In mid-October, we had our first parent-teacher conference with The K/1st Teacher, and last week progress reports came home, so this was our first real chance to get an assessment on how The Big Sis is doing in K/1st. We do homework every night with her, and I felt like she was doing well, but it’s hard for us to know since I don’t really have anything to compare her to. However, I’m pleased to say that the report from the teacher was glowing on all fronts, including academically and socially. To my relief, behavior does not seem to be an issue at school, and The K/1st Teacher actually said that The Big Sis “makes friends easily and is easygoing.” I had to stifle a laugh at the second part of that — I’m not sure I’d ever call her easygoing, at least not naturally. With helping her work through the many daily transitions this can be the case, but I don’t necessarily think it’s her default. Still, it was nice to hear this and I hope it continues.
At our meeting, The K/1st Teacher went over the results of a test that The Big Sis did earlier in the year. It’s called MAP (Measures of Academic Progress), and it tests a student’s skill level in reading and math. The test is given on the computer and takes 45 to 60 minutes to complete, though it’s not timed. The assessments are designed to measure individual student performance in reading and math, therefore the computer adjusts questions so each student receives an individualized test. The test is given three times a year — fall (beginning of year), winter (midyear), and spring (end of year) — to help track the students’ progress over the course of the year.
For reading, she received a score of 154, which puts her above grade level (147+ is above grade level) for kindergarten. (Though she’s in a class that completes 1st grade level material, her scores are assessed as a kindergartener.) Her 154 puts her almost at grade level for 1st grade, and I’m confident she’ll do even better for the winter test, as her reading skills have blossomed over the past month or so. (More about that in another post this month.)
For math, she received a score of 163, which puts her above grade level for kindergarten (149+ is above grade level), as well as above grade level for 1st grade too. The Big Sis loves to read, so of course we continue to encourage that, but I’m so pleased to see a good amount of skill in math, and I’m especially trying to talk that up, as I never want her to get to the point of thinking, “I hate math” like so many girls do. In watching her do her math homework, it’s encouraging to see her really put forth a good effort in mastering the material, and I hope that continues.
The progress report we received last week showed a similar snapshot of her school life. In kindergarten they don’t get letter grades but are assessed on a number scale of 1 to 4: 1=not yet within expectations; 2=progressing with help; 3=meets expectations; 4=exceeds expectations. The Big Sis received a 3 in all areas except for two: uses correct letter form in handwriting (which I can see), and writes numbers 1 to 20 (I’m not sure what happened there, as I know she can and does regularly do this). We weren’t told this, but I’m guessing it’s nearly impossible to earn a 4, as there are so many of these assessments where she probably should have received a 4 but did not. Gives them something to work toward, I suppose.
The K/1st Teacher’s comments on the progress report were: “[The Big Sis] is a joy to have in class! She works hard and always tries her best.” Most of all, I was happy to see that she received a 3 in each of the Citizenship categories: participates in classroom discussion, listens and follows directions, displays best effort, demonstrates self-control, demonstrates responsibility/organizational skills, shows respect to others. After our behavior issues hit a low point during the first part of this year and I was particularly concerned about how she would do as it relates to this stuff in kindergarten, I am relieved to see that she has adjusted to this big change well. WHEW! Of course, that could change at any moment — we know that better than many — but I’m just glad that she’s starting off her school career on a good note. The kindergarten adjustment is a big one for all of us, and I think so far we’re doing pretty darn well.