important to let them show their knowledge hands on as well. I have three students in my classroom that are very hands on and when I put a test in front of them they get very anxious. While I understand that it is important for them to get used to the testing format because it is what they will be doing as they get older, I have my classroom aide sit on the floor with them in a circle. In the center are manipulatives and paper and crayons for their use. While I am verbally giving the test to the rest of the class, she will ask them a question, let them solve it using manipulatives and get their answers out on a dry erase board. Then once they all have an answer she hands them their test and they fill in the answer. Then she collects the tests and moves on to the next question repeating the process for each question. It takes them longer to complete the test but I have noticed more success when they do it this way. They are able to solve the problems and then express the answers in a way that is comfortable to them rather than anxiety ridden.
I looked into assessment in Austrailia and I found information on a program called TAP. Taken directly from their website, the Total Assessment Partnership (TAP) is a program that provides you with a quality assessment solution. The program is designed to give schools that enter full cohorts of students in ICAS English, Mathematics, Science or Writing an opportunity to network with other schools around Australia and New Zealand that are leading the way in student assessment.
TAP uses the school and student results from the International Competitions and Assessments for Schools to provide you with an annual snapshot of how your students are performing. Furthermore, we provide additional support and assessment advice to ensure that you get the most out of the program.
By entering full cohorts of students in one of the subjects listed above, you will receive:
- registration in the TAP network of schools
- additional reports that track individual and full-cohort progress each year
- comparative data to moderate achievement between classes and year-levels
- access to an assessment consultant to assist with the analysis of online student results (free of charge)
- priority invitations to accredited assessment conferences
- free return postage of ICAS answer sheets for processinghttp://www.eaa.unsw.edu.au/tap