Screening for Appropriate Levels of Learning

Children's artwork of skillful sailing quoteAs parents, we don’t just want to toss our kids into a school and hope for the best when they graduate. That’s why early learning centers like Kids Harbor use screening for appropriate levels of learning.

Routine assessments help students, parents and educators set appropriate expectations for educational, physiological, and even environmental outcomes.

Doctors offer routine exams to evaluate our health and sometimes psychological wellness. While we certainly don’t want to equate our teachers and staff with a medical team, we are able to evaluate first-hand how children function and interact on a daily basis. Those evaluations offer additional insight into a child’s overall wellbeing.

Ongoing assessments throughout a child’s education are critical to their development.

There are many different methods of assessment, far too many to list all of them here. However, we’ve listed some of the more common terms in early education to help identify the differences between them and reasoning behind each.

Different Assessment ToolsTeacher screening children in reading circle at preschool for appropriate levels of learning

Placement assessments help determine whether or not a student is ready for a specific class or skill level so students are matched to other students with similar learning needs. For example, honors courses, remedial learning, math levels, etc.

Standardized tests are taken by students but are typically used to validate a school’s effectiveness, not necessarily the students’ ability to learn. These tests help educational agencies determine whether or not schools (or school systems) require improvements and even awards for excellent results.

Pre-assessments help give an educator an idea of a student’s level of understanding before starting a course or program in order to evaluate the student’s progress throughout the course.

Formative assessments occur throughout a course or program. This helps educators understand if teaching methods are working on a particular student or if the approach is working in general and whether or not teaching methods and materials are working as intended.

Screening is similar to placement but often includes multiple methods of screening for an overall evaluation of a student’s readiness. There are many different methods for screening but since the impact on early childhood education is significant, we’ll list many of them in detail here.  

Screening Methods and Early Childhood Development

The different methods of screening are vast and screen for more than just an academic evaluation. These are also used to determine a student’s readiness developmentally, physically, and cognitively. Many different attributes are assessed. In early childhood education, it’s important to screen children for physical, emotional, social and intellectual readiness.

Infant being screening for appropriate levels learning at preschool by looking at Christmas lights sensory activityAt Kids Harbor, we begin screening during infancy looking at sensory development, motor skills, and even health. As a child grows with us, our evaluations adjust accordingly with age to ensure alignment across our curriculum goals and expectations.  

Teachers and staff use informal interactions and observations not only to assess skill levels but also to help individualize the learning experience for each child.

We add on another layer of assessment; we assess ourselves and measure our screening processes. The systems we have in place help us evaluate whether our programs and curriculum continue to align with our student readiness goals.

We encourage parents to come in to see and learn more about our curriculum and screening methods. Parents are always amazed at our level of care for the education of their children.

Parent Resources

Additional resources for more information:

Assessment in Early Childhood from Get Ready to Read

Early Childhood Assessment from Resources for Early Learning

Position Statement on Curriculum Assessment from NAEYC

For more on each school:

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